What is a Center of Excellence?
Centers of Excellence are groups that are charged with enabling their organizations with a specific practice or expertise and often have other names, whether that is an Enablement Group, Adoption Team, or Internal Consulting. Historically, this has not been the role of community program teams, who were generally tasked with managing one community.
However, as communities have become more integrated into organizations and as they address more objectives across the employee and customer experience, more people are involved in their management and leadership. The result is growing demand for community management expertise that falls on the community team to deliver. We see this evolution accelerate as communities mature. Only 11% of early communities are explicitly resourced to be centers of excellence – transitioning to a majority of community teams for the most mature community programs. This dynamic is also seen in the growth of groups outside of the community team producing programs in the community. At Stage 4, a majority of communities have cross-functional peers, community leaders, and community members leading programs – all of whom need guidance or training on how to do so effectively.
What kind of enablement services do community teams deliver?
Early on, community teams universally focus on technical support, training, and to a slightly lesser degree, coaching and templates. As community programs mature, they tackle metrics and reporting, consulting, and for some, enterprise governance. Community budgets reflect this transition. In Stage 1, community management resources are only 19% of the total community budget. By Stage 4, 43% of community program budgets go toward talent acquisition and training.
These services correlate with increased reporting responsibilities and increased expectations for engagement for cross-functional peers. More people and groups are involved in both managing aspects of communities, interested in their performance, and measured on their engagement. No longer are community programs isolated and discrete. Instead, they are expanding to align organizational groups in order to address myriad employee and customer experience objectives.