Greg Jackson, Ohio's de facto CIO since 2000, now has that title officially. Gov. Bob Taft, in an executive order, created the cabinet-level post of state CIO, and named Jackson to oversee the new Office of Information Technology. Jackson had been head of state IT as assistant director of the Department of Administrative Services.
Despite his new cabinet-level standing, the office Jackson heads will remain within the Department of Administrative Services and not as a separate cabinet agency.
Jackson is credited with driving efficiencies--and saving taxpayers money--by consolidating IT. Through his efforts, Ohio saved $12 million in Microsoft licensing fees by buying the software centrally. "I've made the case that when we do things enterprisewide, we can save more money than when we do it individually," Jackson said.
Still, in an interview last year, Jackson conceded such interagency cooperation doesn't come easily. The state recently implemented a $1.2 million Web-based eLicense Multi-Board licensing system from Cavu Corp. so 22 state boards that issue licenses can use one system. It replaced commercial and homegrown systems that can require integrating upward of 40 databases per board. But the state's Education Department wanted to upgrade its existing teachers' licensing system, Jackson said, because agency officials consider their situation unique. "What they budgeted for the system and the proposals that are coming back will make them realize they can't afford it," he said.
Taft, in a statement announcing Jackson's promotion, said the state always looks for ways to increase efficiencies in spending and improvement in delivering services. He specifically pointed to Ohio Business Gateway, a multi-agency program letting businesses report and pay state taxes on the Web. "The success of the Ohio Business Gateway has shown us what can be achieved when agencies pool their resources and focus on customers," he said. "We want to replicate that success throughout state government."