The rise and importance of Global Process Owners

What is a GPO?

We’ve been seeing more and more GPOs pop up on our radar lately here at i2B.  But, we explore, is it just the latest ‘must have’ job title, or are GPOs a force to be reckoned with?  

For those of you wondering what on earth a GPO is or you’ve not looked on LinkedIn lately! – our latest blog sheds light on the difference they are making in businesses around the globe.

GPO stands for Global Process Owner, which is a role in business that has seen a huge rise in popularity recently thanks to the huge benefits it can have for the Purchase to Pay process (and others) in large companies.

The idea of a GPO model is that there is one ‘owner’ who is accountable and responsible for an end-to-end process like P2P, and despite this approach being fairly new, it’s catching on fast amongst multinational corporations.

There are estimates of there now being around 4000 companies globally using an established GPO framework, a huge increase compared to the estimate of just 1000 in 2013.

The key to a successful GPO is their ability to focus on the bigger picture and a strategic approach to end-to-end processes, rather than getting caught up in day to day activity. It’s a role that requires a lot of experience, the confidence to bring about big changes in a business, and a great deal of expertise when it comes to the individual business and processes within it.

What benefits can a GPO provide?

The biggest advantage of the GPO model is the fact that having one person responsible for an entire process helps bring a more global view of the business as a whole, as opposed to just a narrow departmental view.  This then brings everything together, shows the bigger picture and allows the company to improve faster and more effectively.  

Because a GPO can see everything from an overall perspective, they’re also better equipped to align an organisation towards a common goal and establish best practises across the company to ultimately improve the process they’re required to oversee – and, they have the ability to align key stakeholders throughout the organisation too.

Being able to see the bigger picture also makes it easier for GPOs to identify positive changes and new measures than it would be for heads of individual departments, and they can then roll out this change to the whole organisation.

Having just one person accountable for a process and making that process the most effective, it can mean a better chance of improvement overall, leading to better business practices and better services for customers too, which can only help to boost your brand.

How can GPOs affect P2P?

Purchase to Pay processes have a lot of moving parts, and a lot of elements that can impact the result overall – from suppliers, to finance, to admin, there’s so many departments involved that having people to oversee each one of them (rather than the overall process) can lead to fragmentation, lack of collaboration between each department and poor visibility of where things can be improved.

This makes P2P the ideal arena for a GPO to take ownership, identify opportunities for change and drive to make those changes happen throughout the organisation.

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