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Using a Global Process Owner to Maintain Controls with Business Process Management (BPM)

The benefits of using a global process owner for any major process area include increased process standardization, better leveraging the use of technology, and more consistent policies, to name just a few.  For the major technology company that was recently featured on a Peeriosity PeercastTM, utilizing Business Process Management (BPM) in conjunction with the global process owner design has been very beneficial in developing and maintaining their Purchase-to-Pay control structure. 

Business Process Management is a proven methodology that focuses on managing and optimizing a company’s business processes in many large companies across the world.  Sometimes classified as a “process optimization process”, BPM helps provide the discipline for organizations to effectively increase efficiency and streamline operations.

With regional Shared Services operations in several locations across the globe, along with policy and controls being developed and implemented in the United States, the company started struggling in maintaining consistency, and the need to simplify operations become apparent.  With Lean Six Sigma firmly entrenched in the day-to-day operations of the Financial Shared Services organization along with its overarching tenet of continuous business process improvement, this company used the following four-pronged BPM approach to implementing global process ownership:

  • Excursion Management
    • Track and resolve process deviations
    • Prevent reoccurrence
  • Change Management
    • System of record (SOR) for global process changes and improvements
    • Maintain standardization
  • Balanced Scorecard
    • Metric dashboard of key indicators
  • BPM Knowledge Management
    • Formal process documentation and training

Some of the major issues faced during the actual implementation of global process ownership included the following:

  • Perception of adding bureaucracy
  • Resourcing Global Process Owners
  • Maintaining the performance of GPOs
  • Fighting the “I am special, so global processes cannot apply to me” culture

While there were many lessons learned that were shared during the Peercast, one that stood out was that standardization has to be the over-arching goal, even if it means sacrificing some efficiencies in doing so.  While some cost or productivity savings may be achieved at a local level, those savings are often insignificant compared with the benefits of standardized processes on a global scale.

Looking at the results of two iPollingTM questions related to this PeercastTM, the first question dealt with what process areas typically found in Purchase-to-Pay organizations were utilizing the global/company-wide process owner structure.  The results are interesting, with 26% of the companies indicating that they have a global process owner for all the processes, with an additional 21% saying that they have two of the P2P processes under this type of structure.  Just 21% are not utilizing global process owners with at least one P2P process.

what process areas utilize a global process owner Controls with Business Process Management ipolling

The second polling question then addressed the primary benefits of using a global/company-wide process ownership structure within Purchase-to-Pay, with increased process standardization being the most popular response at 53%.  Highly aligned goals and objectives was the next most popular response at 20%, with more consistent policies and “Other” coming in with 13% each.  Certainly, most companies experience all these benefits to one degree or another when using the global/company-wide process ownership structure.

Some of the comments made by Peeriosity members related to this poll include the following:

Computers & Electronics Member: Procurement has a Global Sr. VP who sets strategy and objectives for the entire Procurement organization. Due to the wide variety of suppliers and spend categories, the divisional execution of the strategy may vary, but it is highly aligned. AP is still in the process of being moved from a decentralized model to Shared Services, so a global process owner has not been established. AP also reports through the CFO, whereas Procurement reports through the COO.

Non-Profit Member: I would have selected all of the benefits. It is difficult to name just a single ‘highest’ benefit.

Consumer Products & Services Member: Our Procure-to-Pay organization is split into two groups, where Procurement has Global Process Owners, and Accounts Payable/Expense Management (Corporate Card) has Global Process Owners. Both groups are part of our Center of Excellence organization.

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: By utilizing Global Process Owners, we have achieved multiple benefits in standardization, quality, policy compliance, etc.

How effective has been your roll-out of global/company-wide process ownership?  Would the use of Business Process Management aid in its implementation or refinement?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.

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