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Forum on World Class IT - 329 Interviews and Podcasts

Welcome to the Forum on World Class IT podcast series, a collection of exclusive interviews with Chief Information Officers and other IT industry thought leaders. Learn from the experts on how best to establish a truly World Class IT organization.

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January 22, 2018: Diane Schwarz, VP and Chief Information Officer of Textron Inc.

Among other topics, Diane discussed the following issues with Metis Strategy:

  • How IT is structured within Textron, and how dual reporting structures are used to enable business-unit IT and enterprise-level IT effectively collaborate
  • The criteria that business units use to find a balance between shared services and specialized solutions
  • How Diane’s strategic plan – which focuses on (1) advancing the business, (2) making IT easy, (3) protecting the enterprise, and (4) succeeding with talent – keeps the business units moving in a coordinating direction while allowing variability for specific strategies
  • How Diane uses ideation events and hackathons to drive innovation across the business and provide the environment for employees to grow outside of their comfort zone
  • How IT is made easy by emphasizing communication and maintaining comprehensive knowledge bases on IT tools
  • Diane’s career progression, and why she advises aspiring CIOs to gain experience both inside and outside of IT
  • Eye on the trends: the diffusion of technology through all business functions, and machine learning and artificial intelligence

Diane is Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Textron Inc., a $13.8 billion aerospace, defense, and industrial conglomerate that owns well-known brands such as Bell Helicopter and Cessna. Diane has been CIO for nearly five years and is responsible for managing the business unit CIOs and directing the day-to-day activities of Textron Information Services (TIS), including TIS executive staff. Diane oversees Textron’s Information Management Council and manages Textron’s information technology supplier and outsourcing relationships.

Prior to becoming CIO of Textron Inc., Diane was VP and CIO of Textron Systems, one of Textron Inc’s many business units. Diane joined Textron in 2007 as the Director of IT Services and Support for Bell Helicopter. During her five years at Bell Helicopter, Diane expanded her focus into areas encompassing business application technologies and special projects focused on modernizing technology systems. Prior to joining Textron, Diane was VP of Information Services at Sonitrol. Prior to Sonitrol, Diane was SAP Program Manager for Honeywell Defense & Space. Before Honeywell, Diane spent five years as CIO of Ultrak. Earlier in her career, Diane was a manager at Ernst & Young.

Diane received a Bachelors of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

 

The World Class IT principles in yellow were the focus of this interview