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The rise of the chief process officer

The rise of the chief process officer

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.

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.

Here are the six most important roles to rise in the near future:

Chief process officer. This is a key leadership position reporting directly to the CEO. The chief process officer is the main advocate for business process excellence in the organisation. They define the BPM strategy and objectives, establish a process governance structure with process owners, and own the enterprise process map. They also ensure that core processes deliver customer-driven performance, and that strategic objectives are being met.

Executive process sponsor. The executive process sponsor leads and inspires development of core processes to deliver the very best for customers by defining the end-to-end process vision. They also assign process ownership roles and communicate ownership and accountability, while championing process developments using process as a driver of business performance.

End-to-end (E2E) process owner. The end-to-end process owner details process measures (KPIs) and ensures the design of the end-to-end process. They ensure customer satisfaction is measured, and that revenue and efficiency targets are met. Furthermore, they initiate and manage process improvement initiatives, promote standardisation and optimisation, and implement IT system changes that have an impact on the process.

Process architect. The process architect defines the corporate process architecture and manages the enterprise process map. They work with end-to-end process owners and process managers to ensure architectural conformance. They also assist IT with the promotion of business service re-use.

Process manager. The process manager is responsible for the day-to-day operation of business unit processes. They manage and track against targets set by end-to-end process owners. They also design business unit processes, and manage the allocation of resources. Importantly, they provide process infrastructure to support process users and coordinate business unit process improvement.

Process specialist. The process specialist undertakes detailed process design, analysis and improvement using agreed-upon BPM standards, methods and tools. It falls under their responsibility to make sure processes meet process objectives and customer experience targets and are compliant with architectural standards; and they validate that the process is fit-for-purpose.

A quick search on Seek found 44 job advertisements for process managers, 24 process specialists and one process architects. It would not be too surprising to see chief process officer placements soon.

Geoff Denyer is vice president, Sales Enablement at Software AG, Asia-Pacific and Japan.

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