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What is a Mobility Center of Excellence?

In my last blog I started a new series on setting the stage for a mobility center of excellence. Now we’ll talk a bit more about what a center of excellence is and some key dimensions of them. This information is based on a whitepaper written by SAP’s Vishy Gopalakrishnan. Vishy works with Global 1000 customers to develop and deliver on their mobility strategy. He is also a co-author ‘Work Goes Mobile” (Wiley, 2006). If you are interested in more detail on this topic, I encourage you to join Vishy and Mike Golz, SAP’s CIO of the Americas, as they discuss this topic in a webinar on December 1st. We’ll also send you the whitepaper when it is available.

Now, getting to our topic… What is a Mobility Center of Excellence? To make typing easier, I’ll shorten this to MCoE going forward. Vishy defines an MCoE as ‘an attempt to coalesce around a set of principles for an effective and efficient use of mobility across the entire enterprise’. The goal is to capturing learnings, best practices, and reference architectures from mobility projects within your company. Of course collecting is one thing – but the ultimate goal is to accelerate the adoption of mobility within your company.

A Mobility Center of Excellence can facilitate success by:

  • Leveraging existing IT processes (standards, governance) and people;
  • Defining standards, vendor and technology selection and security policies relevant to mobility;
  • Acting as the trusted advisor to the line of business leaders;
  • Reviewing, evaluating and approving mobility projects;
  • During implementation, providing technology expertise to the business, authoring best practices, facilitating training and technical support;
  • Post deployment, offering thought leadership, consulting on mobile technology, and providing metrics reporting and support.

If you think that this kind of approach makes sense for your business, it important to next understand how mature your company is in mobility. Everyone reading this is probably at different stages of mobility adoption and maturity.  Regardless or where you are in terms of comfort and expertise, a mobility CoE has three dimensions to consider; scope, organization and governance. We’ll introduce the areas here and talk more about them in the next blog and in the webinar.

Scope: As a first order of business, you need to define the scope and the charter of the Mobility CoE. This is an essential element to grounding the MCoE for everything it does going forward.  We recommend that you answer the following questions to help define the scope of your MCoE.

  • What is the core function of the MCoE?
  • How broad is the span of mobility capabilities that the MCoE covers?
  • How will the MCoE interface with your existing IT organization?

Organization:  Once the scope for the MCoE has been defined, the next element to review is the underlying organizational structure and associated ways of working. This starts with securing buy-in from major stakeholders across the organization. Since mobility has an impact across most of the organization, it is important to get sponsorship from senior and influential individuals across business and IT for the MCoE. The next steps are to outline the key roles and reporting structure and finding the right person to lead the CoE.

Governance: This element of the MCoE defines the ground rules for its operations, the funding model, the mechanism by which decisions are made, the criteria used to track its ongoing effectiveness, and the process for communicating key decisions and milestones to its stakeholders 

These three areas will form the basis for what your CoE becomes and will evolve to. I encourage you to register for the live webinar to dive into this topic in more detail and to ask questions of Vishy and Mike Golz. Registration is available and the whitepaper will be available soon.

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