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The Salesforce Operating, Governance & Architecture Framework (SOGAF) applies the MIT-CISR Enterprise Architecture Framework to Salesforce implementations and programs.

Introduction

Coming up with a clear definition for the Common Entity, aka Center of Excellence, is tricky. The Common Entity (CoE) within transformation programs has a variety of names:

The Common Entity can also play any number of these roles, adding to the confusion:

After all, the Common Entity (CoE) does a bit of everything.

In SOGAF, the Common Entity’s mission revolves around 4 components and 20 activities focused on establishing the purpose, vision, values, roles, processes and metrics of the operating model.

Key Considerations

Components

The diagram below depicts the 4 components (Project & Product Management, Platform & Product Enablement, Product Development & Platform Optimization and Adoption & Operations) with their key responsibilities.

The Common Entity (CoE)’s mission is made up of 4 components

Activities

The following table extends each component's reponsibilities detailed above into key activities to be successful.

CoE ComponentKey Activities
CoE Mgmt & Salesforce PMOSet CoE goals, scope & plan, budgeting, sizing & risk Mgmt, people/ team Mgmt, Onboarding of Staff & reporting
Bus. Reqts, Value & Change ControlDemand Management, program scope governance meetings, Change Control Board meetings, stakeholder escalation,
Product Portfolio & InnovationSet up Innovation Lab & Innovation Hub (evangelization). Product portfolio Mgmt / 3 annual releases, build POCs/ prototypes
Security & Compliance/ regulationsAlign with corporate security guidelines, implement security guardrails on programs, compliance training for staff & contractors
Architecture OversightOversee & expertise for Org strategy, configuration & code quality, integrations, data volume, archiving, backup & restore, CD/CI
Design AuthorityEstablish, own and apply principles, standards, policies. Guarantee compliance and quality (UX, applications, data, security, reuse, scalability, and sustainability). Ensure flexibility to meet business needs and make use of new technologies incl. AppExchange
Product/ Platform/ CoE StandardsDefine norms and SOPs, Repeatable methodology for implementation, deployment & maintenance of Platform and applications
Roles & Skills, CommunicationsDefine roles & skills, training paths & certs, toolkits. Communicate on new features, scheduled upgrades and services disruptions
Internal projects consultancy & QAProject QA methodologies (Agile, Hybrid, Waterfall) and tools for discovery, design, build, test, deploy; reviews & expertise
Shared service for product devtHave resources, teams, organization (incl. PO) and toolkits to enable delivery of products in factory mode – alone or with SI
Best practice CommunityDefine, validate and circulate processes, ways of working, lessons learned and solution configuration, either mandatory & ad-hoc
Reusable Assets MgmtCollect, centralize, curate and circulate potential assets (solution configuration, code, integration pattern, documentation)
Environment MgmtSupport all environments – sandbox to production, and marketing BUs, etc – monitor status and quality. Data & metadata migration
Release Mgmt & IntegrationsEstablish major & minor release schedule, with Tools. Oversee versioning, branching, frequency, components, integrations
Data Migration & Quality MgmtOversee data model and metadata, updates to production data, volumes, quality, compliance, as well as reporting on data
License & Usage MgmtMonitor usage of the Salesforce licenses and provide a regular update on utilization. Tool selection
Deployment, Training, Adoption, NOEProcess/ LoB / Market end-user deployment and training. Application and business adoption. Network of Excellence
Administration – App, UI, Data, PlatformRun application - UI & usage (Lightning/ Mobile), automations, standard & custom objects, reports & dashboards, Chatter. Data. Run Platform environments, archiving, backup & restore,. Monitoring, Security. Releases & Roadmap (SF)
Access, Identity, AuthorizationUser provisioning, authorization & access (Profile & P-set). Identity & SSO, authentication, certificates, (de)activation
End User Support & TicketingRun Ticketing process. Address Level 2 (Admin) and coordinate with L3 (Devt.) (app defects) and/or L4 (SF) for support

About the Contributors

Martin Griffiths is a Business Architect Director at Salesforce, with an Anglo-French background and based in Paris, France. Martin joined Salesforce 5 years ago. His 30-year career in CRM, ERP and digital transformation spans business consulting, enterprise architecture and program delivery roles. His focus is advising customers on complex Salesforce-based transformations, operating models and architecture, applying academic frameworks to guide decision-making and address governance at scale topics successfully.

You can connect with Martin Griffiths on LinkedIn.