It’s all app-driven economy today! Various business units of an organization are coming up with different applications that work efficiently to gain the competitive edge. Delivery and success of such applications rely on IT. It is getting difficult for IT to keep up the pace with ever-changing and ever-growing market demands.
Previously, the average lifetime of a company was about 30-50 years which has come down to 18 years in the recent past. Today, 5 out of 9 companies that were among fortune 500 a decade ago are non-existent. Why did the rest 4 companies survive while the other 5 did not? It is not the case of a big-fish-eating-a-small-fish.
Disruption is inevitable - How do you survive?
With the availability of IT infrastructure at affordable costs, the technology has been democratized and made viable for smaller companies. Massive investments in IT infrastructure have been happening across the world with Big Data, Cloud, Digital and Analytics being the order of the day. However, IT just cannot work in silos without interacting with all the latest technologies.
In today’s age of agility, the appropriate adage is not “the survival of the fittest,” but “the survival of the fastest.” If the business is going to change with the changing demands, it is going to survive; if not, it will perish real fast. The IT landscape is growing and changing at a rapid pace along with the infrastructure. Establishing a CoE (Center of Excellence) has been a known practice for a few years now. CoE aims at achieving standardized software delivery at optimal cost by utilizing optimal resources. As soon as an organization decides to establish CoE, the IT team collates requirements for every project and delivers as per the requirement. Nevertheless, the fast-changing customer demands are making it difficult for IT to deliver projects as per the timelines.
What is a C4E? – An Overview
The compelling need for enabling various business units (BUs) to come up with their solutions has given way for an innovative approach and C4E (Center for Enablement) has come into the picture. It empowers BUs to meet rapidly-changing demands while adhering to the timelines. While CoE is a centralized approach that brings people, processes, infrastructure, and technology together, C4E is a cross-functional team that is set up to enable an organization across BUs to create reusable assets, to utilize and maximize the value of their integration projects and assets.
For organizations to stay relevant and competitive in the industry, they need to adopt C4E. It involves thought leadership on disruption process in their industry segments, and coaching IT teams to let go of controls, creating guard rails that their BUs could use to develop solutions, and give them some leeway in technology choices.
C4E has recently been becoming popular owing to the API innovations, and API led connectivity approaches which help in bridging the gap. It's a change in the operation model from how businesses functioned earlier. The enterprises are much more decomposed and differentiated now. They started stepping into multiple business lines, and IT is not in a capacity to cater to all the different whims of customers and business needs right now.
What is a good starting point to establish a C4E?
IT organizations should change from a project-based delivery approach to a systematic provisioning of toolsets, capabilities, and governance processes of common utility objects for businesses to start setting up C4E. IT becomes a custodian of most of the code and data of the systems which increase response from IT to threats. As a result, faster-time-to-market and a lot of reusable IP can be achieved which can be shared among the BUs. It can be scaled across the partner systems.
How can you enhance the capabilities of C4E?
A technical platform should be set up to provide the evangelism for other partners to start using C4E and productize some of the BU offerings. That's when each BU can reuse the assets that they and every other BU has been creating. Such assets provide thought leadership about architecture and critical area like automated governance.
The goal of C4E is bringing in agility within a system or a process. Shorter implementations and releases with a business-centric vision and culture are the goals of C4E and work well for innovative projects. In C4Es, analyst, coaches, and evangelists play a vital role than developers, product owners, and delivery managers.
The top-down approach is the best for C4E. At least, two or three BUs should start working on their own and build C4Es and add additional layers of governance just to do their job. A typical process would be four levels of maturity which are:
- Establishing a chatter
- Early adoption of first two BUs
- Getting into the proof-of-concepts for federated BUs
- A mass adoption where IT just acts as an enabler as a coach and let the BUs survive and sustain on their own.
All in all, to keep up with the changing business demands, C4E is a way for IT to deliver more projects and create innovations with the same amount of resourcing. To know more about C4E, Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.