Open PhD position (100%) in the Competence Center Corporate Data Quality

We invite applications for a

PhD position (100%) at HEC Lausanne
in the Competence Center Corporate Data Quality (CDQ)

Linked and open data, enterprise information modeling

The PhD position will contribute to the design, implementation and evaluation of a Data App Store for the discovery, integration and use of open data in business environments. The PhD candidate will be employed at HEC Lausanne and work in the Competence Center Corporate Data Quality (CC CDQ – CC CDQ is an industry-funded research consortium that is researching, developing and testing solutions that advance data management in digital and data-driven enterprises. CC CDQ is being conducted between the Universities of Lausanne and St. Gallen and 20 renowned European companies (ABB, Bosch, Nestlé, Otto, SBB, Siemens etc.).

Desired qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in Information Systems, Computer Science or related field
  • Strong interest in one or more of the following topics: data modeling and architecture, linked and open data, semantic Web and ontologies, enterprise information management
  • Relevant internships and/or practical experience (e.g. as consultant)
  • Excellent analytical and communication skills
  • Good writing skills and fluency in English; German and/or French are a plus

Informal inquiries and how to apply:
For any inquiry about the PhD positions, please contact Prof. Christine Legner: or +41 21 692 3432.

Employment rate is 100% with a competitive salary and maximum contract duration is five years. Starting date is negotiable between January and March 2018.

The PhD candidate is expected to enrol in the doctoral school in information systems at HEC Lausanne and will be supervised by Prof. Christine Legner.

Job announcement: UNIL – CDQ-PhD_201710

Related information:
Competence Center CDQ
HEC Lausanne,
Prof. Christine Legner,


CTI awards R&D grant for “Open Data to Business – Data App Store”

The partnership between HEC Lausanne, CDQ AG, Nestlé and Swisscom on the project “Open Data to Business – Data App Store for the discovery, integration and use of open data in business environments” has been granted a research & development fund by the Commission of Technology and Innovation (CTI) of the Swiss Confederation. This innovative R&D project starts in January 2018 and will be finalized in December 2019.

For more information about the project, please check out the project description or contact Andreas Lang.

Andreas Lang and Martin Fadler joined the CC CDQ research team

We welcome two new researchers in our team – Andreas Lang and Martin Fadler!

Andreas Lang joined the CC CDQ research team on May 1, 2017. Previously, he worked at the European Research Council of the European Commission in the support to the Scientific Council. Andreas received his M.Sc. in Life Sciences and Technologies at the EPFL and proposed in his Master’s thesis a computational model for explaining the psychological phenomenon of illusory conjunctions. Before, he completed his B.Sc. in Computer Science at the University of Geneva with a Bachelor’s thesis on Neuro Evolutionary Meta-Optimization.

Andreas is currently working in the CTI project “Open Data to Business – Data App Store for the discovery, integration and use of open data in business environments”. Its aim is to link heterogeneous open datasets in a knowledge graph in order to increase quality and trust and to unlock the potential of open data for companies.

Martin Fadler started on September 1, 2017 as PhD student in the CC CDQ research team.  Previously, he  worked in a data-driven startup as a Data Scientist where he learned to manage and build data products with advanced analysis methods and technologies. Mr. Fadler received a M.Sc. in ICT Systems and Management from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany, and a B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering from the Technical University of Clausthal, Germany.

In his research, Martin Fadler will focus on data management for Big Data and AI. He also investigates machine learning techniques within the data management lifecycle.


Three papers presented at the European Conference on Information Systems

Dana Naous, Kenny Lienhard, Johannes Schwarz and Christine Legner attended the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) which was held from June 5th to 10th in Guimarães, Portugal.

They presented three full papers co-authored by BISA team members:

ECIS is the most prestigious European conference in the Information Systems discipline, and provides a forum for networking and sharing of latest ideas and highest calibre scientific work amongst the IS profession. The ECIS Conference Proceedings are available for download in the AIS Electronic Library.


CC CDQ publishes the “Data Excellence Framework”

In a joint effort, comprising more than 15 European companies as well as researchers from three European universities, the Competence Center Corporate Data Quality (CC CDQ) has developed a reference model for data management in the digital economy: the Data Excellence Model. It offers support and guidance for practitioners in the implementation of data management by defining major design areas, while at the same time supporting the transformation into a digital and data-driven company.

Given the understanding of data as a strategic resource for the digital economy, the reference model specifies design areas of data management in three categories: goals, enablers, and results, which are interlinked in a continuous improvement cycle.


  • goals break down the overall aim and purpose of data management by outlining necessary business capabilities and data management capabilities and explicating them in the form of a data strategy;
  • enablers help to achieve the goals specified with regard to six design areas: people, roles and responsibilities; performance management; processes and methods; data architecture; data lifecycle; and data applications;
  • results indicate to what extent the goals are achieved in terms of two quanti-fiable aspects: data excellence and business value; and
  • continuous improvement allows adjustment of goals and enablers, ensuring the dynamic nature of the model.

More information can be found on the CC CDQ website.

Just back from Stanford, Dr Thomas Boillat is teeming with ideas for operating theatres

Recently awarded a PhD in Information Systems from the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Lausanne, supervised by Professor Christine Legner, Thomas Boillat is just back from a stay at the renowned Stanford University in the USA. Working with a surgeon, he has developed a model application that enables medical teams in the operating theatre to view checklists using Google Glass. The aim of the application is to improve the effectiveness of the lists, increase patient safety and avoid potential surgical errors.

When a surgeon from Stanford spots a researcher from HEC Lausanne

The person behind this unique collaboration was Professor Katarzyna Wac (University of Geneva) who put Thomas Boillat in contact with surgeon Professor Homero Rivas (Stanford). Professor Rivas was looking for ways of using checklists in Google Glass to increase their effectiveness and improve patient safety. The research being carried out by the doctoral student at HEC Lausanne – and his existing knowledge – exactly matched the type of person he needed. As a result, Thomas Boillat left Switzerland last July for a six-month stay as an invited researcher in the Medical School (Department of Surgery) with a sizeable challenge to tackle as soon as he arrived in the US.

An application welcomed in medical circles

Almost half a million patients die in operating theatres in the United States each year as a result of avoidable errors, while around two thousand people are faced with surgical errors over which part of the body is operated on (i.e. the surgeon operates on the wrong place). The lack of a systematic approach to checking methods has been identified as one of the sources of errors and hospitals have adopted the use of checklists, which are also used in numerous other areas such as aviation, for their ability to reduce human errors.

During his stay, Dr Boillat’s research focused on the use of Google Glass (augmented reality eyewear) as a “screen” to support surgeons in using checklists before embarking on an operation. This process replaces the use of paper checklists, which are difficult to read and too generic. How is it possible to design applications that provide support for individual routines of this kind? This line of enquiry led the researcher to develop a prototype application, the principle of which is that items on the checklist appear on the glass and the surgeon can therefore concentrate on the checks that need to be made.

The prototype was assessed in the operating theatre over a six-month period (during 50 operations preceded by 50 other procedures for observation only) and by a panel of six different surgeons. Their feedback helped to improve the prototype as the trial proceeded. The conclusive results showed that using the application via Google Glass ensures more effective use of the checklists. Moreover, the personalised – and contextualised – content of the lists provided real added value and reduced the time spent preparing equipment for surgical procedures. The researcher also had the opportunity to present his project to a keen audience from both the School of Computer Science and part of the Department of Surgery at Stanford.

He explains: “This was an exceptional project on many levels: the way I was approached to come and work at Stanford, the collaboration with Professor Rivas and the multidisciplinary aspect of my project. There aren’t many people in my field of information systems who get to go into operating theatres! In practical terms, it gave me the opportunity to learn more about the potential technologies that could support medical practitioners in their work in the future.”

Aside from the scientific and personal benefits, the experience is already offering Dr Boillat new opportunities, with a further collaboration with Stanford due to start next summer. The focus this time will be on developing an application that will guide surgeons during an operation.

Extended research team for CC CDQ – two open PhD positions in 2017!

We are extending our research team in the
Competence Center Corporate Data Quality (CC CDQ)  and are hiring two PhD students (100% contract, starting data in 2017)

The Competence Center Corporate Data Quality (CC CDQ) is an industry-funded research consortium and expert community for corporate data management. CC CDQ comprises researchers affiliated with the Universities of Lausanne and St. Gallen and data management experts from more than 15 companies (ABB, Beiersdorf, Bosch, Nestlé, Otto, SBB, Siemens etc.).

CC CDQ’s research agenda focusses on data management for the digital age and the following topics:

  • Digitalization and future data management
  • End-to-end information supply chains
  • Open data and data-driven services
  • Collaborative data management, semantic integration and linked data

The PhD candidates will be supervised by Prof. Christine Legner and work in CC CDQ’s research team . They will be employed at HEC Lausanne with a competitive salary. Employment rate is 100% and maximum contract duration is five years. Starting date is negotiable between February 2017 and September 2017.

Desired qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in Information Systems, Computer Science or related field
  • Strong interest in one or more of the following topics: data-driven services and business models, business intelligence and analytics, enterprise / data architecture, data modeling and semantic technologies, open and linked data
  • Relevant internships and/or practical experience (e.g. as consultant, business analyst or data architect)
  • Excellent analytical and communication skills
  • Good writing skills and fluency in English; German or French are a plus

HEC Lausanne is one of the leading European business schools, ranked in the top 30 institutions in the world by the Financial Times. The school received the AMBA and EQUIS accreditations for the overall quality of its programs, research, and teaching. It is situated at the shores of the lake of Geneva in one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland. An excellent public transport network links the university campus in just a few minutes to Lausanne, the capital of Vaud, noted for its varied cultural activities.

Informal inquiries and how to apply:
For any inquiry about the PhD positions, please contact Prof. Christine Legner: or +41 21 692 3432.

Applicants should submit their Curriculum Vitae, their university transcripts (bachelor and master level) and an electronic version of a recent research project (e.g. master thesis, scientific publication) by e-mail.

Job announcement: pdf

Related information:
Competence Center CDQ
HEC Lausanne,
Prof. Christine Legner,


Schaeffler receives CDQ Good Practice Award for excellence in data quality management

Schaeffler, the German technology company and automotive
supplier, is the winner of the 2016 CDQ Good Practice Award.

The CDQ Good Practice Award was launched in 2013 as a joint initiative of the Competence Center Corporate Data Quality (CC CDQ) and the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) for acknowledging world-class corporate data management initiatives. The international jury, consisting of data management experts from research and practice, ranked Schaeffler’s good practice top. Joining Schaeffler in this year’s final round of the competition were Emmi, the leading milk processing company in Switzerland, presenting their approach
towards an integrated master data management, and Merck, the German healthcare and life science specialist, showcasing their concept of exploiting the benefits of data analytics for data management.

The good practice presented by Schaeffler illustrates how the company systematically evolved its master data management initiative starting in 2009. A self-assessment conducted two years ago revealed that Schaeffler had successfully built up capabilities and raised the level of maturity in all relevant areas of master data management. Aspects still demanding for substantial improvement were successfully tackled by Schaeffler during the past two years. The company has continued to develop its data management strategy further and communicate this strategy across the entire group. Among other things, Schaeffler uses performance indicators to measure and sustainably improve the quality of its data. Furthermore, the company defined clear roles and processes for data maintenance and implemented appropriate data models and metadata models. All these measures combined have led to a reduction in service processing time and to a continuous improvement of data quality (customer master data processing time has been reduced by 60 %, for example). “Schaeffler is pursuing a strategy of profitable growth, based on key success factors such as quality, technology, and innovation. The mission of our master data management department is to support this endeavor by providing data of high quality in order to ensure efficient business processes,” said Markus Rahm.

When Sales Meet Process Mining – Presentation at the International Conference on Information Systems

Gaël Bernard presented results of the CTI-funded research project “Real-Time Sales Planning and Performance Management (SPPM)” at the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) in Dublin.

G. Bernard, T. Boillat, C. Legner, P. Andritsos:
When Sales Meet Process Mining: A Scientific Approach to Sales Process and Performance Management
Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), Dublin, 2016

Selling has long been considered as an ” art ” driven by personal intuition and native sales talent. However, significant changes have occurred over the past 30 years, as a result of technological advances and changing customer expectations. As one answer to these changes, practitioners and scholars have promoted the idea of ” sales as a science ” , relying on documented, repeatable ways of selling that reflect scientific methods. We argue that process mining is a relevant candidate for empowering ” sales as a science ” via its capacity to analyze, discover, and enhance end-to-end processes. Through a design science approach, we propose a framework for applying process mining to sales, comprising a refined notation and seven process mining analysis scenarios. Our study represents a first step towards gaining a better understanding of real-world sales processes based on digital traces from operational systems e.g., customer relationship management (CRM) systems, or emerging technologies e.g., smart watches.

Further information: Article (AIS library, ResearchGate), poster

Third consecutive victory for HEC Lausanne in the ERPSim competition

HEC Lausanne was the winning team in the international ERPSim competition for the third consecutive year. It was one of the 10 best teams to take part in the final of this year’s competition, which was held on 21 June 2016. The high level of the competition meant the HEC Lausanne team had to pull out all the stops to achieve a great win, proving all its know-how and talent.

ERPSim is the name of the platform developed by HEC Montreal and used at HEC Lausanne on the HEC Business Game course, delivered mainly by Professors Christine Legner and Thibault Estier. It is a simulation which allows students to put into practice different concepts taught during the first two years of the Bachelor programme; in concrete terms, the game was based on selling packs of muesli produced by a specialist manufacturer. Course assistant and researcher Thomas Boillat was the team’s coach.

This year’s competition used a different assessment method, with each team only finding out where they were ranked at the end of each of the three rounds, after HEC Montreal had calculated their position and told them; in previous years, the teams were able to access their ranking directly. This added a degree of uncertainty and placed greater pressure on the teams, in addition to the particularly high level of this year’s competition.

“Our team was ranked third after the second round. It faced some difficulties selling its packs of cereals although its prices were already very low compared with the market,” explains Thomas Boillat, “but it tackled the challenge brilliantly, finally climbing to top place in half an hour.”

Our warmest congratulations to the winners and the team of researchers at HEC Lausanne who supported them!