It Time for a Chief Process Officer at the top level in the in the public sector in Norway


The public sector faces a number of challenges, including the need to improve organizational performance, minimize risk, implement organizational policies and reduce complex internal processes. Health and Care is an important sector that needs to apply new technology and new enterprise management parameters to be more effective. If not, one in three would have to work in Norwegian health and care sector by 2060, which is not technically or economically feasible.

Principles used today in process management can help the public sector to simplify business management and handle operational challenges to deliver better public services with increased efficiency for the population.

In business, we see more and more organizations employing senior management positions with responsibility for process management. This is something that the public sector should look at to a greater extent than today.

Business Process Management, BPM is a systematic approach to improving organizational performance within an organization commonly used in private business. It focuses on business process modeling, improvement, automation and management. Through process analysis in its entirety, the methodology helps eliminate the boundaries between devices and traditional silos, information systems and people.

What is a CPO?

According to Wikipedia, “A CPO is an executive responsible for business process management at the highest level of an organization. CPOs usually report directly to the chief executive officer (CEO) or board of directors. This is a positioned we don’t see many of in the public sector nor in major municipalities in Norway. This is a positioned believe should be mandatory in major public organizations and in major municipalities. A CPO oversees business process activities and are responsible for defining rules, policies, and guidelines to ensure that the main objectives follow the company strategy as well as establishing control mechanisms.”

Working with the organization, the CPO defines the process management strategy and related objectives for the company, develops, documents, and introduces the process model, and monitors process compliance.

Why can’t the other chiefs handle this role?

Traditional chief financial officers’, chief technology officers’, chief marketing officers’, chief administrative officers’, and other chief executives’ roles, responsibilities, and compensation are focused on their area of the organization. Although they may have been trained on process improvement method(s), this training is typically at a high level and does not equip them to support CPO responsibilities. They may also lack the visibility, or the support required from other chiefs, to tackle difficult enterprise and multiple department-wide processes.

Didn’t that LEAN event take care of this? Many internally supported process improvement initiatives lack sustainability and fall apart when self-directed teams try to tackle difficult process issues. Simply put: Line-of-business staff do not have the time to become process experts; they are busy handling their own day-to-day responsibilities. Today, we find that less than 20% of most organizations’ processes are documented and up to date. If a process is not properly defined and measured, how can it be improved?

What should be in the “tool box” of a CPO?

Number one answer is procedural changes. I find when working to resolve difficult organizational issues, procedural changes (changing the way people work both individually and together) can resolve many organizational problems. Revolutionary tools include technologies such as workflow and electronic content management. Properly deployed, these paperless technologies provide independent process measurements and break down organizational silos.

A CPO can provide an independent voice to help ensure organizations goals are met, process improvement is continuous, and compliance is measured.

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