It looked like the Declaration of Independence. On a large poster board, with a backdrop design that would make the Founding Fathers proud, Carol Zierhoffer laid out 10 operating principles that would guide the massive transformation of ITT.
On February 27, 2009, at a top 50 IT Leadership offsite meeting in Southern California, Zierhoffer, ITT's global CIO, put her John Hancock on the board. The company's CEO, Steve Loranger, had just delivered an impassioned endorsement of Zierhoffer's plan and principles and told the rest of the executives gathered in the room that it was their decision whether to also sign the board, but they had to decide before they left that day. And they did.
At the time, ITT was a conglomerate with two major businesses: defense and aerospace, and highly engineered industrial products with a focus on water. Internally, those businesses were made up of smaller units called value centers. They were fiercely independent of each other—they had their own leadership, including divisional CIOs, and they didn't exactly play nice with some of the centralized functions, including IT.
That was about to change. Zierhoffer and her team had set out to unify business processes and systems and to drive shared services and best practices. They would bolster information security, enable global collaboration, optimize service delivery, and completely transform the enterprise resource planning system.
And they had made great progress ...