Ian Allison
Title: Professor
First Name: Ian
Surname: Allison
Position: Head of School of Computing
Telephone: 01224 262701

Key Duties and Responsibilities

Head of School of Computing, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, 2007-date.

Leadership of the School of Computing. The School was ranked as the best in a modern university for computing in The Times Good University Guide for both 2009 and 2010. Convene the Heads of School Forum.

Strategic IT role, acts on Steering Groups and Working Groups at University level, including ITEM and projects on web redevelopment and electronic document management.

Associate Dean of Faculty of Design and Technology, 2010-date.
Deputising for and supporting the Dean in strategic planning and on specific University level initiatives.

Director ScotlandIS, 2009-date
Elected as Non-Executive Director of ScotlandIS, the national trade body. Member of Board currently responsible for setting up an IT leadership forum and selected as a member of the Scottish ICT Advisory Group and co-leading an SIG on Technology-enhanced Sustainability.

e-placements Advisory Board member, 2010-date
Appointed on the Advisory Board to steer this new initiative in Scotland led by e-skills and ScotlandIS.

Academic Background / Research Interests / Professional Background

Expertise focuses on the management and deployment of information systems, drawing together engineering and organisational perspectives. Ten years experience of working in software development for global technology and financial organisations. Since becoming an academic this commercial perspective has been retained through undertaking consultancy, knowledge transfer and case study research.

Current work is in three areas of IS practice:

Software Process Improvement.

A number of commercial projects in this area have been completed. Current work is on developing frameworks to manage the SPI process, especially in small software organisations based on action research.

Business Information Systems

Experienced in applying Agile Systems Development Methods for developing enterprise level software and in single developer environments. This is based on a variety of case study sites related to local and supply chain production planning issues, the use of web services for CRM applications, and VR/gaming applications for health.

Information Systems Management

Commercial experience and teaching is in this area. Developed IS strategies, undertaken feasibility studies and developed information security policies and related practices in organisations.

Current Research Students

Nuka Nwiabu - Situationally-aware Decision Support Systems

Henrique Narciso - Change management for Software Process Improvement

Dahiru Abubakar - Cloud Computing in Sub-Saharan Africa


Professor Allison has won multiple knowledge transfer/research grants and consultancy primarily for commercial related projects worth £3.6m, often in collaboration with engineering and business colleagues

Current Project:
High-Value Cloud Services

Co-lead investigator on an SFC funded Horizon project entitled 'Creating High-value Cloud Services' along with Professor Ian Sommerville (St Andrews University). The goal of this project is to support companies in Scotland who are interested in taking advantage of the opportunities for market development offered by a move to cloud computing. The aim is to work with companies who currently sell high-value software products (typically software products in a specialised area, such as project or customer relationship management) and explore the practical technical and non-technical issues of adapting these products for cloud delivery. The results of these studies with industry will be widely disseminated to the Scottish SME community. For further details see

Previous Projects

Funded projects have been undertaken with the following organisations:

Gas Container Services: Teaching Company Scheme to develop a business information system for cylinder rental business using agile development methods

Experian: Software process improvement via action learning: understanding the organisational factors in SPI initiatives

ABC Awards: A Strategic Innovation Scheme for the design and development of a corporate awards management system and infrastructure using agile development methods

Skylight Media: A Strategic Innovation Scheme to design homogenous CRM web services for e-commerce applications

Clinphone: A Strategic Innovation Scheme to evaluate and enhance the requirements analysis process

Shawtrack: A Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme to analysis, design and develop an integrated systems to deliver the tools and procedures to improve the supply chain and production management.

Freshcut Foods: A Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme to analysis, design and develop an integrated systems to deliver the tools and procedures to: plan and control production, enhance customer service and improve production performance.

Codify: To develop, apply and evaluate an agile approach to implementing software process improvement based on the CMMI model for a small software organisation.

Additionally supervised numerous student projects with commercial partners involving areas such as ITIL, agile methods, and project, risk and metrics management.

Professional Body Membership

BCS - the Chartered Institute for IT
Fellow of the British Computer Society, Chartered IT Professional, Chartered Engineer

BCS Activity:

•    Member of the Committee for the British Computer Society Aberdeen branch

•    Member of the British Computer Society's (BCS) Academic Accreditation Committee 2006-date, including its "Type 2" working group.

•    BCS Examiner for Professional Issues 2000-date.

Additional Information

When not busy working Professor Allison enjoys a game of golf as a member of two local clubs, and hill walking - having walked Wainwright's Coast-to-Coast walk and now half-way to "bagging" the Munros.

Key Publications

Journal Articles

Senior, J. Allison, I, and Tepper, J (2007) Automated Software Quality Visualisation Using Fuzzy Logic Techniques, Communications of the IIMA, 7(1), 25-40, ISSN: 1543-5970

Allison, I and Merali, Y (2007) Software Process Improvement as Emergent Change: a Structurational Analysis, Information and Software Technology, 49(2), 668-681. ISSN: 0950-5849

Allison, I and Merali, Y (2006) Learning to Improve Software Processes: Making Sense of Practice, Communications of the IIMA, 6(1), 17-28. ISSN: 1543-5970

Allison, I (2005) Towards an agile approach to Software Process Improvement: addressing the changing needs of software products, Communications of the IIMA, 5(1), 67-76 ISSN: 1543-5970

Allison I. (2000) In at the Deep End: The introduction of student-led seminars in a computing curriculum, Journal of Excellence in College Teaching, 9(3), 33-46

Allison,I, (1999) Information Systems Professional Development: a work-based learning model, Journal of Continuing Professional Development,  2(3), 86-92

Allison, I. (1996) Executive Information Systems: An evaluation of current UK practice, International Journal of Information Management, 16 (1), 27-38

Peer Reviewed Book Chapters

Allison, I and Strangwick, C. (2008) Privacy Through Security: Policy and Practice in a Small-Medium Enterprise, In: Subramanian, R (ed.) Computer Security, Privacy and Politics: Current Issues, Challenges and Solutions, pp. 157-179 Hershey, PA: IRM Press, IGI Global. ISBN 978-159904804-8.


Nwiabu, N. Allison, I., Holt. P. Lowit, P. Oyeneyin, B (2012) Case-based Situation Awareness, IEEE Conference on Cognitive Methods in Situation Awareness and Decision Support, (Forthcoming)

Nwiabu, N. Allison, I., Holt. P. Lowit, P. Oyeneyin, B (2012) User interface design for Situation-aware decision support systems, IEEE Conference on Cognitive Methods in Situation Awareness and Decision Support, (Forthcoming)

Nwiabu, N. Allison, I., Holt. P. Lowit, P. Oyeneyin, B (2011) Situation awareness in context-aware case-based decision support, IEEE Conference on Cognitive Methods in Situation Awareness and Decision Support, pp 9-16, Feb 22-24. Best paper award 10.1109/COGSIMA.2011.5753761 ISBN 978-1-61284-785-6

Allison, I (2010) Organizational factors shaping Software Process Improvement in small-medium sized software teams: a multi case analysis, In: Brito F, Faria, J and Machado, R  (eds) Proceedings of 7th International Conference on the Quality of Information and Communications Technology, pp. 418-423, 29 Sep-2 Oct, Porto, Portugal.  IEEE Computer Society 2010, DOI 10.1109/QUATIC.2010.81  ISBN 978-0-7695-4241-6

Stratton, R., Robey, D and Allison, I. (2008) Utilising buffer management to manage uncertainty and focus improvement, In van der Vaart, T et al (eds) Electronic proceedings 15th International Annual EurOMA Conference, Groningen, Holland, June 15-18. ISBN 978-1-904564-00-3

Allison, I and Merali, Y (2003) Software Process Improvement: towards an emergent perspective, Levi, M, Martin, A., Schweighart, C. (eds) Proceedings of 8th UKAIS conference, University of Warwick, 9-11 April

Allison, I. Orton, P, and Powell, H (2002) A virtual learning environment for introductory programming, Proceedings of the 3rd Conference of the LTSN-ICS.

Allison, I & Singh, G.  (1999) IS development methods and techniques: their current and future use for designing DSS, In: Brooks, L. and Kimble, C (eds) Proceedings of the 4th UKAIS Conference, 168-177,York April, McGraw-Hill, Maidenhead. ISBN 0 07709558 8

Allison, I (1999) Software maintenance: a backroom or boardroom activity? In: Hackney, R. (ed) Proceedings of the 9th annual BIT Conference (Business Information Management: Generative Futures), Manchester 3/4 November