Office Address

Alan William Brown
Exeter Business School
University of Exeter, UK 
Mobile   +44 (0)777 2454541

Major Achievements

  • Business and technology innovation expertise with broad academic achievement, industry impact, and business success.
  • A record of innovation and entrepreneurship in solution delivery at commercial organizations from venture-funded start-ups to major enterprise corporations.
  • Extensive experience in both industry and academia, currently holding a full-time Professorial role at the University of Exeter.
  • Established record of attracting and managing research funds from Government and industry, including several EPSRC grants.
  • Experienced Leader of internationally-recognized research and development teams in the area of digital transformation, enterprise software development tools and environments, and object-oriented systems.
  • Internationally recognized leader in the fields of Enterprise Information Systems, Methods and Tools for Agile Software Delivery, and Distributed Software Delivery Practices.
  • Author of 6 books, editor of 4 further books, and author of over 60 papers published in refereed journals or conference proceedings.
  • US patent awarded in August 2011 (USPTO Patent Application 20080313597, System and method for describing method process using guided architectural decisions) in the area of software process and methods.
  • In March 2019 Alan received a Fellowship from the Alan Turing Institute, the UK National institute for AI and Data Science.
  • Invited member of RCUK’s Strategic Advisory Team for the Digital Economy theme (2014-2017).
  • External examiner for Cambridge Judge Business School Postgraduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship (2014-2017).

Entrepreneurial Roles
Co-founder and Director of Unities Academic Consulting
Co-founder and Director of the Digital Economy Foundation
Founder investor in NotBinary
Member of Centrica Technology Innovation Advisory Council
Member of Newbury Building Society Digital Advisory Panel
Strategic advisor to Digital Jersey
Strategic advisor to Headspring Executive
Strategic Advisor to Defacto.ED
Informal advisor to numerous SMEs and Startups

External Roles

Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute, the UK National Research Centre for Data Science and AI

Current/Recent EPSRC Research Grants
EP/P02579X/1   Next generation paper   (C)
EP/P03151X/1   ARCHANGEL – Trusted Archives of Digital Public Records (C)
EP/P03196X/1   Co-operative Models for Evidence-based Healthcare Redistribution (CoMEHeRe ) (P)

EP/N028252/1   Control and Trust in Vulnerability for new Business Models (ConTriVE) (C)


Oct 84 – April 88: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Ph.D in Computing Science. Thesis title: “A View Mechanism for an Integrated Project Support Environment“.

Oct 80 – July 83: University of Hull
B.Sc. in Computational Science. Graduated with a First Class Honours Degree.

Employment History

September 2018 – Present: Professor in Digital Economy, Exeter Business School, University of Exeter, UK.
In September 2018 I joined the Exeter Business School to take up a Professorship in Digital Economy. There he founded and co-leads the Initiative in Digital Economy at Exeter (INDEX).  INDEX is a London-based multidisciplinary faculty that works closely with private and public organizations to understand, challenge, and create new value in the Digital Age. Through deep engagement, INDEX carries out research and teaching of relevance and impact across industry and government. It works with academia, business, and government to bring research-led insights into digital disruption and its impact. I am currently the Director of the DIGIT Lab Research Centre — an EPSRC Next Stage Digital Economy Research Centre delivering a 5-year research programme backed by £12.4M in funding.

September 2012 – August 2018: Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Surrey Business School, University of Surrey, UK.
In Summer 2012 I was appointed to a Professorial role in the Surrey Business School to lead activities in the area of corporate entrepreneurship and open innovation models. In addition to teaching activities, I focus on innovation in a number of practical research areas with regard to global enterprise software delivery, agile software supply chains, and the investigation of “open commercial” software delivery models. The result of this work is a series of practical frameworks and success models for advancing enterprise activities in local small-medium businesses, large corporations, and student enterprise groups. In addition to research work, I have taught a range of modules on innovation management, digital business, business model innovation, digital technologies, and strategic change management for the MBA and MSc programmes.
Much of my current work is at the intersection of technology innovation and business model innovation where I am exploring digital transformation challenges in various industries by applying lean experimentation and fast-paced agile delivery methods. The outcome of this work is to develop insights aimed at accelerating digital change in the private and public sectors. 

I also helped to design and co-deliver a new module for the Cambridge MBA on “Digital Business” led by Dr Mark Thompson.

I was external examiner for the Postgraduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship at the Cambridge Judge Business School for 2014-2017.
I was an invited member of the RCUK strategic advisory team for the Digital Economy theme for 2014-2017.

September 2013 – Present: Executive Director, Surrey Centre for the Digital Economy (CoDE), Surrey Business School, University of Surrey, UK .
My current research is carried out through the Surrey Centre for the Digital Economy (CoDE) where I am Founder and Co-Director with Professor Roger Maull and Professor Annabelle Gawer. The research themes for my work involved agile delivery methods and practices applied to digital transformation activities in industry.  Particular interest currently includes investigations into future mobile technologies such as 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), wearable devices, blockchain, and Distributed Ledger Technologies. I have published several papers in these areas, and currently hold 4 EPSRC research grants.

This research is applied in my research-led impact activities where the focus is practical application of research concepts. I have recently worked with many clients in the public and private sector including the UK National Audit Office, BBVA,, Airbus, Royal London Insurance, Centrica, Resonate (DeltaRail), and McLaren. 

February 2001 – August 2012: IBM Distinguished Engineer, Rational Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Europe IBM Rational software, Raleigh, NC, USA.
I was an IBM Distinguished Engineer, working in several roles across IBM in Europe and North America. From January 2008 until August 2012 I was on International Assignment (IA) in Madrid, Spain where I held the position of “IBM Rational Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Europe”. I worked with customers around the world consulting on software engineering strategy and innovation as it pertains to enterprise solutions, process improvement, and the transition to global agile delivery solutions through IBM Rational’s software delivery platform. The main focus of my work was understanding software engineering economics, exploring ways to analyze return on investment from software IT spending, and investigating the impact of global software delivery models on large-scale IT delivery models. This work directly impacted Rational´s strategy for pricing, packaging and delivery of its products. I worked directly with Rational´s largest clients across Europe to understand how they innovate in software delivery, to improve customer success with Rational´s software development and delivery technologies, and to drive significant new business for IBM. In this role I reported to the Rational Global CTO and worked extensively with executives on future product strategy, engineering teams on product architecture, with product management groups on creating plans, and with marketing and field teams on positioning IBM Rational’s products and services to improve delivery success.

Previously, at IBM I was responsible for product strategy for IBM Rational’s development and delivery tools. Due to my established record of leadership and technical achievement I was one of only 5 people elected as an IBM Distinguished Engineer from more than 3,000 people who joined IBM from Rational Software Corporation. My specific focus was on innovative approaches to improve Model Driven Development (MDD) products. In this capacity I defined strategy and consulted on release of products aimed at improving software development efficiency through visual modeling, generating code from abstract models, and systematic reuse. This involved working with engineering teams on product architecture, product management groups on creating release plans, and marketing and field teams on positioning  IBM Rational’s products and services. Since the acquisition of Rational in February 2003, I broadened my influence by taking a leadership role in defining a common architecture and strategic direction for the Rational Desktop tools, WebSphere Studio, and WebSphere Business Integration tools. Additionally, I played a number of important roles in the broader IBM community most notably as an active member of the IBM Software Group Architectural Board, a key contributor and representative on the IBM Academic Initiative, and Rational’s representative editor for the IBM Press.

Previously, I was director at Rational Software responsible for all intellectual property (IP) aspects of Rational’s practitioner desktop group (PDG). This includes management responsibility for all of the documentation, productivity aids, training materials, and supporting artifacts that are essential to the “whole product” release of Rational’s modeling and design products. This involved direct management responsibility for over teams of upto 100 people across several groups, and in many geographic locations.

April 2006 – September 2009: Adjunct Professor, Dept of Computer Science, NC State University, Raleigh, NC, USA.
In April 2006 I was appointed as Adjunct Professor at NC State University. In this role I act as advisor to computer science faculty and students on software engineering topics, I was a co-founder of NC State’s Center for Open Software Engineering (COSE), and I assist in the revision of software engineering curricula. The COSE work is a joint industry-academic initiative aimed at furthering the application and understanding of open source technologies in commercial settings.

August 2000 — February 2001: Senior Technology Evangelist, Business Development, Catapulse, Cupertino, CA, USA.
Catapulse was a Silicon Valley start-up funded by Rational Corp. and Benchmark Capital. The goal of Catapulse was to change the nature of software engineering by creating a new software development platform based on hosted software development tools. This platform was surrounded with appropriate collaboration and coordination services to support communities of software engineers sharing knowledge and assets to achieve their tasks.

My role at Catapulse was within the Business Development organization. I worked to position and evangelize Catapulse as an effective software development platform for large corporations, ISVs, and small teams. This involved analyzing industry-standard software development practices, working with partners to understand how Catapulse technology can be combined effectively with theirs to create a winning go-to-market solution, working internally with Catapulse development teams and product managers to influence their decisions and directions, and liaising with Catapulse management on business and market strategy.

Catapulse was acquired by Rational Software in February 2001.

April 2000 — August 2000: Vice President of Research and Development
Sept 1999 — March 2000:  Vice President of Technology Innovation
July 1997 — August 1999:  Director of Research
Computer Associates, Plano, TX, USA.
(Formerly Sterling Software, Plano, TX, USA.)

Computer associates is the world’s third largest software organization with over 20,000 employees and annual revenue in excess of $6B. In April 2000 they purchased Sterling Software. From that date I assumed a role as a Vice President for Research and Development for Computer Associates responsible for application development products. The products for which I was responsible generated annual revenues in excess of $250M.

As VP of Research and Development I was the primary representative for the technology provided by Application Development products. In that position I was responsible for advanced technology projects, and for the presentation of new technology directions to analysts, media, and the field. My responsibilities included taking a leading role in defining the technical strategy and vision for the future of application development products, assessing technology and market directions in e-Business and e-Commerce, and assisting with industry partnership and acquisition strategies. This was particularly important as we evolve our products to support enterprise application development in the Internet age supporting e-Business practices. These are enabled by a component-based approach to software development and maintenance, called Component-Based Development (CBD).

Particular responsibilities included managing research activities across the organization. I advised on specifications for new software products and the future direction of enterprise application and component-based software development products. I was also responsible for representing the application development products and technical strategy at external events, interacting with customers on advanced software development practices, working with press and analysts in the software industry, and for positioning the products in the wider CBD community.

August 1996 — July 1997: Manager, Object Technology Branch of the Software Research Lab. Texas Instruments, Dallas, USA.
I led the Object Technology Branch in its investigation of advanced research and development products. Our role was to advise all divisions of TI in the current capabilities of various object technologies, build advanced prototypes in key areas, and consult with them in transitioning these technologies into routine practice.

Specific technologies investigated included various implementations of the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), the Java language and environments, and Microsoft’s Component Object Model (COM). In all of these areas we developed technology prototypes, concentrating on exploring their viability in complex, mission-critical application domains such as manufacturing contol, telecommunications, and financial management. Our work was viewed as influential in a  making a number of critical technology decision within various divisions of TI.

I held this position with TI until Texas Instruments Software was purchased by Sterling Software on 1st July 1997.

July 1991 — July 1996: Senior Member of the Technical Staff
Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA.

For most of this period I was project leader for the CASE Environments project. As such, I was responsible for a research group of 10 people, attracting and managing an annual budget of almost $2M. About half of this was a result of a competitive internal R&D bidding process while the rest was from external contracts attracted from particular government and industry clients.

My responsibilities included technical leadership in the CASE environments area by defining technical direction of the work, attracting funding, coordinating our work with the rest of the Institute, and presenting technical accomplishments and plans to internal and external sponsors.

My technical duties and responsibilities varied widely, and included membership of an audit team determining the future of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) advanced automation system program, providing briefings at the Pentagon to Department of Defense decision makers, and advising the Office of the Secretary of Defense on U.S. Government policy in the area of CASE and software engineering.

During my time at the SEI I addressed some of the issues of how to assemble and integrate commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components from various vendors. The aim was to develop techniques, guidelines, and assessment instruments that allow an organization to understand the problems of COTS tool integration, have realistic expectations from CASE technology, introduce integrated CASE technology in a cost-effective way, and be able to assess the impact of that technology when it is in place.

I worked extensively with many kinds of technologies, including implementations of the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), implementations of the Portable Common Tools Environment (PCTE), scripting languages such as the Tool Command Language (Tcl), and many tools such as Teamwork, Software through Pictures, ObjectMaker, Software Testworks, and so on.

Additionally, I also was an invited advisor on a number of high-level strategic advisory boards directing government standards and practices for software engineering within the Air Force, Navy, and Department of Commerce.

June 1988 — June 1991: Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science, University of York, UK.
Together with continuing my research within the Department in the areas of databases, Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CASE), and Software Engineering Environments (SEEs), my main teaching commitments included design and delivery of an advanced database option for final year undergraduates, and a fourth year (MEng) undergraduate course on Integrated Project Support Environments (IPSE’s). Further teaching duties included an introductory computing course for conversion MSc. students, and an undergraduate introduction to databases course.  My administration duties included supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students, and Secretary of the Board of Examiners for the MSc. course.

During this period I was responsible for supervising a number of PhD students and research associates. These were funded by a number of research grants awarded to Dr P. Hitchcock and myself.

In the first project we were awarded the sum of approximately 75,000 pounds over three years by the Admiralty Research Establishment (ARE) to fund three separate research proposals in the areas of integration of knowledge and databases, object-oriented database systems, and future database system architectures.

Following that award we began three projects funded by the Information Engineering Directorate (IED). The ORCA project carried out work on object-oriented requirements capture and analysis. This was a joint proposal with Logica of Cambridge and Data Dictionary Systems Ltd. The total funding for the project was over 800,000 pounds. The SAZ project investigated the integration of formal and structured software development methods. This project was funded to the level of 130,000 pounds. It was `uncled’ by the CCTA, computing advisors to the U.K. Government. The PROM project investigated reuse techniques in design and analysis phases of software development. Funding was initially for one year, later extended for a further two years.

Oct 1985 — May 1988: Research Associate, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
A member of the Computing Laboratory, working on the Information Base side of the Aspect project. Aspect was an Alvey-funded project whose objectives were research into, and prototype development of an Integrated Project Support Environment (IPSE). The project partners were the Universities of York and Newcastle upon Tyne, together with Systems Designers, MARI, and ICL. Within the project I had special responsibility for providing a user-defined views mechanism. The early part of the work involved designing and specifying this mechanism as part of the specification of Aspect’s Public Tool Interface (PTI). This specification, using the formal notation Z, was published in 1986. A first prototype of the system (using C and Unix) was completed in December 1986.

In the light of this work, the PTI specification was revised for its final publication at the end of the main phase of the project in August 1987, and a second prototype of the system completed by this date, and demonstrated at the Alvey Conference in July 1987.

An extension to the main project was completed, concentrating on integration and evaluation of the work developed in the first three years, and producing a third demonstration prototype.

Oct 1984 — Sept 1985: Ph.D Student, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
As part of the first year of my Ph.D I followed the advanced M.Sc course in Computing Systems and Software Design (CSSD), taking part in courses on Computer Architecture, Database Systems, VLSI Design, Distributed Systems, Software Engineering, and others.

As a postgraduate student within the Computing Lab., my duties included demonstrating and supervision of undergraduate students on Pascal programming Language courses, and marking of their project work.

July 1983 — Sept 1984: Programmer/Analyst, Fraser Williams Group Ltd., Liverpool, UK.
Worked for a computer consultancy organization developing a range of information systems running on DEC PDP-11 and Vax machines.

Professional Activities
I was series editor (with Mark Thompson from Cambridge University) of a  book series with Palgrave McMillan called “Business in the Digital Economy”. This is a flagship activity for this high-prestige publisher, and is publishing seminal works on a newly emerging area vital for business.

I was an advisory editor for a series of computer science books for Chapman and Hall publishers. In this capacity I reviewed manuscript, provided advice to the publishers, and communicated and encouraged potential book authors.

I am continually asked to review draft texts for Prentice-Hall, McGraw-Hill, Addison Wesley, and Chapman and Hall publishers, and numerous technical papers for the IEEE Computing and Software journals, the ACM Computing Surveys journal, the Software Engineering Journal, Information and Software Technology, and University Computing.

I have been an invited program committee member for a number of internationally-recognized conferences, including the International Software Engineering Environments conference series, the European Conference on Software Architecture, and the International Workshops on Computer-Aided Software Engineering series.