Second President of AIS: Niels Bjørn-Andersen
Niels Bjørn-Andersen became president of AIS in 1996 as the first non-US president after Bill King. He has a strong vision of creating a truly global organization instead of a predominantly US-based organization with an extended network. This vision of Information Systems as a global field had in different ways been his vision since he started in Academia in 1969 as assistant professor in Copenhagen Business School.
His PhD thesis was written in 1972 in Danish, making it inaccessible outside the Nordic countries, and when he realized the mistake of not publishing in English, he embarked upon his first international project on the ‘Impact of EDP on bank clerks’ with 19 countries involved in 1972. Since then has been involved in more than 30 larger international research projects and in most cases as project manager or part of the project management team. In 2005 – 2010, he has been managing the € 4 million 3gERP-project with Microsoft and the € 5.9 ITAIDE project with among others IBM and SAP.
The work on establishing an international academic network going beyond the Nordic countries was initiated in 1974, where he took part in formulating a proposal to establish a so-called "Technical Committee” on Information Systems. This was approved by IFIP Council in March of 1975 as Technical Committee-8 (TC-8). Niels was one of the founding members as the official National representative for Denmark. In this capacity, he worked strongly to establish Working Group 8.2, where for many years he would have the role as conference chair, co-editor of proceedings etc. At the IFIP 25 anniversary in 1985, he was one of the 12 key-note speakers specifically addressing the issue of the "position of information processing” emphasizing the human, organizational and societal aspects of Information Processing.
In 1985 he managed to convince the ICIS council that it was inappropriate to use the term "International” for a conference, if it was always held in the US. And in 1990 the first ICIS was organized in Copenhagen with Niels as general chair. In spite of the gloomy predictions, the conference attracted 854 attendees before registration had to be closed due to space limitations. In order to rally support for this conference, he undertook to develop the first European Directory of IS Faculty in Europe, which was eventually published in 1993, and later folded into the AIS Faculty Directory.
In 1996 as President of AIS, the first and most important task was to rally support for AIS outside North-America. He attended a large number of conferences; where he would try to motivate rallying behind AIS, and he worked specifically on helping IS academics from developing countries through providing low cost memberships. Another interesting task was to assist IS academics in their fight to establish IS as a field in their own university. This also resulted in him taking part in several assessment exercises in different countries, assisting IS faculty in gaining recognition and appreciation of ‘our’ educational program and ‘our’ research.
Niels is generally accepted as the founder of the "Socio-technical IS tradition” including issues like IT impact and implementation of IT. He worked on that until the mid-80s. After that his interest moved to more managerial issues like IT management, IT strategy and IT innovation including issues like e-business and ERP-systems.
He started the first M.Sc. program in IS at in 1976, the first B.A. IS program in 1984 (called Computer Science and Business Administration), and the first PhD program in IS in the early 80’s all at Copenhagen Business School.
He has published/edited 21 books and written more than 150 journal articles, book chapter and conference papers.
He used to be an avid swimmer, badminton and tennis player, but is now limiting his physical exercises to the fitness club, leisure swimming, skiing, scuba diving, golf and bridge.
He received IFIP Outstanding Service’s award in 1988, became AIS Fellow in 1999, and received the AIS LEO Award in 2006. In 2003, he was knighted by the queen of Denmark.
BA (Business Administration), 1966; MSc (Organizational Behavior), 1969 and PhD (Information Systems), 1974, Copenhagen Business School.