AIS Fellow Award Winner - Frank Land
Frank Land Frank Land

Frank Land has been involved with information systems for almost the whole of his adult life originally as a member of the small team of people working in the early 1950s with LEO Computers in the UK to develop business computing, and since 1967 as an academic with the London School of Economics (LSE) and the London Business School helping to establish information systems and information management as an academic discipline.

After graduating in Economics from the LSE in 1950, Frank joined the London food and catering enterprise J. Lyons. Lyonsª had the vision in 1949 to see the computer as the business tool of the future, and remarkably set out to build the first electronic computer designed for business use the LEO computer. Frank, with colleagues, has recently written books and papers about that experience and the standards of good practice that were developed by the team.

In 1967,Gordon Foster, Professor of Statistics at the LSE, noted that the rapid growth in business computing needed a new discipline to inform management and the new breed of systems analysts responsible for designing and implementing the computer based systems. He saw the need for both research and advanced teaching and persuaded the School to establish a post. Frank was selected for the new post in what later became the Department of Information Systems.

Over the next few years, Frank became involved with the development and definition of the subject and its curriculum. He chaired working parties for the British Computer Society, the National Computing Centre, and the Council for National Academic Awards concerned with curriculum development. He worked with an international group to establish the International Federation for Information Processing's (IFIP) curriculum for information systems designers and at the LSE set up the ADMIS (Analysis, Design and Management of Information Systems) Masters course and developed an active Ph.D. program. This later led to him taking the initiative in the UK to establish an annual Ph.D. symposium. Frank has worked with IFIP Working Group 8.2 (Information Systems and Organizations) since its foundation and has served as its chair. He has been active in research and has always stressed the importance of collaborative research. He has worked on collaborative research projects with colleagues from France, Germany, Norway, and Denmark, and with research partners from industry. The outcomes of the many research projects are reported in numerous publications. An early theme in his research was concerned with evaluation, a theme he returned to in the past few years.

In 1982, Frank was appointed to the UKªs first professorial post in Information Systems and in 1986 moved to the London Business School as Professor of Information Management. He has served as Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania (the Wharton School), Sydney University, Bond University, Curtin University, and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, He has been awarded an honorary doctorate in science and the IFIP award for distinguished service. He has twice served as technical advisor to House of Commons Select Committees examining IT in the UK and contributed to the preparation of the Committeeªs report.

Frank retired from full time academic work in 1992 and is currently Visiting Professor of Information Management at the LSE and at Leeds Metropolitan University. He is, however, still active in research, some teaching and perhaps most importantly in his role as referee and reviewer for many academic journals.