Dawn Scalici joined global media and information services company Thomson Reuters in July 2015 as its first global government business director after a three-decade career in the U.S. intelligence community that included roles at the CIA, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Department of Homeland Security.
At Thomson Reuters, she oversees efforts to build relationships with government agencies and help them apply the company’s data products and services into their enterprises.
Scalici recently spoke to ExecutiveBiz for an in-depth conversation that started with an overview of opportunities Thomson Reuters sees in the government sector and ways to carry the company’s long-standing identity to agencies, along with a forecast of public sector data trends to watch in 2017.
ExecutiveBiz: How does Thomson Reuters apply its brand recognition from the commercial world into the government market?
Dawn Scalici: We see it as moving from strength to strength. The data, technology solutions, and human expertise we apply in the commercial world are also quite applicable in the government space. It is also an area where we have a good foothold upon which to build, especially with regard to the application of our public records information and legal solutions.
There are a host of other Thomson Reuters data sets and technology solutions we can offer to help government agencies meet mission. One of them is our Eikon solution that delivers global economic and financial data, which is valuable for tracking economic trend lines within and across countries and regions.
Another is World-Check, which is already used by leading banks and financial institutions to provide data on individuals, businesses and other entities that could pose a risk to their business. That detailed information could be a great supplement to the government to help identify risks that may be hiding in human and business relationships.
Analytic services is another area of increased focus. In my work with the government, I had many contractors who worked for me over the years, but for the most part they operated much like my government staff. They had access to similar information and they provided similar types of products. Our wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary Thomson Reuters Special Services follows a different, more powerful model.
TRSS provides government customers with subject matter experts who can also bring to bear the entire portfolio of Thomson Reuters’ global content and technology solutions in context with client needs.
Overall, I'm excited about the potential for Thomson Reuters to more broadly assist a range of government agencies to meet mission, including through partnerships with other companies that have a good foothold in the government space and where we may have complementary capabilities.
ExecutiveBiz: What led you to join the company after government service?
Dawn Scalici: In coming to Thomson Reuters, I had the opportunity to establish from scratch a new role as the company's first government global business director. I saw some similarities with the way I operated in the intelligence community, where I worked to help align and optimize the work of all IC agencies to address hard challenges.
With Thomson Reuters I now have the opportunity to work across all of its business lines to find new ways to meet the needs of government. I feel like I am still supporting mission, but in a different way. When I joined the company, it gave me an opportunity to work again with some of my former colleagues from government who have made a similar transition from government service to Thomson Reuters.
I certainly knew that they had a continuing commitment to serve the mission, but I have found that my new colleagues, whether they have worked for the government in the past or not, are all passionate about meeting the needs of our government customers.
Coming to the private sector has been an eye opener for me because I am now exposed to a wealth of data and technology solutions that I wish my analysts earlier had access to. I feel like I am a crusader of sorts to try to highlight and shine a light on its value to support government analysis and decision-making.
ExecutiveBiz: Which data-related demands from agencies are you hearing the most?
Dawn Scalici: A recurring theme is how agencies can make sense of the vast amount of information and data that they have access to, whether it is through entity resolution or the application of analytic and visualization tools.
All of them have a driving imperative to better understand what trend lines may be in play and what threat information may be out there that has not been identified to date.
Having access to a vast array of information certainly can be empowering, but it also carries with it a sobering responsibility to know what you have and that you can take appropriate action based on that information.
At Thomson Reuters, we have branded ourselves “The Answer Company,“ and I think that applies quite well in the government space. We bring together our data, technology solutions and expertise to deliver answers or, at the very least, to help agencies greatly narrow down the universe of data they need to focus on to support their decision-making.
ExecutiveBiz: Where can commercial industry collaborate closer with agencies on the adoption of data-related technologies?
Dawn Scalici: Government agencies in general increasingly need better data strategies and data strategists to help them optimize their application of existing internal data, and identify and bring to bear external data to support mission objectives in a cost-effective way. This is an area where commercial industry can provide support.
At Thomson Reuters — and this applies to many other companies as well–we certainly understand that one size doesn't fit all in meeting the needs of government, especially when it comes to delivering new technology solutions. We work very carefully with our government customers to make sure that we can meet their privacy and security rules.
This is an area where we have a great deal of experience because much of the data we deliver, such as public records information, is sensitive and must be handled with care and in accordance with law and policy.
ExecutiveBiz: What trend do you plan to observe closely in 2017?
Dawn Scalici: We will be tracking closely on the priorities of the new administration to help inform our outreach to government customers.
More specifically, one area of interest for us is the rising need for data analytics to support law enforcement and homeland security agencies. Another is government application of social media for vetting and evaluation. And third is the application of the blockchain for financial and identity transactions, which has impact on our work with regard to both government and industry customers.