Insights of an innovation enthusiast, PhD candidate, efficiency junkie, and technology optimist. Or, things I find interesting.

About Me

Curriculum Vitae  – view onlinedownload PDF

Teaching Evidenceview onlinedownload PDF

Timothy Olsen, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Computer Information Systems
W.P. Carey School of Business
Arizona State University
Office:BA 301 D
Mailing Address:
Main Campus
PO BOX 874606
Tempe, AZ 85287-4606
Cell Phone: 404-425-9323
Office Phone: 480-965-3252
Fax: 480-727-0881
Email: [email protected]

My major research interests include:
  • Management of IT / Shared Services
  • Micro-outsourcing
  • Social Business Process Management

I am a clinical assistant professor in Computer Information Systems at Arizona State University. I completed my doctoral studies at Georgia State University in 2012. Prior to this, I earned an M.S. in Information Systems with a certificate in Global Management at Brigham Young University. Before entering the university, I developed a passion for using technology to streamline business operations and subsequently pursued a career in the IT industry, specializing in network and systems administration, web development, and project management. I have worked for several types of organizations (start-ups, non-profits, consultancies, professional services) across varying geographies (silicon valley, mountain states, central and south america) performing different roles (network administration, software development, market research, project management).

My primary research efforts involve investigating IT service management. Under the supervision of Dr. Richard Welke and Lars Mathiassen, my dissertation drew upon two years of etnographic data collection to understanding how corporate IT can develop as a Shared Service Center, essentially a ‘business within a business’. I was fortunate to gain inside access to a large public IT department in the midst of a very interesting change process. This ‘engaged scholarship’ has yeilded fantastic insigh into theory and practice. I hope to provide IT managers understanding of how a purposeful transformation to Shared Services is realized.  I have presented some of my findings at the International Conference on Information Systems, CrowdConf, the Academy of Management, and the Americas Conference on Information Systems, and this blog.

My second stream of research focuses on the intersection of business process management and microsourcing. I am exploring how workflow management technologies can be used to manage asyncronous and geographically dispersed work performed by the ‘human cloud’. I am currently working with Rudy Hirschheim, Erran Carmel, and Evgeny Kaganer on several projects which in this area. I have cultivated many working relationships with executives and practitioners from crowdsourcing industry research organizations, human cloud based startups, and large enterprises.

My teaching interests include Business Process Management (BPM), Business Intelligence, International Business, and Intro to Information Systems. I have developed a new course in implementing IT-enabled BPM with colleagues at the University of Georgia, which received excellent reviews. I have also received over $8000 in teaching grants from Amazon Web Services, and Georgia State University to enable students to use emerging technology in the classroom.

I enjoy learning how to relate to the people and cultures of the world. I have travel and research background in South-East Asia, China, and South America. I enjoy ethnic food and cooking, mountain biking, auto repair, caving, the scenic American West, classical music, and history.


Refereed Conference Proceedings

  • Olsen, T., “Micro-outsourcing in China” Cross-Cultural Research in Information Systems (CCRIS), ICIS 2011, Shanghai, China.
  • Olsen, T. “Incorporating Crowdsourcing into Business Processes”, CSCW 2011, March 19–23, 2011, Hangzhou, China.
  • Olsen, T. and Welke, R., “Moving Towards IT as a Shared Service,” in (presented at the Society for Information Management Academic Workshop, St. Louis, Missouri, 2010).
  • Olsen, T., and Welke, R. “Composing Adaptive and Scalable IT Shared Services,” Proceedings of SIGSVC Workshop. Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, ICIS, 2010.
  • Olsen, T., “The Execution of a Business Process in the Cloud,” 20th Workshop on Information Technologies and Systems (WITS 2010), ICIS St. Louis, Missouri, December 11-12, 2010.
  • Olsen et al., “Collaborative and Open Technologies and their Impact on Information Systems Instruction,” AMCIS 2010 Proceedings (August 1, 2010).

Works in Progress

  • “IT on the Offensive: The Process of Realizing IT as a Business Within a Business,” (with Richard Welke, targeted for submission to MISQ, September 2012). [Dissertation paper]
  • “Lessons learned from an IT Shared Services Implementation” (with Richard Welke and Lars Mathiassen targeted for submission to MISQ-E (submit August 2012). [Dissertation paper]
  • “The Cloud Computing Metaphor Extended to Labor Markets: the Future of Sourcing” (with Richard Welke and Rudy Hirschheim targeted EJIS Special Issue on Cloud).
  • “Orchestrating Micro-task Cloud Labor using Business Process Management Systems” (target JAIS, Fall 2012)
  • “Teaching Business Process Management” (with Richard Welke, targeted for special issue in Knowledge Management & E-Learning)
  • “The Human Cloud” (in preliminary stages, target journal TBD)


Courses Taught

CIS 4140: Implementing IT-facilitated Business Processes – This course begins with six intense weeks of instruction on process automation through model driven execution (MDE), web services (REST/HTTP API), cloud integration, micro-outsourcing (Amazon mTurk), and business intelligence. For the remaining weeks students automate three processes of their choosing following instructor approval in three-week cycles, utilizing the classroom community and other professionals in a social-network of learning.

CIS 4120: IT-enabled Business Process Management – The course begins by defining business services, their associated processes and metrics, and then proceeds to how processes are discovered and modeled for purposes of improvement, innovation and IT-enablement using a standardized modeling approach (BPMN). Additional topics include business rules/rules engines, complex event processing and running a BPMS using Amazon Web Services EC2. As part of the course, students work on a real-world, process-related project to identify and model a business process, assess improvement and innovation potential, and to propose improvements to these processes.

Instructor of Record

CIS 4120 IT-enabled Business Process Management
Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012
Mean evaluation (4 courses): 4.7/5.0

CIS 4140: Implementing IT-facilitated Business Processes
Spring 2011, Spring 2012
Mean evaluation (2 courses): 4.8/5.0

Teaching Interests

  • Business Process Management
  • Business Intelligence
  • Cloud Computing/Integration
  • International Management
  • IT Strategy
  • Social Media
  • Telecommunications, IT Security
  • Mobile (Android) Development, Java Programming
  • Accounting Information Systems, IT Audit

Teaching Awards

  • Developed new course on Implementing IT-enabled Business Process Automation
  • Received teaching grants from Amazon Web Services ($6800) and Georgia State University ($1300)


Peer Reviews

Ad hoc reviewer for the following conferences:


Course development

Developed a new course called Building IT-enabled Business Processes with colleagues from the University of Georgia, and Georgia State University. Course utilizes a cloud based “BPM as a service offering” to orchestrate workflow in service and cloud computing environments. This course has received very positive feedback from students.



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