Informatics Research Centre (iRC)


The Informatics Research Centre (iRC) strives to be a leader in the study of information technology and its effects on individuals, organizations, markets, and the economy. The iRC pursues excellence both in research and in educational domains through theory-driven and applied research, and through partnerships with research institutions, industry, and public organizations.


The iRC supports the development of research and of future professional leaders through a series of activities including hosting international scholars and presenters, research colloquia, and workshops; engaging in research partnerships; and developing curriculum and professional opportunities for students with the support of industry members, businesses, and public organizations.

Current research areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Business-to-business (B2B) electronic commerce (also known as e-business), business-to-consumer (B2C) electronic commerce, electronic markets, and interorganizational information systems (IOS)
  • Information technology (IT)-enabled business process reengineering, IT-supported decision making, and information infrastructure
  • The diffusion of new information and communications technologies
  • Design of contractual infrastructures for interoperability of IT
  • The impact of IT on organizations, markets, and public policy
  • Implications for leadership and governance of IT infrastructure and service

Student Opportunities

There are several opportunities for students to be involved with iRC activities through a BTMA concentration. Undergraduate students interested in the concentration of Business Technology Management can find more information here.

iRC News

The iRC supported the undergraduate Haskayne School of Business team of Sara Elashar, Zoonee Nadam, Hadi Ali, and John Jamieson who competed in the inaugural edition of the International Business Analytics Challenge Finals at HEC Montreal in March 2019. The challenge was to help AIESEC make a digital transformation and in the process increase the number of exchange opportunities, increase the number of fulfilled exchange opportunities, and define and measure the impact on the exchange participants. At the finals in Montreal, the Haskayne team competed against teams of graduate students with specializations in analytics and not-for-profit strategy. The team impressed the judges with what was referred to as the “best business case” and the only solution that could make AIESEC money. Along the way, the students also identified small changes to be more successful at the competition in the coming years.

International Business Analytics Challenge

Academic Members

Academic Members of the iRC produce top-tier publications in information and communication technology between and within organizations.

Current Academic Members

Industry Research Fellows

Industry Research Fellows support the iRC vision by liaising between researchers, industry, and students for enriched learning experiences and professional opportunities including co-curricular activities, student mentorship, and advanced projects for real-world application.

Graham McFarlane is an Industry Research Fellow with the Informatics Research Centre (iRC) in the Business Technology Management area at the Haskayne School of Business. In addition he is a Management Consulting specializing in the management of information technology.

Graham graduated from McGill University, Montreal, and his past experience includes ten years with IBM Canada occupying technical, project management and line management positions, including the management of a large scale computing service bureau.  Since 1978, he has been a Certified Management Consultant with Western Management Consultants working on engagements both domestically and internationally.
His achievements include:

  • Contributing author writing several articles on IT management for industry publications
  • Past President of the Institute of Certified Management Consultants of Alberta (ICMCA). In 1992, appointed a Fellow of the ICMCA
  • Past member of the Board of Directors for the Planning Forum, Calgary Chapter
  • Past Executive Member of the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) and holder of the Information Systems Professional (ISP) designation
  • Past Board of Directors member for Theatre Calgary

Industry Advisory Council

Guidance of senior management from Calgary’s international business community is invaluable to the pursuit of both educational and research objectives of the iRC. These members engage in ambitious initiatives involving the development of relevant skill sets for emerging professionals and the applicability of groundbreaking research to business.

Justin Abel, Risk Assurance Services Partner and national IT Risk Assurance Services Leader - PwC 

Inspired by a sense of adventure, Justin has worked in 4 different cities and has helped clients deal with issues ranging from security and espionage to increasing the speed of exploration programs.  When not at work, Justin can likely be found training for triathalons or skiing, climbing or biking on the closest mountain.   Having worked with over half of the top 60 TSX listed companies and 4 of the 5 largest government organizations,  Justin has broad based security, technology and business advisory experience with some of PwC’s premier clients, including energy companies like Enbridge, Suncor, CNRL, Cenovus, Encana and TransAlta and public sector clients in the energy, health and regulatory compliance sectors.  He specializes in delivering practical security risk, control and compliance solutions, and has deep experience in the areas of technology and business process controls, security, data management and analytics, project management and internal audit. 

Richard Arthurs, Partner, Enterprise Risk Services (ERS), National Leader of Governance, Risk, and Data & Information Dynamics - MNP

Richard Arthurs (CPA, CMA, MBA, CIA, CFE) has over 25 years of industry experience in energy and utilities, retail, packaged goods, high technology, manufacturing, not for profit, public and private sector. He currently assists clients in evaluating strategic and operational risks and developing mitigation strategies and IA plans that adequately address these risks and enhance organizational value. In addition, he leads the national data analytics service line for MNP. His team designs data analytics strategy and solutions, including data governance, information management, and advanced analytics.

Prior to joining MNP in June 2016, Richard worked as a Vice President of Risk, Audit and Compliance with AltaLink – A Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company from 2012 to 2016. Richard has been directly involved with the development of strategy to optimize value from data analytics and data governance for over 20 years while working for General Mills Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Energy Inc., and now supporting several clients in Canada on behalf of MNP. Prior to this Richard spent 13 years at General Mills Inc. where his last role was the Global Director of Internal Audit and Risk Management. He was also the CFO of General Mills UK and Ireland, a US National Brand Controller, and he had various roles in finance in Canada. Richard maintains several community involvement positions including Chair of the Board of Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA Canada).

Don Bialik, Executive Chairman - Long View Systems

Don was the original founder of Long View in 1998. As Chairman, Don’s current role involves providing strategic direction and leadership to the executive team with an eye towards ensuring sustainability and continued growth.

Interestingly enough, Long View is Don’s second success story in the entrepreneurship world. His first venture was an IT company called SysGold and under his leadership took only six short years to become the largest privately owned information technology solutions provider in Calgary. He sold SysGold, and shortly thereafter went on to found Long View. Prior to his IT leadership days, Don held management roles in a variety of sectors including, construction, government, and mining. Don has a degree in engineering as well as an MBA from the University of Calgary.

When he’s not busy at Long View, you can find Don practicing his three-pointer, biking, and spending time with his two daughters, and two granddaughters.

Patti Blackstaffe, CEO and Founder - Strategic Sense

Patti Blackstaffe is the CEO of Strategic Sense Inc., which focuses on helping clients build transformation agility through people strategy. A specialist in change and transformation, she focuses on complex technology implementations and change through M&A. A former Director in an international corporation, she brings her experience in the automation industry, international business, and large organizational projects to her people strategy and programs for clients. Patti was interviewed by Success Magazine on Leading Change, is an entrepreneur, speaker, trainer, facilitator, strategist and volunteer living in Calgary. You can follow her on Twitter @StrategicSense and connect with her on LinkedIn.

Simon Graham, Manager, Information Systems - Crescent Point Energy

With over 25 years of experience in the Information Technology industry Simon Graham has progressed from an initial role as a corporate trainer, through various support and technical disciplines, to roles in leadership and management. He has experienced many sides of the IT industry but has learned that relationship development with key stakeholders, leaders and vendors is the recipe for success in an IT strategy. Simon has lead and managed junior Service Desk employees, the most senior level technical resources and all levels supervisory personnel, being successful in all cases. Since 2012 he has also lead a large IT department at a dynamic and growing oil producer, transitioning the department from a struggling group to one with clear direction, strategy and purpose. As a leader in the IT services world, Simon manages practices, business units and national outsources--through that experience, he has developed a unique perspective on the convergence of IT service delivery and IT within a business.

Maureen Higgins, Senior Technology Executive and Strategic Leader, Lead IT Advisory Partner - PwC

Maureen Higgins is the IT Advisory Leader in the Advisory Services practice of Ernst & Young LLP. Maureen is focused on building and leading world-class enterprise technology operations, possessing vast knowledge of the IT landscape. She has the business skills to devise strategic direction, build partnerships, and put solutions in place that support goals and position companies for growth.

Maureen is an Operations and Information Technology executive with over 29 years of experience and proven success building high performing teams, a strategic visionary leader with a clear sense of purpose and urgency when faced with adverse business scenarios, skilled at establishing operational excellence within a diverse culture, translating conceptual ideas and models into growth and operational strategies. She is focused on innovation and bringing value to the overall business and has the ability to work with and influence traditional engineering mindset through multiple approaches.

Kelly Hill, Vice President, Information Technology - Keyera

Biography coming soon!

Fadi Nasr, Vice President, Information Technology - Calgary Co-op

Biography coming soon!

Alex Nuth, Managing Director, Digital Challenger Bank - ATB

Alex is a Managing Director leading the creation of a digital challenger bank at ATB. Prior to that role, she was Director of the Strategic Coordination Office and also spent time within ATB's Innovation group. Prior to ATB, she started her career in Accenture's Strategy Consulting practice where she worked on consulting engagements focused on Corporate Strategy, Corporate Innovation, and Operational Strategy.

Outside of work she serves as chair of the board for the Alberta Science Network, serves on the Calgary Homeless Foundation board, volunteers with the Calgary Stampede on their Innovation Committee and participates in the IAC.

She holds a MBA with the Queen's School of Business and an undergraduate degree in Entrepreneurship from the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary.

John Pirie, Managing Director - Robots and Pencils

Biography coming soon!

Terry Rock, CEO - Platform Calgary

Biography coming soon!

Alfredo Tan, Senior Vice President of Strategy, Data & Partnerships - Rogers Sports and Media

Biography coming soon!

Chris Terris, Vice President Strategy, Planning and Enablement - Telus

Biography coming soon!

Elka Walsh, National Skills & Education Lead - Microsoft Canada

Biography coming soon!