Restructuring IT for Global Results

How three CIOs are redesigning their teams to grow with their companies

Michael Del Priore, Church & Dwight

Of the many lessons from my previous experience leading global restructuring that I am applying now, the most important is: don't move faster than the organization can.

When I came to Church & Dwight in August 2009, I found myself with an IT group that was functioning without a strategy or plan. To create a global structure and operating model, I had to move in a way that would mature the organization, and not risk rejection by imposing changes in attitudes, processes and services internally and externally all at once. My senior team and I defined a new model for how IT will engage with our users and customers. One key principle is to separate the support functions from the strategic ones. That is an end-state goal for our three-year plan; as long as they are blended, execution will overwhelm strategy. Including my entire team on fleshing this out was necessary to get them to think in an enterprise manner. After socializing it with key executives, I held an IT town hall to lay out the new environment, specific near-term goals and the steps to transition.

Following through on those goals has been critical to gaining buy-in. We reached our first milestones at the beginning of April, when we restructured into the global model, outsourced our application maintenance and kicked off a global SAP implementation. Because we had been preparing for the transition for months, the day it took place was almost a nonevent.

Paul Martin, Rexam

We have been talking about moving Rexam away from being a decentralized IT environment with function-oriented IT organizations for several years now. We did tackle the back office, bringing together data centers and networks, but the front office was another matter. Touching the lifeblood of the business set a lot of people on edge. But with new company leadership and the changing economic environment came an objective to align business and IT into one common approach, leveraging best practices and the resulting efficiencies.

This approach will enable IT to be a shared service center, instead of embedded in each division as a separate function. Our goal is to become an internal service organization-like an IT vendor inside Rexam. And the key has been to address the concerns of the autonomous business units from a single perspective. We developed a governance model to ensure every immediate need and long-term desire is prioritized across the organization. We then demonstrated it, showing each business unit leader what that decision process looks like, how the prioritization is built, and how we determine the resources for each project. Now that we have that process and they understand it, acceptance is growing.

Dave Patzwald, Schneider Electric

Having grown primarily through acquisitions, we were not responding to the marketplace as one solutions provider and ownership of IT was scattered across our structure. We have now embraced a three-year, top-down strategy to become One Schneider. Our new global CIO owns this initiative, reporting directly to the CEO. We're starting with IT, pulling everything into one group, called the Information Processes Organization. There are no regional or business CIOs-instead, we have created three new global relationship teams: business services, end-user services and integration services.

Under this plan, I went from being a regional CIO with 140 direct reports, to being senior VP of the integration services team with only four direct reports. It was a drastic change to not only move to such a narrow focus, but to map my former team into new boxes. I quickly realized that as hard as it was to give up my talented staff, I had to in order to benefit everyone. I spent most of the last year acting as both advocate and adviser for them.

Now I am in charge of bringing other former empires into the new structure. It's a significant change-management challenge, scary for leaders and staff alike, but my experience helps me overcome their resistance. I know what they are going through. I can also point to others who have embraced the new structure, and who not only survived but flourished.

The CIO Executive Council is a global peer advisory service and professional association of more than 500 CIOs, founded by CIO's publisher. To learn more, visit council.cio.com.

Read more about change management in CIO's Change Management Drilldown.

This story, "Restructuring IT for Global Results" was originally published by CIO.

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