Do you have dreams of setting up a Center of Excellence (or Enablement) or maybe you're making it happen? Where do you start? Here's a breakdown of my recommendation on setting up a COE. Of course, you do what makes sense to your users and your organizations. You can adopt or adapt the TCOE pillars to your organization.
Talk with your customers
Why talk with customers?
If you set up a peer review process and people already have a peer review process in place, at least on the surface level, your program won't be successful.
Who do you ask?
Ask a cross-section of users, including your advanced, intermediate, beginner users as well as managers across different lines of business. This is important to ensure that you have a sufficient perspective.
What do you ask?
People run from pain and run towards pleasure
What does that mean in a business and COE setting? It means that that people won't use initiatives that are too hard/cumbersome and will use initiatives that help them/make their lives easy. If they have something in place already that makes their life easy, they'll want to continue with that.
Depending on what they say, you may be able to group these into the following pillars:
The four pillars of a COE
What initiatives or programs will you have to upskill your users?
This can go either way; either your COE does direct consulting or you implement consulting-like programs like Data Doctors or Office Hours.
I like to specifically call out onboarding because if you do not set people up for success, you're making their life harder.
Probably the most under-valued pillar, enablement helps users work smarter. To me, enablement is an indirect line item that affects net income. Enablement helps communicate all of the other initiatives that you'll put in place (helping increase the value of your initiatives and the work products of your users). And because of enablement, you can save your users time (our most finite and precious asset) by searching up and finding relevant information. It's an old adage, but time is money.
As you can tell, I provided more content on enablement and that's because it is so under-valued.
Now that you have an idea of what your customers need, what your pillars will be, how do you get started? First, go back to what your customers said when you talked with them. This is where a bit of analysis comes into play. Can the issues be grouped into one of the pillars? What are items/pillars that already work well?
Remember the saying from above.
People run from pain and run towards pleasure
Start with the items that cures the pain, because pain feels worse than how good pleasure feels.
Need help getting started or you've got the framework in place but need help executing it? Let's chat to see if my fractional COE services are a good fit for your organization.
In my last post, I shared the Four Pillars of a COE. That approach will definitely be helpful for organizations that have the resources to staff a COE. What if you're a COE of 1 or you're doing COE-esque work on the side? What should you be doing? If I were a COE of one, here's what I would do:
1. Understand the landscape. How do people work and what are their pain points? I talked about this in the Four Pillars post. What's the most important activity that would make their life easier or that they desperately need?
Outside of what you learn about the landscape, the following are items that will make your life easier and help support, upskill, and maybe even grow your community.
2. Automate onboarding (as much as possible). Set people up for success. Once they get their license, establish an automated email that includes items like:
3. Personalized learning. First, assess their Tableau skills. I have a Tableau skills quiz that I can help you collect data on which will then inform how you provide personalized learning. If you don't have time or money to get instructor-led training or building your own training, my recommendation is to provide curated learning for each skill level. Additionally, if your organization's learning management system (LMS) has this feature, when people complete their learning path, they can automatically receive a badge. The LMS may also be able to send you training reports (or send a link to a Tableau dashboard that has relevant information to help you measure and monitor training).
4. Automate aspects of enablement.
If you want to do consulting because you love it or it's an expectation, here's a tried and true way to make the most of your time.
5. Automate the booking process for consultations or appointments. In this, you can collect information on what they need help on and what your knowledge base is (there's no point in them asking for your time in data engineering when you provide front-end developer expertise). Based on the results of the form, you can then lead them to your calendar to book an appointment when you're available.
There are so many different things you can do to support your community. I would start by automating these aspects of enablement and then focus on what the community told me is their pain point. This means I would spend my time on the issues that matter the most without adversely impacting others in the community. That's a win-win-win. ?
If enablement isn't your favorite thing or you have too much for one person to do, book a chat to see how Kund Consulting can help you.
Emily has performed enablement activities and growing communities going back to 2013. Her most recent role was to help build a Center of Excellence at Red Hat. She is the co-founder of the data+women movement, data+dc chapter, Tableau Fringe Festival, and the Accessibility Tableau User Group.