Gartner Research

How and When to Use a Center of Excellence


The term COE is often misused by marketing leaders referring to any centrally organized function. Understand what a COE is and how and when it can be used to deliver oversight, consistency and empowerment to accelerate maturity of a marketing capability.

Published: 28 June 2016

ID: G00294055

Analyst(s): Ewan McIntyre Kirsten Newbold-Knipp

Table Of Contents


  • What Is a COE?
  • Prevalence of COEs
  • When Is a COE Not a COE?
    • Shared Services
    • Governing Councils
    • Cross-Functional Teams
    • Centers of Emergency
  • What Do COEs Do Well?
  • Should Organizations Build a Dedicated Digital COE?
  • How and When to Use a COE
  • What to Do Next

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