Selecting Center of Excellence Governance Structures

At its core, a Center of Excellence is a central governing body dedicated to the successful implementation of Anaplan for Connected Planning. The makeup and structure of this group are dependent upon the culture of the company it serves, meaning no two Centers of Excellence are exactly alike. To define the appropriate governance structure, companies must identify the appropriate balance of centralization, define the location of the Center of Excellence team members, and set a regularly occurring cadence with standardized agendas. Below we've outlined the three steps you should take when working to build your center of excellence structure.

Define the Appropriate Governance Structure

Once a Center of Excellence charter is established, and team members identified, often the biggest challenge faced by the group is finding the correct governance structure or balance between centralized and federated responsibilities

A fully centralized governance model is one where all decisions, discussions, and development involving Anaplan are funneled through one group of people, who the business end-users come to any time they have questions or need support regarding Anaplan. This is similar to how most enterprise technologies are managed at scale, though not always the right approach to a flexible business-owned planning platform like Anaplan.

On the other hand, a fully federated model is one where individual business teams have full freedom to do whatever they want without any internal approvals or coordination. Most companies land somewhere in the middle, with corporate culture dictating most of the decision process. This is very similar to how most business users plan today when Excel is the tool of choice.

We recommend using he following framework to help find the best level of Center of Excellence centralization.

The COE is a strategic partner with the business to ensure all planning related activities are meeting the highest expectations.The COE is a strategic partner with the business to ensure all planning related activities are meeting the highest expectations.

To use this framework, first identify which benefits from the Centralization and Federation columns are most aligned to corporate culture and needs. Then, work through each Interaction listed in the diagram and identify if it needs to be Centralized, Federated, or both. Finally, the level of centralization of governance model should align to where the majority of Interactions and Benefits are even.

Depending on your centralization blend, select the appropriate governance model.Depending on your centralization blend, select the appropriate governance model.

Identify the Location of the Key Participants

A Center of Excellence is defined first and foremost by its people. Selecting the appropriate team and locating them in the correct part of the organization are paramount to achieving success.

Core backbone roles of a stable  Center of Excellence.Core backbone roles of a stable Center of Excellence.

The location of the Center of Excellence resources is dependent on the Center of Excellence’s level of centralization and governance blend. A strong Center of Excellence combines representation from the business, IT, and dedicated Anaplan resources. Each of the following roles should be identified and may exist somewhere along the spectrum of entirely separated or entirely unified in the Center of Excellence. This is an example of the breakdown of a Hybrid Center of Excellence model:

Cross-departmental breakdowns of a Center of Excellence team.Cross-departmental breakdowns of a Center of Excellence team.

Schedule a Recurring Set of Checkpoints with Standardized Agendas

The final remaining step is to schedule the Center of Excellence’s cadence. There should be a regularly recurring set of meetings scheduled far in advance, at different intervals for the different types of meetings. Members of the Center of Excellence and adjacent stakeholders should be able to anticipate these meetings long in advance and know exactly what to expect when they occur.

Typical Center of Excellence cadence.Typical Center of Excellence cadence.

This regularly defined cadence is key to ensuring a stable Center of Excellence where all stakeholders trust the competence of the team and believe in its ability to fulfill its purpose. In each meeting, a standard recurring agenda should be in place that is upheld by a lead member of the Center of Excellence. There should always be room for flexibility, but that flexibility needs to be built around a solid core agenda, which will provide comfort and certainty to all participants. The agenda of each meeting is highly dependent upon the corporate culture and specific mandate of the Center of Excellence. So, while the agendas may vary between companies, the core ideas and goals should remain similar.

Standard recurring meeting agendas.Standard recurring meeting agendas.

Now that the governance model is defined, the people are identified, and the cadence is scheduled and planned, the core function of a Center of Excellence as a governing body should be fully operational. With a robust and intentional foundation in place, it should be easy to adjust and evolve the Center of Excellence as time goes by and the Anaplan footprint continues to grow. Once your team is up and running, begin planning for how to address the Production Support needs of the organization.

Follow these next steps to build your Center of Excellence.Follow these next steps to build your Center of Excellence.

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Benefits of Establishing a Center of Excellence

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Center of Excellence Roles and Responsibilities