• Nigel Patrick Melville, Ph.D. MS ECE

     

    My research explores how organizations leverage digital technologies and systems to generate and capture value. In recent years I've focused on environmental sustainability and human welfare impacts, including avoidance and mitigation of risks and damages in what is sometimes called the fourth industrial revolution (FIR).
     
    I'm one of the most highly cited researchers in the information systems discipline focusing on digital transformation and business value. I also work with large organizations to apply what I've learned towards achievement of strategic objectives, including Google, Riot Games, Microsoft, Amazon, Bouygues Immobilier, and ICBC.
     
    I'm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I’m a professor at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan and Program Director of Design Science. Previous career paths include product engineer and co-founding a software startup.
  • Impacts

    Going beyond to make a difference

    Featured speaker for the Digital Infrastructure, Innovation and Economy Series London (DIIESL), INDEX, IRIS and LSE entitled “Generating Business Value from Machine Interfaces: Models of Efficiency, Focus, & Transformation,” May 2021.
     
    Led a discussion in Fall 2020 for the Society for Information Management Advanced Practices Council (group of leading Chief Information Officers) focusing on the monetization of machine interfaces (APIs) for efficiency, focused value, and transformation.
     
    Led a panel discussion at the 2019 Tauber Global Operations Conference focusing on "Industry 4.0 in the Upcoming Decade."
     
    Chaired a panel discussion of tech founders and entrepreneurs analyzing the incumbent and startup fintech space, past, present, and future.
     
    Engaged U-M IT Services leadership in a discussion of APIs and business value.
     
    Led a group of CIOs in a collaborative session focused on emerging organizational practices in the fourth industrial age enabled by microservices and API-driven machine interaction.
     
    Led a day-long session for global bankers focusing on the technologies and competitive implications of fintech in the context of incumbent banks.
     
    At the request of U-M President Mark Schlissel, served on the VP of IT and CIO search advisory committee.
     
    Partnered with a leading French real estate conglomerate to understand digital transformation opportunities.
     
    At the request of former U-M President Mary Sue Coleman, led the President's Advisory Group in a strategic discussion of digital transformation at the University of Michigan.
     
    Partnered with a leading Indian consultancy to analyze digital transformation and innovation.
     
    Partnered with UNICON (The International University Consortium for Executive Education) to examine the strategic nature of social media within organizations.
     
    Blog examining how digital transformation can enable new forms of environmental sustainability (Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability) has over 55,000 views.
     
    Research papers have been cited more than 8,000 times, and H-index is 23, which according to this analysis is five times the mean for a sample of business scholars.
     
    Article entitled "IT and Organizational Performance" appearing in MIS Quarterly in 2004 authored with Vijay Gurbaxani and Ken Kraemer has been listed on Scopus "Top 20 most cited Business, Management, and Accounting articles" from 2004 to 2008; is 19th in citations among all published MIS Quarterly papers (journal was founded in 1977), and 11th since 2000. Within the IS field, it is in the top .16 percentile in terms of citations (see Iivari (2015))

    Article "Information Systems Innovation for Environmental Sustainability" was cited for spanning boundaries of IS and sustainability literatures by the Editor of leading IS journal EJIS: "Seminal papers bridging two research traditions can be found in the literature such as on IS development and new product development (Nambisan, 2003) or IS and sustainable development (Melville, 2010)..."
     
    Recent public talks and seminars include:

    “Roadblocks to Implementing Modern Digital Infrastructure: Exploratory Study of API Deployment in Large Organizations,” Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, January 2021.

    Computing and APIs,” MBA Tech Club, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, October 2019.

    The Platform Within: Organizing to Expose Resources Via Digital Interfaces for Competitive Advantage,” IESE Business School, University of Navarra, June 2019.

    "Cloud Computing Basics: Connecting Via APIs," BBA Tech Club, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, February 2019.

    Fourth Industrial Age Organizing: Enabling Role of APIs,” Queen’s University, January 2019.

    Big Data Ecosystems and Applications,” Big Data Day, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, January 2019.

    Green IS/IT Research: Making an Impact in the Fourth Industrial Age,” Keynote Speech SIG Green 2018, International Conference on Information Systems,” December 2018.

    Navigating Career Paths in the Emerging Fourth Industrial Age,” MBA Tech Club, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, November 2018.

    ROI of AI: Value and Operational Implications of Artificial Intelligence,” INFORMS Artificial Intelligence Cluster, 2018.

    Sustainable Enterprise in the Fourth Industrial Age: Implications for Low-Carbon Operations” HEC Montréal - GReSI (Groupe de recherche en systèmes d’information), May 2017.

  • Current Research Programs

    Living in the future to understand the present

    Human-Centric Futures in the 4IR
    Business transformations required to leverage machine affordances such as enhanced decision making, interaction, generativity, and extensible resource sharing to generate value while avoiding and minimizing damage.
     
    Information Systems & Environmentally Sustainable Operations
    Digital systems and technologies to enable environmentally sustainable and resource productive operations.
     
    (Full list of scholarly articles and cv).
  • Information Systems - Scholarly Community

    Valuable and unique insights for the emerging 4IR

    The information systems discipline is focused on understanding and enhancing socio-technical information systems, including their design, development, implementation, and impacts and implications. In the 4IR, boundaries between physical, digital, and biological systems are blurring. Research insights pertaining to socio-technical information systems are crucial to organizational effectiveness. Here are a few examples:

    • Brian Pentland’s research on organizational routines and information systems illustrates the folly of designing technologies when what is desired is new ways of working (Pentland and Feldman 2008).
    • Wanda Orlikowski’s examination of a large-scale information system implementation suggests a theory of situated, improvisational change that emerges over time, in contrast to rapid and radical change. (Orlikowski 1996)
    • Mark Keil has illustrated the unique factors that promote escalation of digital initiatives (throwing good money after bad) (Keil 1995).

     

    References

    Keil, M. 1995. "Pulling the Plug: Software Project Management and the Problem of Project Escalation," MIS Quarterly (19:4), pp. 421-447.

    Orlikowski, W.J. 1996. "Improvising Organizational Transformation Over Time: A Situated Change Perspective," Information Systems Research (7:1), pp. 63-92.

    Pentland, B.T., and Feldman, M.S. 2008. "Designing Routines: On the Folly of Designing Artifacts While Hoping for Patterns of Action," Information and Organization (18:4), pp. 235-250.

     

  • Digital Transformation in the News

    The good, the bad, the ugly

    2021

    According to Accenture, “Leadership Demands Technology Leadership - We always talked about how technology would come to change the world, and now that enterprises across industries have accelerated their digital transformations all at once—it has. The era of the fast follower is effectively over. Perpetual change is here to stay, and leaders must not only embrace it, but catalyze it.”

    2020
    Sridhar Gadhi discusses the role of digital systems in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic in “How digital infrastructure can help us through the COVID-19 crisis” for the World Economic Forum.
     
    THE BEFORE TIMES
     
    2019
    Reframing the "industrial revolutions" narrative of economic history shifts semantics from a "Fourth Industrial Revolution" to an era of "industrialized intelligence," according to a recent Quartz article by Andrew Fursman and Georgia Frances King. The authors pose important questions: "Perhaps we are not in a Fourth Industrial Revolution that will simply progress the roles of humans in production. Perhaps we are in the final stages of a grand process to create and automate all the tasks necessary to sustain a stable society." We're a long way from this, but the question is interesting.
     
    2017
    As the API economy emerges in the fourth industrial age, many questions emerge. One perspective is that IT departments ought to look more like SaaS platforms, as recently described by MuleSoft founder Ross Mason: "Every organisation is very used to executing projects on this treadmill, the business needs something, they put a project in the pipeline, it gets triaged, it might take a year. I met with one of the big banks today and it takes two and a half years before one of their projects gets approved. That isn't working, that's breaking down, that's the IT delivery gap problem."
  • How to find me

    Happy to connect

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