CPO (Chief Process Officer) Role is Probably a Necessity for Some Organizations

CPO Role

Once an organization reaches a certain critical mass (I suggest 10 or more process owners, revenues of $10M or more, and a CIO with no time to spare), it’s time they hire a CPO. Business and systems analysts are a great step in the right direction, however, the CPO’s role is ensure that BPM and related activities remain strategic and have the necessary commitments, resources and attention from the executive team.  CIOs are typically too busy with technology and systems, COOs are too  busy with operations and people and analysts don’t have the clout.  Smaller organizations probably aren’t there yet and can out-source to consultants until they’re ready.

Process architecture is integral to the overall enterprise architecture and somebody has to have the muscle and brains to make sure the executive team is in lock-step. Otherwise, BPA, BPM and BPI languish when other fires flare up. The CPO is charged with coordinating strategy and aligning efforts to address everything from customer service to procurement to HR. End-to-end process management means end-to-end. It doesn’t mean some operations and some systems implementation. That kind of breadth and depth and span requires serious and consistent attention.

CPO Goals

The CPO should be hired to accomplish the following:

  1. end-to-end processes
  2. achieve process goals including the smooth flow of data
  3. maintain a customer focus
  4. resolve gaps and issues between and across departmental lines
  5. Meta project management
  6. establish reporting and performance metrics
  7. maintain project framework and consistency in deliverables
  8. ongoing knowledge transfer regarding BPM throughout the organization
  9. establishing a Center of Excellence
  10. boundary and resource management

What to look for…

Someone who can help others on the executive team succeed. In organizations that are mature enough to consider themselves process-centric, this person will be charged with enabling other leaders to prosper in the centers of excellence and remain aligned with the strategic plan. Anything short of this demonstrated success isn’t enough.  Look for a deep and experienced record of success in propelling entire organizations down a process path. I can’t be more clear, this is not a technology role. This is also not an operations and management role.  This is a role for – quite frankly – a new breed of visionary leader who can see things from 1, 10, 100 and 100,000 foot perspectives.


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