It’s time that the Chief Process Officer role is establish in corporate organizations


It’s time that the Chief Process Officer role is establish in corporate organizations

For the last 15 years, I have been working with process improvements and change management and have been leading several major restructuring projects in large Norwegian and Nordic corporations.

As business process management (BPM) is gaining recognition as a holistic management discipline, new roles are emerging for leaders who evangelise the value of process excellence in their organisation.

Processes are vital to organisations. They need to be treated as business assets and need to be managed and controlled. True process excellence goes further. It aligns an organisation’s entire business infrastructure — which includes people, IT, equipment and resources — to the core processes of the business. BPM is also one of the reason of my phd within this subject,

Although I still miss that Norwegian organizations has enough focus on this business process management.  We live in a continuously changing business environment, which moves ever-closer to a more-connected digital world. Successful organizations need to be proactive and adjust quickly. Therefore an increasing number of international organizations establish a Business Process Management Discipline (BPM-Discipline(tm)) in order to move their strategy into execution at pace with certainty. As any other management discipline, the BPM-Discipline is established through the appropriate business process, the process of process management. This new process is led through an emerging top management role, the Chief Process Officer (CPO). The CPO manages the process of process management in a way that it creates value by executing the business strategy across organizational boundaries, like departments or divisions. The CPO is the “value scout” of the organization.

Process excellence is not just about process improvement projects. It is about transforming an organisation’s processes to deliver business objectives. Recognising the nuances of process transformation, specialised job profiles are required to achieve process excellence. Its all about how an organization is structured, governed, documented, automated, measured, and its ability to change. From my point of view the answer of this challenges is the role as Chief Process Officer (CPO).

A Chief Process Officer (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. They oversee 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.

So 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 enterprise goals are met, process improvement is continuous, and compliance is measured.



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