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The Transformational Role of the COO

As one of the most important roles within a firm, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) is responsible for managing the company’s operations and overseeing the day-to-day business. However, this position is evolving, encompassing not only these operational aspects but further managing complex strategy and new technology as well. Companies are understanding that the management of an experienced and efficient COO is crucial to the operation and growth of their business, but this is proving increasingly difficult with the fact that these roles are changing with the propensity of the post-pandemic world.

Digital Transformation

Over the past twenty years, cutting-edge digital and technological innovations have completely changed the face of business, rendering it almost unrecognisable. A modern COO must be able to predict how they can keep their companies on the cusp of this innovation, balancing customer satisfaction with technological advances in order to maintain operational standards. However, many COOs are finding this process difficult, with the constantly shifting nature of the business world making it harder than anticipated to administer these new protocols.

Companies that prioritise modernisation and transformation are typically leaders of their field, whilst companies that rely on the change of their competitors only endanger themselves. A qualified modern COO will need to familiarise themselves with new technologies that can revitalise the operations of their business, thus changing the way they operate. By being at the forefront of both business strategy and business transformation, the COO is responsible for the growth in business aided by these modernisation techniques.

Changing Long-Term Strategy

With an exceptionally high level of exposure and liability within the business, the COO must ensure that their technical expertise is maintained throughout every aspect of their work profile, including within reporting structures. Nowadays, business expertise and networking skills are not sufficient to survive in the cut-throat corporate world, with the COO required to utilise their extensive leadership skills to establish failsafe technological protocols, and balance compliance and risk to ensure the safety of their organisation.

Furthermore, alongside their primary responsibilities of operational management and efficiency, a modern COO must be conscious of the impact of new technologies on their business. With many COOs facing barriers when attempting to introduce the right technology in order to advance their business, organisations must learn to adjust to the dynamic and transitional world of business. This can be achieved through developing, testing, and altering their business models.

The modern COO should take advantage of the opportunity to look beyond their core duties and help the business vision of the organisation develop. In some cases, this can be achieved by balancing the role of the COO with the Chief Technology and Chief Strategy Officer. This is due to the ever-increasing size and complexity of companies, as it is becoming more and more difficult for a single person to have complete oversight over the entire organisation.

Looking Forward

A capable and qualified COO will look towards strengthening the proficiencies of their business over a wide range of areas, both technological and traditional. Insightful, enterprising COOs are an asset to their respective organisations, bringing not only an awareness of the operational management of a company, but also how these operations could potentially affect or impact future clients and partners. By changing their focus to strategy and technological innovations, COOs can enact real change within their organisations, driving themselves forward beyond their initial business models. In this time of unprecedented change and opportunity, the role of the COO must evolve to meet this new era and help their companies navigate the complexities of change and growth.

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