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22 November 2017

Using a Centre of Excellence to Promote Enterprise-Wide Digital Transformation

The modern business workforce is increasingly technologically aware and capable. Thanks to the high accessibility of smart and connected devices, many employees couldn’t imagine life without digital technology, both in the office and beyond. In most industries, people are growing more comfortable using technology as a business tool and a digital transformation is an exciting step forward.

They’re more aware of how this tech can be harnessed to improve productivity and the overall work experience. A deeper connection with technology enables business users to formulate new ideas on how it can take business forward. They’re able to express their needs in terms of technology’s capabilities, rather than handing over a wish list to IT that gets lost in translation. This makes it easier for an enterprise to rapidly deliver digital solutions that match business requirements.

Turning ideas into digital assets

In this environment, digital transformation can be fast-tracked and made more meaningful if organisations are able to quickly and effectively translate their business users’ ideas into digital assets. These solutions typically take the form of business process management (BPM) applications with automation capabilities.

Taking an IT-centric approach can hinder this process, as few IT departments can keep pace with the escalating demand for business process automation apps, digital forms, workflows and other solutions. When bottlenecks occur, there’s a chance that business units could grow frustrated and make rogue investments without IT support. This puts corporate data security and regulatory compliance efforts at risk.

To address this challenge, many organisations are turning to low-code enterprise platforms, which empower business users to get more involved in designing the digital transformation solutions they need. With developers providing guidance and supervision rather than doing all the work, IT costs and complexities are reduced – yet process transformation continues to march forward.

Setting up a framework for success

To achieve these outcomes, you need a digital infrastructure that makes process transformation easier for both developers and non-developers. Agile, scalable low-code platforms like K2 enable non-technical business users to create and modify digital assets using intuitive, visual, drag and drop tooling. There’s no need to write lines and lines of code.

But for your organisation to harness the full potential of the K2 Platform (and other software), you need a methodology for ensuring that all stakeholders have the skills, support and tools they need to produce exceptional quality digital assets that drive enterprise-wide digital transformation. This also involves providing guidance on how to effectively establish and operate this platform within your unique organisation.

Centre of Excellence (CoE) provides the ideal framework for success. A well-designed CoE provides leadership, best practices, research, support and training in both BPM and the technology that will power process transformation. This allows you to provide all stakeholders with a springboard for sharing valuable ideas, as well as the competencies and tools to harness the full potential of the technology.

At the same time, the CoE ensures that these initiatives are delivered consistently and well, through standard processes – eliminating the risk of rogue IT scenarios.

How to establish a CoE

Successful Centres of Excellence are founded on four key pillars:

  1. Platform

Choosing the best software is critical. Ideally, you want a platform that is highly usable, quickly enabling both IT and business users to adopt and leverage the applications to deliver business value. You also want technology that delivers a great return on your investment by enabling your organisation to deliver more high-quality digital assets, in less time. Low-code platforms like K2 unlock the true potential of a Centre of Excellence.

  1. Process

A fundamental step in building a CoE is to establish a methodology that channels ideas and requirements through a standardised process. The goal is to deliver apps in predictable timescales, to an optimum quality and in a scalable fashion.

Ideally, this methodology should channel stakeholder inputs and outputs through the various stages of the digital asset lifecycle. These stages, which can be fine-tuned to suit the specific company, could include:

  • Discovery and Formulation
  • Design and Review
  • Specification
  • Development and Configuration
  • Rollout
  • Support

A CoE methodology should be engaging, agile and produce outcomes that are exciting. This organically promotes CoE adoption and expansion. Also, applying technologies like K2 in a consistent and structured way requires a robust and relevant development methodology, especially in larger scale enterprise implementations. To achieve these goals, many organisations partner with CoE experts like Velocity IT.

With professional support, enterprises can swiftly build on tried-and-tested industry-standard processes, adapting these to suit the specific needs of the business and organisational culture. A CoE partner like Velocity IT can help enterprises to quickly discover areas in business operations that need optimisation and propose changes in line with realistic delivery costs and timescales; continuing to provide support with a range of project management, training, monitoring and evaluation services.

  1. People

People – and their ideas, creativity and commitment – are the most important component of a CoE. This includes all the stakeholders who will collaborate in a CoE to produce the exceptional outcomes that improve an organisation’s performance. It’s important that all these people understand their roles and responsibilities in driving a successful CoE methodology.

  1. Portfolio

The final key element of any CoE is its digital portfolio. This is the catalogue of digital assets produced by the CoE. By maintaining a digital directory and housing all assets centrally, users have complete visibility into the existing apps, workflows and other solutions that are available. This not only avoids re-invention, but also empowers people to access as many assets as they need to improve corporate performance.

A model for continual improvement

All these components – Platform, Process, People and Portfolio – work together to maximise productivity, reduce costs and minimise project risks. The cycle constantly repeats itself, each time optimising the outcomes it produces and fine-tuning the CoE’s processes based on lessons learned and future developments in the pipeline. Download the white paper to learn more.

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