Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Center of Excellence Discussion

Lately, I've had lots of conversations like the following:

"How is the new job?"

"Love it!"

"What is it you're doing?"

"Working in the HCM Cloud Center of Excellence."

"What's that?"

"We help customers have great experiences with HCM Cloud Applications."

"How do you do that?"

"We solve the challenges nobody else can solve."

"So you're a customer support group?"

"More than that.  We also provide tools, white papers and best practices."

"Still sounds like support to me."

"We're more proactive; not just reactive with challenges as they arise, but also anticipating before the challenges arise."

"Oh, so like proactive support?"

"Sigh.  Different from support...as much as I admire the work those people do, this is different.  Let me try again..."

What I do is sometimes a tough thing to put into words.  In fact, I've had trouble wrapping my own brain around what a Center of Excellence does.  There are elements of work typically done by a development organization, a program management office, a customer support organization, a consulting organization, an engineering design organization, an account management organization, and a sales organization...all rolled up into one big ball of wax.

But I think I've worked it out.  Our particular Center of Excellence focuses on the journey of customers subscribing to HCM Cloud applications (i.e., HCM SaaS applications).  Now, before you say "journey of customers...just another swell catch phrase...pure fluff", let me lay it out.

In our Center of Excellence, we focus on the touch points and interactions with customers that come after the point of sale.  That includes working with those customers as they actually configure, use, and get help with our product offering...and in the world of SaaS, that service includes both the software and the services associated with that software.  And doing so requires a pretty wide breadth of expertise:  functional, technical, business process, reporting and BI, UI Design, etc.  We could be trouble-shooting, guiding customers and partners through various features or processes (including the processes involved in working with Oracle).  We can also be involved with strategic, proactive, and reactive challenges.

To boil it all down into it's simplest terms:  we focus on making the post-sale customer journey better for HCM Cloud customers in any way we can.  That's my quick definition of what we do.  And I'm sticking with it until I hear something better...like maybe from you in the comments.

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