Ohio's Innovative Business Community

Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - 01:00

The Editor interviews Allan McLaughlin, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, LexisNexis.

Editor: Last fall LexisNexis received the prestigious Edison Award given by Governor Bob Taft for global leadership fostering innovation. Congratulations, Allan. Please tell our readers about LexisNexis' commitment to technology solutions that benefit its operations and the legal community.

McLaughlin:
LexisNexis was honored for a combination of lifetime achievement and investment in the future. From zero revenues as a start-up high-tech company 31 years ago, LexisNexis today has revenues over $2 billion annually. Now doing business in 100 countries with 14,000 employees worldwide, LexisNexis plays a major role in making comprehensiveandauthoritativelegal,newsandbusinessinformationavailable worldwide. Our commitment to innovation has enabled us to expand an architecture designed 31 years ago to run about 1,000 transactions a month to now run more than 70 million transactions a month.

Editor: The technology platform that hosts LexisNexis' worldwide products is operated in Dayton, and the company is building a new research, development and computing center in nearby Springfield. Why is Ohio attractive to technology companies?

McLaughlin:
Many different industries in Ohio leverage technology. Several factors make Ohio attractive to them, including a technically adept labor force and outstanding transportation systems. Not only do our highways and rail systems make it easy to travel within Ohio, but also the international airports in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus make it easy to get in and out of the state quickly. Another big plus is our Midwest culture, which is conducive for maintaining a balance between work and family life. A number of our employees, who transferred to the East or West Coast ten or so years ago, are now coming back to Ohio.

Editor: What issues related to Ohio's technology infrastructure need greater attention today?

McLaughlin:
Often consortiums, government agencies and other organizations that look to encourage technology development use outmoded models based on headcount and capital, rather than considering intellectual property assets. How do you measure the economic value of a great idea? How do you leverage it? How do you promote it worldwide? These are the types of questions that need to be grappled with when an entrepreneur seeks funding for a new high-tech business.

Editor: What do you see on the horizon for collaboration among the industry, higher education and government in Ohio to further the advancement of technology and economic development?

McLaughlin:
I am very excited to be involved with the Wright Center of Innovation. It took everyone from education, government and industry to make the center work. The focus is on research, not just for research's sake, but also to produce results that can be commercially successful. The Center is a seedbed for others to come learn how to make things work and replicate the model for other research.