min read
February 8, 2016

Creating a Digital Center of Excellence within Your Organization

Digital Strategy
Digital Transformation

Even if you’re ready to accelerate with digital transformation initiatives, your company structure may not be set up for success—here’s how a digital center of excellence can help.Since business is changing at an ever-accelerating pace, innovative infrastructure is no longer solely reserved for cutting-edge technology companies. Digital capabilities such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics, cloud computing, mobile technology, etc..., are making their way into the mainstream and many businesses are struggling to keep up.In order to compete, businesses need to transform multiple aspects of their company to the point where digital strategy isn’t relegated to one team or department, but thrives across functions of their ecosystem.For traditional businesses, a key organizational capability to best enable and accelerate this transformation is by creating a Digital Center of Excellence (DCoE).

Defining a DCoE

A business model isn’t the only thing that may change in a digital transformation—your employees, technology, and operational processes typically need to change as well. This is where a DCoE can help. Your company will need a strong, structured team in place—a team of digital leaders and digital evangelists. These individuals will work together to bridge the gap between physical and digital operations across the organization, with the goal to organically grow and infuse digital throughout the organization.This team is typically spearheaded by a Chief Digital Officer (CDO)—someone who, at the C-suite level, can ensure all aspects of the business are represented digitally.

Job functions of a DCoE

Your Digital Center of Excellence will consist of nimble teams of experts who can work together to accomplish digital goals. A few examples of typical DCoE job functions may include:

  • Strategy: Analytics, emerging technology, education, thought leadership
  • Marketing: Personalization, optimization, search, social media, content, planning
  • Product Design: User experience, visual design, prototyping
  • Development: Content management, testing and Q&A, front-end, scrum master
  • Program Management: Planning and governance, project management, release management, resource management

However, every organization is different and may have different needs and structures that best meet the requirements of the overall business. If you’re unclear about the types of talent your company needs, then an strategic digital transformation partner or outside digital expert can help steer you in the right direction.

Four major initiatives of the DCoE

Once you have the right talent in place, the DCoE focus is to achieve the following four transformation initiatives:

  • Drive Agile Transformation to Unleash Power Of DigitalA typical waterfall approach limits what a company can achieve through digital channels and capabilities. In order to truly transform your company, a DCoE should be an evangelist to drive initiatives in an agile framework including shorter release cycles, iterative releases, frequent strategy reviews. This allows a company to pivot in a new digital world that is changing quickly.
  • Embedding Digital Into Company Operations and CultureTrue digital transformation requires the buy-in of all employees from executive to entry-level positions within your company. However, as with any major change, there may be some resistance. This is especially true for the employees who are not digital natives. To change your culture, you’ll need to provide the right kind of training for all employees regardless of digital background.
  • Drive Investment in Digital Capabilities and PlatformsMany traditional companies can’t understand why their online penetration is low given the power statistics on today’s consumer usage of digital channels. However, many of these same companies are under spending in digital capabilities and digital technologies compared to their digital leading competitors or comparable companies, and it is likely limiting their profitability and market share. Researching and purchasing the latest digital tools is vital to your company’s survival. New emerging technology, services, and tools can streamline production and operations within your company.
  • Rapidly Prototype and Offer Optimized Digital Products Directly with CustomersRather than embrace the digital movement, Kodak initially rejected the changing tech and consumer demands. Because of this, they are now struggling to play catch up. The key here is to find out which types of digital products and experiences your customers may want—no matter how traditional your company may be—and deliver them as quickly as possible.

Ultimately the DCoE may be a transitional group to get a company from being a digital laggard to a digital leader. As a company increases its digital maturity across the organization through the above actions, it typically makes sense to decentralize some of the digital functions. As a company becomes more decentralized properly, digital should become the primary touch point that both employees and customers connect with on a daily basis.

Brian Manning