Hub and spoke organizations make sense, in theory. Of course, that puts a lot of faith in the hub and the spokes.
Hubs are centralized and responsible for synthesis and distribution. While spokes are responsible for being out there on the edges keeping track of more specialized or detailed information.
However, hubs and spokes have different degrees of autonomy depending on the organization. Every organization sets its own norms.
But like most IT and information decisions, this is may not be a proactive, policy-based decision. It developed organically as the organization grew.
This not inherently bad. There is only so much time to make carefully planned decisions on all aspects of an organization.
Like in the book, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, I believe that organizations, just like individuals, have two modes of thinking. The deliberate and thought out decisions and the more instinctual decisions.
Organizations are more complicated because there is more than one individual involved. With more people involved, the more complicated the solution will be. Choosing and implementing ‘enterprise’ software is an example of a deliberate and cumbersome selection process. The ultimate outcome of those kind of process varies widely.
Sometimes small teams investigate different aspects and these spokes bring back their findings to the hub where this information is sorted and evaluated. Some organizations build scorecards and rankings for a veneer of objectivity.
Spokes are good for finding out and learning while hubs are good for accumulating and assimilating information.
When the hub and the spokes work together toward a shared vision that is when the magic really happens.