The CIO and Information Services (IS) executive team of a $40 billion Fortune 500 global food manufacturing company worked with Gap International to produce breakthroughs in organizational efficiency, technological innovation and cost savings.
The company was saddled with archaic business systems, being among the last in its industry to modernize its infrastructure. The CIO was committed that the IS organization would lead the company into the future, while managing and responding to employees’ ongoing IS needs.
Simultaneously, there were a number of major projects taking place, including an SAP implementation, the outsourcing of several core IT functions, and a split from the parent company, all of which had to be “unquestionably successful.” These challenges required the executive team to be highly aligned in the delivery and execution of a comprehensive approach to leading change.
The CIO and the executive team articulated an overarching commitment to be extraordinary leaders who have a major impact on the overall performance of the business, which would require a fundamental shift in the mindset of the IS organization. Gap International partnered with the executive team to deliver that mindset shift, starting with establishing ambitious breakthrough objectives for all key projects and initiatives, including the implementation of new business systems and the outsourcing of major IT functions.
Gap International worked regularly with the executive team as a whole and with each individual executive to create the new mindset and behaviors that had them become essential business partners and leaders in the company. They developed their alignment and focus as a team and their commitment to each other’s success. They identified and took on the breakthroughs in thinking necessary to accomplish their key outcomes and deliverables. They learned to recognize and overcome some of the inherent limitations in their own and others’ thinking, and formed much more collaborative relationships with each other and their CIO.
As a result, they gained significantly greater influence in the business, helped each other make inroads where needed, and became interchangeable in representing IS around the globe. The results were noticeable.
The Mindset Shift
There were two notable mindset shifts in the organization. The first was a move from being “technologists” to being “leaders of the company”. In this shift, the IS team learned to transform the usual question, “What is right for IS?” into, “What is right for the company?” This shift resulted in a new level of clarity; unnecessary work stopped, and instead the team focused on more essential work which was aligned with both organizational and enterprise-wide strategic outcomes, resulting in greater efficiency, productivity and performance.
The second mindset shift occurred when the executives abandoned their “task completion” mindset of implementing technology and handling service requests, shifting to an outcome-focused mindset of delivering an extraordinary computing experience for people every single time. The CIO rallied the organization to focus on owning the user experience and making every decision on this basis. As a result, they are now seen as innovative owners and leaders of the business both inside and outside the company.
- An enterprise-wide SAP implementation that was in jeopardy of missing its target date was turned around in six months, allowing the new system to “go live” on time
- The SAP implementation was only over budget by 1.5% on a budget of $800 million—an almost unprecedented accomplishment for an Information Services implementation project of this size
- The outsourcing of hardware support functions involving 1,000 employees exceeded the cost-savings projections
- Initially tripling the cost-reduction initiative from $18 million to $50 million, the team then exceeded this target, ultimately delivering $50.3 million in cost savings by the end of the year