The principles behind a C4E

A C4E is defined as a group that drives the IT operating model shift. It is in charge of enabling business divisions — including but not exclusively IT — to build and drive the consumption of assets successfully, thereby enabling speed and agility.
It allows the business and IT teams to shift from a production-based to a production-and-consumption-based delivery model.
The C4E is a cross-functional team — typically staffed with members from central IT, line-of- business departments, and digital innovation teams — charged with productizing, publishing, and harvesting reusable assets and best practices.
They promote consumption and collaboration and help drive self-reliance while improving results through feedback and metrics.
The name might recall a familiar concept: the Center of Excellence (CoE).
However, a C4E is a radically different idea. Traditional CoEs feature centralized expertise and knowledge, which results in information being protected and rationed unintentionally. CoEs often become bottlenecks that developers and architects work around.
The below graphic provides a further overview of additional differences between a C4E and a CoE.

Establish C4E

Establishing the C4E Operating Model is the first major step to providing a solid foundation for API-led Connectivity and driving reuse. The C4E Operating model is realized by executing the following steps:

  • Develop the client's C4E mission statement and charter.
    • The charter details the objectives, structure and values of the C4E.
    • The mission statement clearly and succinctly states the purpose and goal(s) of the C4E.
  • Define the roles and responsibilities of the C4E.
    • The roles and responsibilities describe the titles and scope of activities performed by
      each member of the C4E team.
  • Build detailed work plans for C4E.
    • Define a backlog that drives to C4E goals.
    • Align backlog activities with C4E goals and values.
  • Identify KPIs for measuring consumption, reuse, developer engagement and asset creation.
    • Establish metrics, definitions, scope and visualization.

Establish C4E KPIs and Measurement Plan

Defining a set of measurable C4E KPIs provides a window into how well the C4E is being adopted by the organization.

C4E KPIs are developed with customer input and should align with the customer's C4E vision. The KPIs should be measured periodically (ideally weekly) and should be revised to ensure relevancy.

Each C4E KPI definition should consist of:

  • KPI Name - The name of the KPI.
  • KPI Description - A description of the KPI's value.
  • Measurement Name - The name of each series of data collected (e.g. # of System APIs).
  • Measurement Means - How the measurement is calculated (e.g. Systems APIs are the number of applications with the term "system-api" or "sapi" in the name).
  • Measurement Scope - The period in which the measurement is collected (e.g. day/week/month).
  • Chart/Graph - The medium in which the information is delivered.
  • Measurement Goals - A "goal" state for the measurement.
Recommended C4E KPIs
  • API Reuse Percentage
  • Average Number of Consumers
  • Top 10 - Number of Consumers
  • Number of Exchange Assets
  • Overall Asset Satisfaction
  • Training - Overall Number of Attendees
  • Training - Number of Attendees by Course
  • Training - Overall Number of Certifications
  • Training - Number of Certifications by Certificate
  • A list of C4E key performance (KPI) indicators agreed upon by client.
  • A detailed measurement plan for each C4E KPI.

Benefits of a C4E?

Some of the expected benefits of building a C4E include:

  • Shorter delivery cycles, including faster time to market for your integration projects through reuse and self-service.
  • Reduced project risk and on-time delivery of integration projects.
  • Better adherence to standards and best practices.
  • Higher quality deliverables as a result of being built on existing templates and APIs, thereby reducing the number of defects and error rates.

The bottom line is that with these outcomes, our customers deliver projects 3x faster and increase team productivity by 300% than they do with other approaches.