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Centers of Excellence

More and more Pega clients are formalizing a Center of Excellence (COE) to help them achieve their business goals. Each COE is unique, but all share a belief in the importance of collaboration and the transformative power of technology.

What is a COE?

A Center of Excellence (COE) is at heart a group of people – experts in business process management, customer relationship management, and business domain, equipped with an arsenal of best practices and tools. A mature COE is a self-directing entity responsible for supporting business users and shepherding complex projects to successful completion.

The purpose of a Pega COE is to empower enterprises to get the most out of Pega technology, not only within key teams but across the entire organization. A COE links your big-picture strategy with your day-to-day operations, documents lessons learned and best practices, and makes it easier for different groups to reuse and adapt proven solutions. Because it brings together smart people and cutting-edge technology from all parts of the enterprise, a COE can also play an important role in your digital transformation.

COE Success: How Express Scripts is Maximizing Pega’s Impact

Hear from Rich Catlett, Pega COE Lead at Express Scripts, as he explains the value that the COE brings to his organization.

Defining scope and roadmap

While some COEs focus primarily on business processes, Pega advocates for a balanced focus on three areas:


Successful COEs include the right mix of people with the appropriate hard and soft skills, working together with well-defined roles and responsibilities in a structure that supports effective collaboration.


Building the right process involves putting a methodology in place that is effective and repeatable. Pega recommends iterative methodologies that allow you to deliver business value quickly.


It's critical to have the proper technology, with a prescriptive set of enterprise best practices and policies around it. When you build your initial COE platform, it must be scalable, available, secure, and sized appropriately to accommodate future demand.

Roles and responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities will vary depending on your COE structure and budget, but you will generally build teams that fall into one of four categories:

COE Leadership provides executive support and governance to project teams.

The COE Core Team handles demand and intake from project teams. They are tasked with standardizing the delivery process and performing the value-add services of the COE.

A COE Extended Team develops Pega Platform™ and application experience and knowledge in their individual domains to support Pega projects. They provide feedback to the Core Team on ways they can improve delivery.

Project Team(s) may be staffed internally or by a Pega or a delivery partner. These teams manage and drive the project on the ground. They are responsible for delivery project outcomes, according to the best practices and methodology determined by the COE.

Maturing a COE

There are five levels of COE maturity:

Level 1: Organizations without a COE strategy in place start here; they haven’t defined their charter or goals.

Level 2: Roles, responsibilities, and resources are identified. The implementation methodology incorporates COE touch points and governance steps, and projects are loosely coordinated through the COE.

Level 3: A COE is providing expert services to different project teams. A community is fully active, and there is coordination around shared components that allow for a level of reuse. The COE monitors projects and evaluates new opportunities for business process management.

Level 4: The functional areas are organizing themselves into competency centers, focused on driving common processes and operating models across the company. Individual lines of business are represented and negotiate between specialization and core framework-based processes.

Level 5: A fully-federated model of business process-oriented competency centers drive for shared processes across business lines. There are process improvement programs continually iterating across the enterprise. At this level, the COE is directing Pega implementations across the organization.

Communicating value

To secure continued funding, leaders across the organization need to understand the business value of your COE.

The easiest way to market a COE is with quantifiable results, and thankfully, much of a COE’s benefit can be measured. Make sure to establish consistent key performance indicators (KPIs) that will communicate progress toward the organization’s larger goals.

Below are some sample KPIs that can be used to chart the success of your COE strategy:

Process reuse rate

Number of projects/releases deployed

Development costs per process set

Per process ROI

Bug/defect rate

Opportunities in the pipeline

Solution responsiveness

Delivery on time/budget

Related Resources

COE Panel Discussion and Best Practices

Philips Healthcare and Siemens AG present their Center of Excellence best practices and business value.

COE Operational Strategies

Kate Lepore walks us through the three COE operational strategies, Community of Practice, Competency Center, and Center of Excellence.

Watch video

How COE Reduce Risk and Drive Operational Efficiency

Pega and Stratosphere Consulting share an in-depth session on how creating a Center of Excellence can help streamline your programs.

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