I go to this fantastic gym. The trainers put together varied and effective workout classes, know exactly how to get the most out of me, and instill just the right level of healthy competition to keep us all enthused and motivated. They work with local high school athletic departments to improve their training regimens and they mentor trainers in training. In short, my gym is a Center of Excellence.
Where does your business excel? If it’s a successful one, then it most likely excels at delivering a unique product or service—perhaps an experience—to a unique set of customers. And within that context, your organization has expertise and experience that no other organization can offer. Consider too that these assets (expertise and experience) are nurtured by best practices, training programs, support teams, and efficient processes—all aimed at ensuring that your organization continues to excel.
What am I getting at? A successful company is, by its very nature, a Center of Excellence (COE).
And there’s no shortage of companies capitalizing on this concept—as they should. A Google news search on “Center of Excellence” returns a plethora of new launch announcements. Here’s a small sampling of recent headlines:
“GE Aviation to Create European Turboprop Center of Excellence”
“Central Oregon Pediatric Associates announced the creation of Central Oregon’s first Pediatric Center of Excellence”
“SCHOTT Launches New Center of Excellence for Ready-to-use Pharma Packaging”
Everyone wins—businesses and their customers—when resources are centralized and dedicated to improving a specific area of focus. But what if your business needs to be good at something that doesn’t fall squarely into your wheelhouse?
Businesses have long recognized the value of contracting non-mission-critical functions out to providers for whom exceling at those functions is mission critical. Examples include building maintenance, payroll, and customer service to name a few.
More and more IT functions are being handled this way too, but as evidenced by the many “to move to the cloud or not?” themed articles out there, we’re still actively debating the benefits of third-party cloud IT providers—even though the same value propositions apply.
IT functions such as email, storage, and network monitoring have largely made it to the cloud, but there are other equally ubiquitous operations still clinging to their in-house roots. Integration, the service my company provides, is a good example of this. Almost every business has a need for it, few are experts in it, yet most unnecessarily reinvent the wheel within their own walls. Is this really the best use of precious resources and expertise? As with repairing gym equipment, there’s nothing to be gained—and a lot to be lost—by pulling out your own toolbox.
With time, I think everyone will firmly settle into the idea that the more Centers of Excellence their organizations have access to in the form of solid partnerships with companies that are the best at what they do, the better—even in the realm of IT. Perhaps especially in the realm of IT.
(As a provider of cloud integration services for more than 15 years, Liaison is an Integration Center of Excellence. Learn more about the specific advantages of leveraging an Integration Center of Excellence such as Liaison’s in our brief titled 3 Reasons You Need an Integration Center of Excellence.)