Enterprise Management Associates has been researching application testing trends and has identified what we believe to be a major sea change, particularly in large organizations: enterprise testing labs that once had been separated by lines of business are now being centralized into application testing centers, known as \u201ccenters of excellence\u201d (CoE) or \u201cquality centers\u201d (QC).CoE consolidation can provide a number of benefits, including increased testing efficiencies and better application quality.CoEs consolidate testing hardware and software into a central location. This results in lower capital and operational expenses, because it means fewer server and software licenses are needed and the testing equipment is more fully utilized. Quality assurance software vendors, such as Mercury Interactive, have announced licensing models where a number of users in a geographical area can use the same pool of licenses, supporting the CoE model very well.In addition to the hard cost savings mentioned above, CoEs can result in increased application quality across the board. Centralized testing centers, which apply the same quality methodologies and best practices to every application, produce more consistently high-quality applications than separate testing groups were generally able to provide. In addition, since CoEs can require less personnel than the \u201ctesting silo\u201d model, more highly qualified (expensive), and efficient testing personnel can be hired. Also, since testing personnel do not report directly to the line-of-business managers, they can feel less pressure to rush releases through testing, resulting in better overall quality.There are downsides to the CoE model; change rarely comes cheaply. The process of moving to a CoE involves the consolidation of people and equipment, which costs money and probably involves relocation, reassignment or elimination of some of the current quality-assurance workers. While the movement to a CoE model may be (and probably should be) performed gradually, it may take some time before a quantifiable ROI is achieved. Soft dollar savings, however, begin to be realized quickly in terms of increased efficiencies and quality.EMA researching the acceptance of the CoE idea, and how many people in the \u201creal world\u201d are actively planning a CoE-like project. If you are involved or interested in the CoE movement and would be interested in participating in a short survey, please point your Web browser to https:\/\/www.enterprisemanagement.com\/survey\/COEResponses will be held confidential. As an additional incentive to participate, all entrants that provide a valid e-mail address will be entered into a drawing for one free month of EMA Analyst Access.I am also looking for qualified individuals to briefly interview on this subject (confidentially); you can send me e-mail at mailto:email@example.com if you are willing to participate or if you have comments on this article. Thanks for your time.