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 Science and Digital Media

My primary responsible is for leading the School‘s educational, research and commercial activities, and more widely supporting development and implementation of the strategic plans of the Faculty.  

I teach and supervise student projects in my area of expertise. I undertake research,  commercial and knowledge exchange work. My research publications are listed below.

Across the University I sit on a number of committees and panels. I recently chaired RGU’s inaugural Learning and Teaching Conference. I am currently leading the establishment of interdisciplinary centres across the university in the areas of digital interaction and visualisation, smart data technologies, and a digital incubator.

My media and public relations work includes appearing on local BBC news, a recent comment article in the Scotsman, radio interviews and local newspaper articles. I recently spoke at an event for MSPs at the Scottish parliament on the digital skills crisis in Scotland.

The Data Lab Board Member

Member of bid team and interim Board member to establish this industry-led Innovation Centre

ScotlandIS Board Member

Elected as Non-Executive Director of ScotlandIS, the national trade body


Academic & Professional Expertise and Interests

My expertise focuses on socio-technical information systems (IS), namely the processes related to the management, design, development and adoption of IS.

My 20 years in academia were preceded by nearly 10 years in industry. This experience covered a range of industries from computer-aided design at the British Ship Research Association, through software engineer at a global technology firm, and culminating in software consultancy and project management in the financial services sector. Subsequently, I have maintained a commercial outlook to my work through consultancy, knowledge-transfer and applied research projects in manufacturing, software, oil and gas, and engineering companies. Currently, I co-lead on a project in collaboration University of St Andrews for “The use of Cloud Computing for High-Value Software Products”. I am providing direct consultancy services for an oil company for its future technology plans. Also I am currently a co-investigator on two KTP projects.

I am a Fellow of the British Computer Society and have Charted Engineer status. I have significant experience of external examination, validation and accreditation work – including six years on the BCS Accreditation Committee.

Current work includes:

Software Process.

A number of commercial research and consultancy 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, and understanding how agile methods are tailored in high-maturity environments.

Decision Support Systems

I am interested in areas that combine decision making and information systems. Research projects include decision support for the management of hydrates in oil and gas pipelines and visualisation of project planning and control information. A number of commercial projects have been successfully delivered under KTP and other funding in this field.

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. Published work on managing change and security management. Currently looking at issues of strategy and pricing in relation to cloud adoption for software service providers.  Other research projects include processes and factors related to cloud adoption.


Research Students


Nuka Nwiabu  PhD “Situation-awareness approach to Context-aware Case-based Decision Support”

Current Students

Kabiru Maiyama – Awareness in Global Software Quality Assurance

Gerald Blake - Visualisation of Software Project Management

Dahiru Abubakar - Cloud Computing in Sub-Saharan Africa

Bola Okerinde- Quality Software Patterns for Enterprise Cloud Computing

Adewojo Adekunbi - A Framework to Migrate Database Driven Business Application to the Cloud



Professor Allison has had direct involvement in knowledge transfer/research grants and consultancy primarily for commercial related projects worth over £15m, often in collaboration with engineering and business colleagues. Three of these are for the School:

  • Data Lab, SFC National Innovation Centre in Data Science (RGU one of 3 hubs with Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • Aberdeen Digital Incubator from DCMS
  • dePICT 2010-2012 ERDF/SEEKIT developing products in the ICT sector (PI: Prof. P Holt)]

Current Projects

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

Maersk, Consultancy project to review current Augmented Reality technology for use in maintenance in the oil and gas sector

Add latent, Knowledge transfer partnership to develop a cloud-based service for the oil and gas sector

WML, Knowledge transfer partnership to develop a smart energy product


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

Key Publications

Journal Articles

Abubakar, D.A., Bass, J. Allison, I. (2014) Cloud Computing: Adoption Issues for Sub-Saharan Africa SMEs, Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 62, online at

Bass, J., Allison, I., Banerjee, U. (2013) Agile Method Tailoring in a CMMI Level 5 Organization: Addressing the Paradox, Journal of International Technology and Information Management, 22 (4), 77-98. ISSN:  1543-5962

Werfs, M., Baxter, G., Allison, I., Sommerville, I (2013) Migrating Software Products to the Cloud: An Adaptive STS Perspective, Journal of International Technology and Information Management, 22 (3), 37-54. ISSN:  1543-5962

Allison, I. Stratton, R, Robey, D (2012) Food production management case study: agile development of a dynamic visual planning and control system, Communications of the IIMA, 12 (1), 1-16. ISSN: 1543-5970

Senior, J. Allison, I, 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. (1998) An evaluation of student-led seminars, Innovation in Learning and Teaching, 3, 13-18

Allison, I. (1997) An alternative to essays, Innovation in Learning and Teaching, 2, 15-20   

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

Akmal, M., Allison, I. and Gonzalez-Velez, H. (2014 forthcoming) Assembling Cloud-based Geographic Information Systems: A pragmatic Approach using off-the-shelf Components, Chapter 8, Cloud Computing with E-science Applications, CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.

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.


Urquhart, R. and Allison, I (2014, accepted) Assessing Change Leadership Capabilities within an IT Service Organisation, IIMA conference, Palm Springs, October.

Narciso, H. and Allison, I. (2014, accepted)   Overcome resistance in Software Process Improvement Initiatives, 11th International Conference on the Quality of Information and Communications Technology, Portugal.  IEEE Computer Society, September.

Oyeneyin, B, Bello, K., Nwiabu, N. Allison, I., Lowit, P., Holt. P. (2014) The Subsea Tieback- Solution to optimum hydrocarbon recovery in Deepwater Environment? 1st International Symposium on Energy Challenges and Mechanics, July, Aberdeen.

Bass, J., Allison, I., Banerjee, U. (2014) Agile Method and CMMI: Indian Software Services, European Workshop on Iterative and Incremental Approaches to ICT4D, May, (IFIP WG9.4)

Abubakar, D.A., Bass, J., Allison, I. (2014) An Incremental Model of Cloud Service Provision in Sub-Saharan Africa, European Workshop on Iterative and Incremental Approaches to ICT4D, May, (IFIP WG9.4).

Abubakar, D.A., Bass, J. Allison, I. (2013) Cloud Computing: Adoption Issues for Sub-Saharan Africa SMEs, 12th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries (IFIP WG 9.4). pp179-192. May 2013, Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Nwiabu, N., Allison, I., Holt. P. Lowit, P. Oyeneyin, B (2012) Case-Based  Situational Awareness, IEEE Conference on Cognitive Methods in Situation Awareness and Decision Support Feb 10.1109/CogSIMA.2012.6188388

Nwiabu, N., Allison, I., Holt. P. Lowit, P. Oyeneyin, B (2012) User Interface Design for a Situational Aware DSS, IEEE Conference on Cognitive Methods in Situation Awareness and Decision Support Feb
doi: target="blank">10.1109/CogSIMA.2012.6188405

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

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