What is a Centre of Excellence and How to build one

30 September 2021

A centre of excellence refers to a team, a shared
facility or an entity that provides leadership,
evangelization, best practices, research, support and/or
training for a focus area.

What is a COE?

The Centre of Excellence or COE is usually referred to a group of people that offers support to each other and it provides collaborating initiatives to pursue excellence in a common interest: tool or technology, concept, skill, area of study.

A Centre of Excellence is the go-to place that every user in an organisation can go to in order to ask for help. It can be a channel, a platform, a stand-up call, a ticket system. It could be anything that allows and facilitate employees solving their daily challenges and breaking silos, especially in a remote world.

A COE can be a working group that creates a culture, a framework for how to ask and solve challenges.

Why build a COE?

By creating a Centre of Excellence, organisations are moving away from siloed teams while also creating super users, also called champions, who will lead the organisation towards a more collaborative culture where everybody learns from each other.

  • Often a COE creates a bridge between the different skills of team members and enables knowledge sharing if everyone is not able take the same training courses.
  • A COE's collaborative environment also creates more opportunities for everyone to take time to help another colleague without needing influence or direction from managers.
  • A COE is a great place to showcase the team's successes and hard work.
  • Having a COE provides also exposure of the brilliant work analysts do to the Senior Management and Leadership team.
  • A COE creates a data culture is not only based on individual knowledge but on collective outcomes.
  • Users will share the same data culture of being committed to solving data challenges, similar mindset and talent. Therefore the COE can be a great place to share data cultures with other users, who will then trust each other.

A strong data culture, together with a collective commitment to share knowledge and solve challenges, can definitely set up the company and its users for success.

How to build a COE?

Starting a COE is very simple initially, however constant planning and roadmaps are necessary.

After having decided the preferred channel and method for collaboration, it is recommended to create best practice and style guides, onboard new users and upload any relevant document to the chosen platform.

It is also vital to establish the roles and responsibilities that different users will play within the group.

Some more ideas on how to get started with a Centre of Excellence can also be found on this YouTube Video: Building a Tableau COE Step-by-Step.

What content does the COE need?

After ideas planning and goal setting, organisations might want to focus on few practical points such as promoting content regularly.

  • Provide Templates, links and resources to best practices
  • Provide information and contact details on how to get the license
  • Make sure it is clear to COE users how to get support
  • Promote upcoming events and training opportunities

Remember that a COE can be made of only one person and does not have a limit in sizing. There are multiple ways for a Centre of Excellence to develop.

In the next blog post, we are going to cover operational models and the COE positioning so stay tuned!

Tell us your experience with the creation of a Centre of Excellence and let us know if you have any feedback or ideas to share with us!

Laura Scavino
1st Floor, 25 Watling Street, London, EC4M 9BR
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