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Defining the Responsibilities of Global Process Owners (GPO)


The use of Global Process Owners is an organizational design that has been around for a number of years now and is widely accepted at most companies utilizing a Shared Services organizational structure.  While the concept of the Global Process Owner is to provide consistency and standardization in major process areas, such as Purchase-to-Pay and Hire-to-Retire, the manner in which this critical role can typically be defined is one of the following approaches:

Approach 1 – Strategic and Policy Focus Only: The Global Process Owner has little or no day-to-day operational responsibility for the performance of the process, but instead focuses solely on the overall strategy, design, policies, transformation, and standardization of the process area.

Approach 2 – Overall Operational Responsibility Combined with Strategic and Policy Focus: The Global Process Owner has overall day-to-day operational responsibility for the performance of the process, as well as responsibility for the overall strategy, design, policies, transformation, and standardization of the process area.

Both of these approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, including the issues of having both strategic and operational responsibility being too large of a workload for one person to carry out effectively and another around having a disconnect when one person is creating strategy and policy while another is dealing with the daily challenges of the operation.  This research paper looks at what major companies across the globe are doing in this important area of process design and ownership.

iPollingTM Results Review

A recent poll was created using the iPollingTM technology by the Director of Global Business Services at one of Peeriosity’s member companies that had to do with the responsibilities of Global Process Owners.  The first of two poll questions looked at how the Global Process Owner role is configured at the companies participating in the research.  For 50% of the companies, the GPO is just responsible for the strategic aspects of the process (process strategy, policy, design, transformation), while the day-to-day operations are managed elsewhere.  In 31% of the companies, the GPO is responsible for both the strategic and operational aspects of the process, while 15% of the companies do not utilize the Global Process Owner structure.

iPolling: Responsibilities of Global Process Owners

The second poll question then asked about the effectiveness of the current Global Process Owner configuration, with 80% indicating that it is either very effective (17%) or effective (63%).   An additional 13% were neutral and 7% indicated that the design was not effective.

iPolling: effectivity of GPO configuration

The following are some of the comments that Peeriosity members made in conjunction with this poll:

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: GPO was formally given operational responsibility in mid-2018.

Computers & Electronics Member: We have recently introduced GPOs for our Accounts Payable and OTC functions. This has had a positive impact in the short term.

Consumer Products & Services Member: I believe the separation of process ownership and service delivery enables the process owner to get more done, not being dragged into the day-to-day, while the presence of dotted lines keeps them close to the employee/vendor experience.

Computers & Electronics Member: The historic role of the GPO within Finance/Accounting tends to be more of a BPO (Business Process Owner) role vs. that of a GPO. Our company is revisiting this currently and will add some clarity between BPO vs. GPO roles which more than likely means we will have more BPOs and fewer GPOs than what we have today. The role of the new GPO will most likely be responsible for the strategic aspects of the process (articulating process strategy, setting policy, and designing and driving transformation).

Closing Summary

For most companies that utilize the GPO structure, having the operational responsibilities separate from the strategic and policy roles is their preferred approach.  However, regardless of whether your company has included the operational aspects of leading an end-to-end process area as part of the Global Process Owner role, as the research indicates above, the GPO structure has been adopted by the vast majority of companies and most are pleased with that decision. 

What is the status of your company with respect to the use of the Global Process Owner structure?  If you are using this structure, does your approach include the operational aspect of the process?

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


 “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 iPollingTM.

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