4.0 Positioning of the Chief Process Officer in the Organization

The positioning of the CPO in an organization depends heavily on the nature of the specific company. It has to be defined in the context of the existing organizational structure as well as market and growth dynamics. However, there are several aspects to consider when positioning this role:

  • The CPO provides input in the overall business strategy based on his/her cross-functional view and drives the execution of this strategy. She/he requires appropriate access to the board and the position needs to provide the necessary standing in the organization.
  • The CPO works closely with the other process owners, who are in general very senior executives. She/he needs to have the standing and positioning to be successful in this context.
  • The CPO leads the BPM core team, often a Center of Excellence. Her/his positioning needs to give his reports the appropriate standing and development perspectives.

These points motivate most organizations to have the CPO role report directly to the board or at least to another C-level position. This has been confirmed in an empirical research study (Kirchmer, Lehmann, Rosemann, zur Muehlen, Laengle, 2013) with companies from around the world of different industries and sizes. It is consistent with our observations working with large and mid-sized organizations.

The typical positioning of the CPO is shown in figure 4. It also describes his integration in various governance bodies, like a BPM Management Board, a BPM Strategy Board or a Process Oversight Authority, e.g. to drive the transformation of a key business process.

The CPO is an emerging role targeting the creation of value by focusing on transferring the
business strategy into execution, fast and with minimal risk. We expect this role to become more
and more important in organizations, similar to the rise of the CIO about 25 years ago.

Figure 4: Typical Positioning of the Chief Process Officer

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