SI is all for Centres of Excellence, CoEs, but when he read the recent post over on Spend Matters on Why Your Procurement Organization Needs a Market Intelligence Centre of Excellence, one has to wonder if we are taking the CoE concept a bit too far.
Now, the post is not really advocating for a CoE in a CoE, as it is advocating a Market Intelligence Centre of Excellence (a MI CoE) in any organization with over 2 Billion of spend, which is a reasonable suggestion given the importance of market intelligence in Sourcing endeavours, but one has to ask, where is this CoE going to live? Presumably it will live in Procurement. But managing a CoE is no small endeavour. A CoE requires good management practices, and good management practices generally stem from a CoE. In particular, a Procurement CoE should manage the MI CoE. And the net result is we have a MI CoE within the Procurement CoE.
A Procurement CoE should have functional excellence in all of the functional areas relevant to Procurement. It should have excellence in market intelligence, spend analysis, should-cost modelling, sourcing best practices, optimization, contract negotiation and management, order and inventory management, payment management, and procurement project management. But these should not be individual centres of excellence, as many of these activities overlap and support each other and market intelligence supports all, and is supported by all, of them.
The Procurement organization Centre of Excellence should definitely build its Market Intelligence competence up to the level of functional excellence, as that will improve all of its Sourcing and Procurement activities and enable it to realize better results, but it shouldn’t take the CoE concept too far. A CoE in a CoE just gets a little redundant.