On November 13, 2012, Michael Del Priori of Church and Dwight Co. addressed a session of the Chief Information Officer Leadership Forum in New York on the subject of completely transforming a company’s IT strategy. Del Priore began by offering an overview of his firm, Church and Dwight Co. and its strategy and organization before a recent IT overhaul. Church and Dwight is a consumer products company that owns such brands as Arm & Hammer, Trojan, Oxy-Clean, and Xtra laundry detergent, among others. Recently, the company undertook a huge project of IT transformation, which he said included an intense look at the overall structure of the company: “I believe transformation is very broad and has a number of dimensions to it. For the various elements, it’s not about reorganization, and it’s not about a major program to replace applications. It’s much more multi-faceted than that. There’s the operating model and organization structure, the sourcing strategy, customer engagement and governance, processes and tools, and then the applications and infrastructure.” One of the first and largest changes that came about at Church and Dwight during this reorganizational period was that their decentralized IT organization became a global IT organization. They pulled the international staff into a globally organized system.
Another huge change that occurred was that the firm rethought how it segregated its functions. Specifically, they separated strategy form execution, which he claimed had an incredible effect on the general culture of the company. When he first arrived at Church & Dwight, he said, strategy constantly took a backseat to execution in a firm that placed more value on action than planning. Separating the two functions from one another gave the company a chance to truly focus on strategic business planning for the first time. Similarly, they decided to separate delivery from support, creating an expansive support system that allowed each of those functions to perform at optimal levels. To the same end, the firm also added many new roles to their organization. These included IT account managers across the globe, each of whom fit specifically into the reorganized company. These hires added to an overall headcount increase of 15%.
“As we came out of the major transformation programs and the organization settled down we spent a lot of time this past year on an initiative we call role clarity to allow people to really work through and understand their roles, how they work together, how they work with the customers and across the different functions in the organization,” said Del Priore, reiterating the importance of patience and taking the time to learn one’s new role.