Global Process Owners - Everything you Need to Know

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Sarah Fane
Dec 3, 2023
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What is a Global Process Owner (GPO)?

A Process Owner has control and ownership of the end-to-end process, to the extent that changes to the established process cannot be made without the Process Owner’s permission.

A Global Process Owner (GPO) is responsible for the design and implementation of end-to-end business processes globally to help a company achieve and exceed its performance targets. The GPO collaborates closely with various stakeholders to ensure successful deployment, identify key issues, and strategize process improvements.

While the definition of "end-to-end" can vary by company, it typically encompasses a cross-functional scope, involving multiple departments like purchasing and finance. GPOs may operate within a single function but often work alongside a team of GPOs from other functions to maintain a cross-functional remit. In finance, common roles include Procure-to-Pay, Order-to-Cash, and Record-to-Report Process Owners.

Responsibilities of a GPO

  1. Process Design and Improvement: GPOs are tasked with mapping processes, defining requirements, identifying areas for improvement, implementing changes, and monitoring outcomes.
  2. Change Management: Effective communication and training are essential for process adoption. GPOs engage with stakeholders at all levels to ensure successful implementation and buy-in from senior management.
  3. Monitoring Compliance: GPOs track adherence to processes across the organization, focusing on compliance rather than daily operational management.

Indicators of Success for a GPO

A successful GPO ensures that processes are usable, followed, and as automated as possible, contributing to company savings and strategic objectives. Key success indicators include:

  • Establishment of a governance framework
  • Setting a baseline for measuring improvements
  • Creating lean, efficient, and cost-effective processes
  • Being recognized as the go-to expert for process-related matters
  • Building standardized processes that provide competitive advantages
  • Ensuring compliance with processes
  • Maintaining top-quartile performance metrics
  • Balancing standardization with necessary flexibility

Impact on the Business

The GPO’s work positively affects the business by simplifying and streamlining processes, leading to cost reductions and improved efficiency. Their efforts result in:

  • Financial Impact: Reducing costs by enabling efficiencies and minimizing waste.
  • Visibility Impact: Standardizing and owning processes to ensure data accuracy and accessibility, which supports agile decision-making.
  • Organizational Efficiency: Enhancing collaboration and innovation through process improvements.

Authority of a GPO

To be effective, a GPO must have real authority and the explicit support of senior executives. They may sit on governance or change boards that approve process changes and often need to secure funding for their initiatives. A network of change ambassadors across the organization can support the GPO’s efforts.

Characteristics and Skills of a GPO

Successful GPOs possess a blend of skills and traits, including:

  • Change Management: Managing organizational change smoothly and effectively.
  • Communication Skills: Clearly communicating changes to secure stakeholder buy-in.
  • Connections with Key Influencers: Building alliances with stakeholders and understanding their needs.
  • Process Knowledge and Expertise: Understanding and mapping processes and making informed decisions.
  • Business Acumen: Appreciating the broader impact of process changes on the business.
  • Project Management: Managing multiple workstreams to drive improvements.
  • People Management: Nurturing relationships with stakeholders, peers, and partners.
  • IT Skills: Awareness of technology solutions for process concerns.
  • Sales Skills: Securing buy-in for process changes by effectively "selling" the vision to stakeholders.

Recruiting a GPO

When recruiting a GPO, look for candidates experienced in communicating with senior executives, understanding human behavior, and possessing strong process awareness. They should be able to manage budgets, technology investments, and drive change tactfully while maintaining authority.


The GPO role is increasingly adopted by enterprises focused on continuous improvement. Success depends on clear role definitions, stakeholder alignment, and strategic integration of the GPO into the organization’s processes and goals. With the right support and authority, a GPO can significantly enhance business performance and efficiency.

Read more: Intercompany Process Ownership


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