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Who will be the new Chief Process Officer?

Wallace Oliveira

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Today some companies are going through a moment in which they realize they need a professional who is capable of paying some much-deserved attention to the development of corporate processes. This is the case mostly because of the demand and the attitude asked of these companies by the present market, which sets the use of BPM management tools as a means to reach these demands more easily and with greater credibility. Insofar as process management is starting to become more complex, the solution is to bet on the work of a Chief Process Officer, also known as CPO, a professional which will be responsible for the Business Process Management Office (The BPMO) and for the organization-wise strategic decisions of the company. According to Rui Lima Godinho, The Processes and Projects Coordinator at BT Call Center, the CPO has got to have a profile formed by some characteristics that can be considered imperative to her performance. They are:

  • Extensive experience with processes;
  • Knowledge about the company's chain of values;
  • Holistic view;
  • Analytical competence;
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Excellent negotiation skills;

These features are, undoubtedly, determining for the performance of the CPO's assignments, in a way that she actively works towards the continual improvement of executed processes. “As the CPO is responsible for a process office, she is supposed to guarantee adhesion to business processes and to promote discussion, aiming at the improvement of the processes through mapping workshops according to the BPM methodology. She is also supposed to deal with an entire bevy of processes which will constantly analyze bottlenecks and improvement points in the company's key processes”, the projects coordinator explains.

Besides, As Rui says, this professional must be deeply involved with meetings that discuss budget matters, project and operational kick-offs. She is also responsible for submitting to superior managers and elsewhere in the company reports and data from indicators, pointing out what is not completely shaped as it should in the processes, and also risks and opportunities of growth that could be caused through changes in the procedures , which are done daily by his team. “A wide view of the business processes is required of her, which makes her a central piece for the correct functioning of the company”, he adds.

Some businessmen and managers are often left to wonder what the best moment to make the CPO role an official affair in their companies is, and whether there's any sort of strategy that can be worked on so that this is well accomplished. According to Rui, the maturity of the company in relation to the processes will determine the need for a CPO. “For me the CPO role should be instituted from the moment the company gains the conscience, and bets on the value, of methodology for managing business processes. We can consider a mark in time in which the company is in a 0 or 1 level of maturity in BPM. It's also worth noting that this decision must be supported at the highest management level, because implementing a BPMO, with a team of specialists (CPO, analysts, etc), a formally installed methodology and software that underpins this operation is not easy or cheap. It must, however, be seen as an investment, not as a cost”, Rui adds.

When it comes to the strategy for the institution of a CPO, Rui highlights that personal characteristics, the profile needed for the job and thorough knowledge about the processes must be strongly taken into consideration. This way it will be possible to assess, in conjunction with the HR department , if the company has a professional that is up to the requirements and, in case it's not possible to enlist somebody from within the company, then the opportunity for the external labor market should be opened.

Some companies bet on the training and development of someone who's already involved with the processes in the company. That would be the Chief Information Officer, or CIO. “Since the CIO already has a strategic view of the company and has to deal informally (without a BPM methodology) with process decisions and directions daily, it's easier for him to migrate to a BPMO”, Rui says.

The projects coordinator remarks that the institution of the CPO role isn't a meaningless trend. “The institution of a CPO is already a reality with which companies already deal in their daily routines, with intense pressure to meet demands, scarce budgets and lack of specialized human resources working in their diverse areas. Because of this, companies adopt and look up to BPM as a solution, with the mapping, analysis, optimization and automation of processes through software (BPMS – Business Process Management Software) and teams which specialize in these activities (informal BPMO). Thus, this workload requires the CPO”, he explains.


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