It seems like a lifetime ago, but it was only last month at Field Service Medical when I had the opportunity to speak with service leaders at medical device and life sciences companies (see recap). My presentation to those service leaders, those Chief Service Officers (CSO), was that their roles were even more vital today given the connection with the customer, the relationship with the asset, and the ownership of the value discussion around the asset. Service’s involvement was essential in determining the success of digital transformations and those transformation initiatives that didn’t involve the CSO were destined to fail.

The title of the Chief Service Officer has yet to catch on. That said, the members of the Global Customer Transformation (GCT) team at ServiceMax have continued to build and nurture a community of service leaders under the CSO brand. For the previous 5 years, we’ve been hosting CSO Summit roundtables during ServiceMax’s annual Maximize customer conferences. These roundtables have featured service leaders from organizations across various industries and geographies debating and discussing the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities. With some topics, the debate gets heated, especially when discussing the future human vs. automation role in field service management. In most areas, service leaders are extremely collaborative in sharing ideas and best practices to drive their businesses and the industry forward.

Not all service leaders are able to make our CSO Summits. And we aren’t able to share all of the discussions that take place in these closed-door sessions as we operate under guidance of Chatham House Rules. Yet, we feel it is our responsibility to summarize some of the key learnings and takeaways from these C-level events.

To that end, we’ve just released our 2nd annual Chief Service Officer Report. The report represents a comprehensive brain dump from the GCT team based on some of the C-level conversations that we’ve had, either at our Maximize events or during ongoing engagements with clients and prospects. The report is broken into 3 primary chapters, highlighting geography-specific findings across North America, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific. The fourth and final chapter covers key recommendations that are applicable to CSOs across the globe as they look to transform their service organizations.

For those keeping track, 2019 saw the launch of our first-ever CSO Report. Based on the reception to this report and on continued guidance from our panel of CSOs, we have dug deeper into pertinent issues in the 2020 version. Some of the observations between 2019 and 2020 versions:

Continued Focus – Areas where CSOs continue to build on the themes of 2019

  • Customer feedback capture and value discovery
  • Talent management and evaluation of new sources of talent
  • Development and communication of the service business case within the organization
  • Development of the infrastructure to support a commercial service business

Increased Focus – Areas where CSOs are increasing their focus in 2020

  • Learning and knowledge management for workforce sustainability
  • Consistency of service offerings, outcomes, and processes globally
  • Metric development and alignment with an expanded service vision
  • Service coverage expansion with the aid of existing technology
  • Increased capture and coverage of the installed base

New Focus – Areas where CSOs are driving new investment in 2020

  • Development of a common service language to establish a foundation of service performance
  • Integration of emerging technology into service offering portfolio
  • Determination of service resource and skill needs based on installed base mix
  • Rationalization of existing service portfolio to uncover opportunities for standardization and fee growth

It would be incomplete to comment on the state of service management in 2020 without referring to the disruption being created by the recent COVID-19 crisis. To address that, our team has also included a special insert that outlines 5 primary areas that service leaders should focus on as they navigate these uncertain times.

As said best by one of our participating CSOs,

“The best advice is to open up opportunities for collaboration and communication. Knowing a little more about your customer or employee can have such a significant impact on the health of your relationship. The best leaders will be those that display empathy.”

If interested in accessing a copy of the 2020 CSO Report, click here. To join in and participate in the CSO Community, I encourage you to reach out to me at or find me on LinkedIn.

Watch Our ServiceMax Live Episode on the 2020 CSO Report:

ABOUT Sumair Dutta

Sumair DuttaSumair Dutta is the director of digital transformation at ServiceMax. In his role, he works closely with ServiceMax customers to maximize the results from their business and digital transformation journeys. He works closely with leaders of service businesses to define and shape their service vision while working hand in hand with implementation teams to execute on established service plans. Sumair is a thought leader in the field service and service management spaces and has conducted numerous research projects in the areas of field service, customer support and business strategy. He brings more than 15 years of experience in studying, analyzing and guiding field service organizations, first at the Aberdeen Group and most recently as the chief customer officer at The Service Council.

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