Malcolm Jackson, CIO of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a drilling engineer by training, and he's tech-savvy -- he worked as a mainframe programmer when he started his career in the 1980s. But he also has a background in marketing, which is especially helpful at the EPA.
Jackson is moving the agency in several new directions, including shared services. "We have an opportunity here to build once and share it many times," he says. The initiative includes a recent effort to establish an enterprisewide geospatial platform and a common repository for data, maps and services. A similar effort is under way for e-discovery. Also on the list of IT projects are a move to cloud platforms and an effort to enable mobility.
In particular, selling shared services can be difficult, but Jackson says his team is working to determine how much customization is possible for each program. "You can build a great solution, but if you don't know how to sell it or market it, it will die on the drawing board," he says. "I'm all about selling and marketing, and I tell my team this."
Barbara Bennett, the EPA's chief financial officer, says she enjoys working with Jackson because of his "very pragmatic approach [of] aligning IT with business priorities, agency priorities."
"I think it's so important for CFOs and CIOs to work together because they both bring perspectives that are trying to move the business forward," says Bennett. "We have that strong partnership."