When Greg Jackson became Ohios CIO in January 2000, he brought with him experience playing both sides of the field - public and private. His tenure as a consultant at IBM gave him insight into the corporate realm. Prior to that, his five-year stint as IT manager/deputy company tax commissioner at the Ohio Department of Taxation taught him the ropes of government. Today he sits at the head of the states Department of Administrative Services Computer Services Division.
What is the biggest difference between working in the public sector and working in the private sector?
The work in the public sector has a significant impact on individual lives and the quality of life that youre serving. Theres a higher level of expectations and scrutiny so you have to get accustomed to that.
What can the two sectors learn from each other?
One of the things we can learn from the private sector is that, although we are not profit-and-loss driven, we have to have a profit-and-loss mentality when it comes to expenditures and fiscal management. We cant work under the assumption the funds will always be there.
Sometimes theres not the tendency to do as much due diligence in the private sector because of the risks theyre willing to take. They can learn from the public sector how to manage risk a little better.
What unique projects are you working on in Ohio?
ECom-Ohio is a public/private partnership to test Ohios readiness for electronic commerce statewide. The state is a partner in that with the Ohio Supercomputer Center and a number of large corporations headquartered in Ohio. Were doing a statewide assessment to identify gaps in infrastructure, knowledge, use of technology and the Web site.
How has Census 2000 affected your job?
Its helped us focus on the economic-development issues. Were losing population. The population that has stayed in the state is aging. And apparently the surrounding states such as Michigan and Indiana [are increasing] in population. It presents an economic-development challenge for us to retain and attract individuals as well as businesses, so were trying to make sure that some of our key initiatives are focused on economic-development.
Where do you see the biggest challenges for state government and how do you plan to deal with them?
Our biggest challenge is transitioning from traditional service-delivery channels to digital service-delivery channels, using technology to deliver government services. At the same time, what makes us different from the private sector is that we cant abandon traditional service-delivery channels because we cant choose our customers. In the private sector, you can say, "If you want to buy from us, this is the only way youre going to be able to."