CIO Values: Mike Jackson, VP and CIO, Rockwell Automation

Build strong relationships with business leaders and diversify your IT experience with stints in sales, finance, and logisitcs, this CIO advises.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

November 30, 2007

3 Min Read

Career Track

Mike JacksonVP and CIO Rockwell Automation

How long at current company: 4 years

Career accomplishment you're most proud of: Two specific accomplishments come to mind. The first was moving DuPont's information systems and processes in Asia Pacific from a country-based approach to a regional- and global-based approach in the late '80s and early '90s. This unleashed a lot of growth. The second is helping Rockwell Automation realize what a great, globally integrated company it could be and how that would benefit our customers.

Most important career influencer: I respect people who are sensitive to others and can connect on an individual level, and people who stand on principle and do what's right.

Decision I wish I could change: I wish I had taken more opportunities to step out of IT into either sales or general management. IT touches everything-- finance, logistics, sales, etc.--and I would have liked to have immersed myself into one or more of these to diversify my experience.

On The Job

IT budget: $150 million

Size of IT team: 600

Three top initiatives for current year:

  • Global Process Trans- formation--in 2004, Rockwell Automation set out to replace many different business processes and ERP systems with a single set of global processes and one enterprise-wide solution. We are into the third year of a five-year roll out plan.

  • A real-time manufacturing IT strategy--synchronizing plant operations with enterprise business and supply chain systems globally is a tall order, but establishing visibility and process control across our extended supply chain is a fundamental aspect of remaining competitive as a global electronics manufacturer.

  • Supporting the rapid growth and globalization of our business.


What's the next big thing for my industry? The convergence of manufacturing and IT is a hot topic right now and will be for some time.

Best piece of advice for future CIOs: You have to relate well to a broad group of technologists in your organization and among your vendors, while at the same time have rock-solid relationships with the key business leaders in your company. If you do that well, it's quite natural to become the bridge between the two, translating the most important business needs to those who can apply technology to meet them.


Colleges/degrees: Vanderbilt University, bachelor's degree in business administration and economics

Best book read recently: I just finished a book on IT auditing. Very interesting to see IT from another perspective.

Favorite leisure activities: I'm an avid--not good--golfer

If I weren't a CIO I would be ... an outfielder for the Boston Red Sox.

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