What is a Center of Excellence (CoE)?

A Center of Excellence (CoE) is a team, group, or organizational unit within a company or institution focusing on a specific area of expertise or competency.

The primary goal of a CoE is to drive innovation, best practices, and knowledge sharing within that particular domain.

CoEs typically consist of highly skilled professionals who collaborate to develop and implement standardized processes, tools, and methodologies to achieve excellence in their area of focus.

CoEs can exist in various fields, such as technology, research and development, customer service, marketing, finance, and more.

They often serve as a resource hub for the rest of the organization, providing guidance, training, and support to help other teams or departments improve their performance and achieve their objectives.

In essence, a Center of Excellence is a focal point for knowledge, expertise, and continuous improvement within an organization, helping to drive organizational success and competitive advantage.

What is a CoE for digital adoption strategy?

In order to progress a digital adoption strategy effectively, having a team in place – i.e., a Centre of Excellence – is hugely beneficial.

Those who belong to the CoE are responsible for promoting and facilitating the adoption of digital technologies and practices across the organization.

The digital adoption CoE is a hub of expertise, best practices, and resources to help various departments and teams integrate digital tools and processes effectively into their workflows.

The main objectives of a Center of Excellence for digital adoption typically include:

Driving digital transformation: By providing guidance, training, and support, the CoE helps guide the organization’s overall digital transformation efforts.

Promoting best practices: The CoE identifies and promotes best practices for using digital technologies to improve efficiency, productivity, and customer experience.

Training and education: It offers training programs and educational resources to empower employees with the skills and knowledge needed to leverage digital tools effectively.

If a digital adoption platform (DAP) is part of the digital adoption strategy, they will help roll out the software and assist employees with using it if required.

Consultation and support: The CoE provides consultation and support to departments and teams on selecting, implementing, and optimizing digital solutions tailored to their specific needs.

Monitoring and evaluation: It monitors the adoption and usage of digital technologies across the organization, evaluates their impact, and identifies areas for improvement. If a DAP like WalkMe is involved, the CoE can pull usage statistics directly from the platform.

Overall, a Center of Excellence for digital adoption plays a crucial role in helping organizations navigate the complexities of digital transformation and maximize the benefits of modern technology.

Why is a Center of Excellence (CoE) important?

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A Center of Excellence is a hub for all personnel to refer questions to during the roll-out of a new process, technology, or initiative.

Without one, organizations can suffer. For example, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc., operational excellence accounts for 31% of marketing spending, but its effect on organizational performance varies widely.

A CoE is critical when rolling out new software, such as a digital adoption platform, as it will monitor the progress, manage bottlenecks, and ensure that a technology such as WalkMe contributes to organizational success.

Let’s delve into the critical importance of a Center of Excellence (CoE) for organizations rolling out WalkMe:

Strategic alignment and digital transformation:

A CoE ensures that WalkMe’s implementation aligns with the organization’s strategic goals. It bridges the gap between business objectives and technical execution.

By defining clear objectives, the CoE ensures that WalkMe’s features and capabilities are leveraged effectively to drive desired outcomes.

Governance and standardization:

The CoE establishes governance policies, guidelines, and best practices for WalkMe usage.

It standardizes naming conventions, templates, and workflows, ensuring consistency across the organization.

This consistency enhances user experience and minimizes confusion.

Knowledge sharing and training:

The CoE is a knowledge hub, sharing insights, tips, and success stories.

It conducts training sessions for employees, empowering them to use WalkMe efficiently.

Well-trained users maximize the platform’s impact.

Continuous improvement and user feedback:

The CoE monitors WalkMe’s performance, collects feedback, and identifies areas for enhancement.

It collaborates with stakeholders to iterate on solutions, improving adoption rates and user satisfaction.

Regular updates keep WalkMe relevant and effective.

Change management and integration:

WalkMe often accompanies organizational changes (e.g., new software, processes, or tools).

The CoE facilitates change management by integrating WalkMe seamlessly into these transitions.

It ensures that employees adapt smoothly to new workflows.

Metrics, ROI, and business impact:

The CoE defines key performance indicators (KPIs) related to WalkMe adoption.

It tracks metrics such as user engagement, completion rates, and time saved.

Demonstrating a positive return on investment (ROI) justifies WalkMe’s value.

Use cases for a Center of Excellence (CoE)

Understanding use cases for a Center of Excellence (CoE) is important because it enables organizations to effectively tailor their CoE’s objectives and strategies to meet specific business needs and maximize its impact.

Let’s explore: 

Center of Excellence (CoE) in business

Let’s explore practical scenarios where a Center of Excellence (CoE) actively utilizes its expertise across various contexts, enhancing organizational processes and driving success.

Software adoption and training

Example: A company adopts a new enterprise software system (e.g., CRM, ERP, or project management tool).

How a CoE helps:

  • Develops training materials using the software (e.g., WalkMe) to guide employees.
  • Conducts workshops, webinars, and one-on-one sessions.
  • Ensures consistent adoption by addressing user queries and providing ongoing support.
  • Measures training effectiveness through KPIs (e.g., completion rates, user feedback).

Employee onboarding

Example: New hires join the organization.

How a CoE helps:

  • Creates an onboarding journey using WalkMe.
  • Guides new employees through essential processes (e.g., setting up accounts, accessing resources).
  • Ensures a smooth transition by providing contextual help.
  • Monitors onboarding completion rates and adjusts the process as needed.

Process automation

Example: The organization aims to automate repetitive tasks.

How a CoE helps:

  • Identifies processes suitable for automation.
  • Designs and deploys WalkMe bots to automate steps (e.g., data entry, approvals).
  • Trains employees on using bots effectively.
  • Tracks time saved and process efficiency.

Change management during system upgrades

Example: The company upgrades its legacy systems.

How a CoE helps:

  • Collaborates with IT and business units to plan the transition.
  • Creates WalkMe guides for the new system.
  • Helps users adapt by providing real-time assistance during the upgrade.
  • Measures user satisfaction and ease of transition.

Enhancing customer support

Example: The customer support team handles inquiries, but more could be done to enhance productivity and employee and user satisfaction.

How a CoE helps:

  • Integrates WalkMe into the support portal.
  • Provides self-service options (e.g., FAQs, troubleshooting guides).
  • Ensures agents use WalkMe to find solutions quickly.
  • Monitors case resolution time and customer feedback.

Sales enablement

Example: Sales representatives need to navigate complex sales processes.

How a CoE helps:

  • Develops WalkMe flows for sales stages (e.g., lead qualification, proposal creation).
  • Assists reps during client interactions (e.g., pricing queries, contract negotiations).
  • Measures sales cycle acceleration and deal closure rates.

Examples of a Center of Excellence (CoE)

How businesses find success with a Center of Excellence (CoE)

Let’s explore three examples of organizations successfully leveraging a Center of Excellence (CoE) for their digital adoption strategies.


Microsoft established a CoE for its Power Platform, focusing on driving innovation and aligning business goals.

The CoE ensured consistent governance, resource allocation, communication, enablement, and support.

By centralizing expertise, Microsoft optimized technology adoption and achieved lasting business value.

Positive outcomes:

  • Enhanced operational efficiency.
  • Streamlined workflows and consistent decision-making.
  • Improved customer experience.


DocuSign created a CoE to bridge gaps in adoption across an evolving organization.

The CoE focused on governance, resource allocation, communication, enablement, and support.

By centralizing efforts, DocuSign ensured meaningful implementation and alignment with digitization goals

Positive outcomes:

  • Enhanced efficiency in implementation and adoption.
  • Improved communication across departments.
  • Streamlined support and long-term success.


Zinnov established industry-specific CoEs (e.g., banking, insurance, pharma).

These CoEs disseminated knowledge, promoted collaboration, and aligned with strategic goals.

By sharing expertise, Zinnov enhanced efficiency, competitiveness, and business intelligence.

Positive outcomes:

  • Accelerated innovation and talent development.
  • Fostered best practices and new business models.
  • Improved workforce methodology and competitiveness.

Center of Excellence (CoE) vs unified governance

A Center of Excellence can sometimes be confused with unified governance, but the latter encompasses a wider remit.

Let’s delve into a comparison between a Center of Excellence (CoE) and unified governance:

Center of Excellence Unified governance
Scope and focus Aims to excel in a specific area of expertise or competency (e.g., Agile development, cybersecurity, data analytics, customer experience) Encompasses various organizational functions and processes (e.g., data management, IT systems, compliance, risk management).
Functionality Serves as a resource hub and center of expertise, providing guidance, training, and support in the specific domain covered by the CoE. Focuses on centralizing governance mechanisms and establishing standardized frameworks and processes across the entire organization.
Role in digital adoption Plays a significant role in driving digital adoption within its specific domain by providing expertise, guidance, and support. Facilitates digital adoption by establishing standardized governance practices and frameworks supporting digital initiatives across the organization.
Collaboration and integration Often collaborates with other CoEs and organizational units to share knowledge and ensure alignment with broader organizational objectives. Requires collaboration and integration across different functions and departments to ensure consistency and coherence in governance practices.

While CoEs and unified governance aim to promote standardization, best practices, and efficiency within an organization, they differ in scope, focus, functionality, and role in driving digital adoption.

CoEs focus on specific areas of expertise, while unified governance encompasses broader organizational functions and processes.

Advantages of Center of Excellence (CoE)

Establishing a Center of Excellence (CoE) within an organization offers several advantages:

Expertise and specialization: A CoE brings together a team of subject matter experts with specialized knowledge and skills in a particular domain or area of focus. This expertise allows the CoE to provide high-quality guidance, support, and solutions to address complex challenges and drive innovation.

Standardization and best practices: The CoE establishes standards, processes, and best practices that promote consistency and efficiency across the organization. By defining standardized approaches and methodologies, the CoE helps streamline workflows, improve quality, and reduce duplication of efforts.

Knowledge sharing and collaboration: A CoE is a hub for sharing, collaboration, and cross-functional learning. By facilitating communication and cooperation between different teams and departments, the CoE promotes exchanging ideas, expertise, and best practices, fostering a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

Resource optimization: A CoE enables organizations to optimize resource allocation and utilization by centralizing expertise and resources. Instead of duplicating efforts or relying on disparate teams, the CoE consolidates resources and infrastructure, maximizing efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Risk management and governance: The CoE plays a key role in managing risks and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards. By establishing robust governance frameworks, policies, and controls, the CoE helps mitigate risks associated with technology adoption, data management, and process execution.

Innovation and research: A CoE is often tasked with driving innovation and staying abreast of emerging trends, technologies, and market developments. By conducting research, experimentation, and prototyping, the CoE explores new opportunities and evaluates innovative solutions to help the organization maintain a competitive edge and adapt to changing market dynamics.

Strategic alignment and decision support: The CoE aligns its initiatives and activities with its strategic goals and priorities. By providing strategic guidance, insights, and decision support, the CoE helps senior leadership make informed decisions about resource allocation, investment prioritization, and strategic direction.

Challenges of a Center of Excellence (CoE)

While Centers of Excellence (CoEs) offer various benefits, they also face several challenges, including:

Resistance to change: Implementing a CoE often requires organizational changes and adjustments to existing processes, which can be met with resistance from employees accustomed to traditional working methods.

Resource constraints: Establishing and maintaining a CoE requires dedicated resources, including funding, personnel, and infrastructure. Limited resources can hinder the CoE’s ability to effectively execute its initiatives and deliver value to the organization.

Silos and fragmentation: CoEs may struggle to break down silos and foster collaboration across different departments and functions. Without effective communication and coordination, efforts within the CoE may become fragmented, leading to inefficiencies and missed opportunities for synergy.

Skills gap: Recruiting and retaining talent with the necessary expertise and skills to staff the CoE can be challenging, especially in specialized or niche areas. The rapid pace of technological change may also require ongoing investment in training and development to keep CoE personnel up-to-date with emerging trends and best practices.

Center of Excellence (CoE): A win for all

Establishing a Center of Excellence (CoE) is a win for all stakeholders. A CoE enables organizations to seamlessly roll out new initiatives, streamline processes, and drive innovation by serving as a hub of expertise and best practices.

Moreover, when it comes to digital adoption within the workforce, particularly in the realm of DAP software like WalkMe, a CoE plays a pivotal role in ensuring successful implementation and maximizing the value of these tools.

With a CoE, organizations can empower their teams, enhance productivity, and ultimately achieve their business objectives more efficiently and effectively.

So, whether embracing new technologies or optimizing existing processes, a CoE stands as a beacon of excellence, guiding organizations toward success in the digital age.

Updated: June 11, 2024

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