As Field Service Organizations Embrace Digitalization, COOs Evolve, Too

Becoming a change agent is key as we evolve into a new expansive, and effective business model. COOs for field service organizations are no exception. Through vision and technological advancements, COOs lead the field service industry toward digitalization that creates new and expansive opportunities.

In field service, stakeholders are now charged with incorporating technology into the hard drive of their business model. This dynamic and expansive model is creating new opportunities. In this context, COOs should keep digitalization strategies that work by aligning processes with company strategy. In addition, leaders face questions such as how to make the business model viable in the digital and how operations can grow with innovation and speed while meeting the new demands of the digital era. 

With the growth of digitalization leadership based on technological advances and new business models, COOs will increasingly assess the following five dimensions:

  • Operational vision
  • Connected assets and processes
  • Connected experiences
  • Intelligent decision making
  • The ability to create a new model, an environment where employees, through their talent and shared culture, promote shared business values and visions

The bottom line grows as change effectively embeds into the corporate marketplace of ideas, always improving customer deliverables and outcomes in the field and at the office. 

Operational vision’s responsibility for tech governance while maintaining standards is key to delivering and embracing digital solutions in the field service realm. Part of the transformative effect of technology for field service is the ability to enable higher levels of customer service based on the information and digitally accurate revenue opportunities. Therefore, COOs in field service needs to recognize that people’s role drives digital vision. 

COOs that empower their field service teams to deliver a digital vision need to understand the intricacies and gaps in the culture aiming to support digital transformation in the office and the field. They must work symbiotically to enhance customer service, revenue, and accounts paid, always looking toward fulfilling customer desires before using digital. Cultivating a great team ensures the culture is a thriving, growing, forward-looking entity where all stakeholders contribute to the greater vision of success.

IT and technology are part of this success that COOs need to find within their company culture. COOs must know if their organization has the right strategies and technologies at hand to grow their business. Strong business models have a forward-looking work culture that sees the advantages in the visions of the digital realm. Making sure to budget appropriately for digitalization is key to staying current in the field and developing accounts, as well as customer service and in-house corporate culture. Improving technological systems keeps corporate culture vital and alive, lending itself to new ideas and growth and attracting new talent. 

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), there are three broad categories of COOs: Functional COO (“King of Execution”), Strategic COO (“The Advocate”), and Transformational COO (“Transformation Enabler”).

The Functional COO tends to have “keeping the lights on” as their primary goal and operations “as is.” On the other hand, the Strategic COO tries to transform the business into becoming more relevant and agile with a focus on business excellence. Then there is the Transformational COO, whose goal is business innovation and transformation, which enables new business models and an external customer focus in strategic business decisions. 

According to the IDC, organizations that can mature digitally and transform culture to be digitally agile and forward-facing will score higher in digital transformation. This scenario highlights living fully in today’s digital and global economy, where field service can be competitive and drive a new culture of greater customer service and business strategies and opportunities. 

Innovation is key, and COOs in field service needs to be a change agent, a catalyst who understands best practices and can act as a change maker in the field, ready to evangelize where required.  In addition, they must communicate regularly with the board and other industries to understand and implement best practices. 


Lorenzo Veronesi, Maggie Slowik, Marta Florentini, The COO Scorecard for Digital Transformation, IDC.