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About usHow to find usprof. dr. E.O. (Bert) de Brock

prof. dr. E.O. de Brock

Professor Business Information Modelling
prof. dr. E.O. de Brock


1966 ‑ 1971: High school, Groningen
(o.a. 2nd at the national Dutch Mathematics Olympiad)

1971 ‑ Jan. 1979:

Mathematics at the University of Groningen
Specialization: Logic and Foundations of Mathematics

  • Mathematical Linguistics
  • Discrete Mathematics

MSc (cum laude) in January 1979
on a topic in modal logic, supervised by prof. J.F.A.K. van Benthem.
I also earned the degree to teach Mathematics and Physics at high school level 


On 16 March 1984, I earned my PhD at the Eindhoven University of Technology;  my dissertation is titled “Database Models and Retrieval Languages”.  Supervisors were prof. W. Peremans and prof. F.E.J. Kruseman Aretz.

Additional courses

Spring 1992: The technical manager
February 1996: Chairmanship for managers
April 1997: Datamining
September 2002: Coaching leadership
August 2003:

Insight into influence

Employment history

sep 1977 - aug 1978

Student assistant, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Groningen

feb 1979 - aug 1983

Research assistant, Faculty of Mathematics and Computing Science, Eindhoven University of Technology

sep 1983 - jul 1985

Assistant professor, Faculty of Mathematics and Computing Science, Eindhoven University of Technology

aug 1985 - jul 1989

Assistant professor (one day a week), Faculty of Mathematics and Computing Science, Eindhoven University of Technology

aug 1985 - feb 1990

(Senior) Researcher at Philips Research Labs, until February 1987 in Eindhoven, after that in Geldrop (NL) 

mar 1990 - aug 1993 Director of the IT-company Remmen & De Brock, Eindhoven
sep 1993 - may 2005

Associate professor of Information Technology, in particular Software Engineering Fac. of Management & Organization, University of Groningen (part-time since Sep. 2003)

sep 2003 - may 2005 Professor of Business Intelligence, Hanze University Groningen (part-time)
jun 2005 - now

Full professor of Business Information Modelling, Fac. of Management & Organization, University of Groningen



Organizational and management experience

My most important organizational and management experience was gained during my 3½ years as one of the two founders/owners/directors of the IT company Remmen & De Brock. In a very intensive manner I experienced a wide variety of aspects of organization and management in a business context. We started our company from scratch in March 1990 with five employees (including ourselves), doubled within a year, and finally consisted of 13 people. Our employees were mainly young and highly educated professionals. In such a professional environment, managing your employees in fact consists for the most part of coaching and guiding (in stead of directing) them.


Our company was an externally oriented, customer-centered start-up, active in the following areas: developing and teaching (post-academic) courses, consultancy and contra-expertise, and developing tailor made information systems for its customers (from information analysis via design to realization).

So, almost all our assignments were project-like in nature. Besides my general management tasks, I also was the project leader of various system development projects carried out by our company as well as of our curriculum development project ‘Application Control’ mentioned under Curriculum development. Controlling the progress, meeting the deadlines, and delivering the desired results set by (or with) our customers were crucial tasks in such operational environments (with several projects running concurrently). My communicative and reporting skills were of course important, as well as a systematic way of working. In that period I clearly developed a broader vision and experience in the world of ICT.


Being one of the owners/directors of such a young start-up company one gets a very intense and broad management experience as a general manager, because there is no board of directors or other supervisory board, no other share-holders, no staff or support departments, no company history, etc. to rely on or to give boundary constraints, a vision, a general strategy, professional support, experience in corresponding situations or previous cases, etc. Everything has to be decided and settled completely by the owners/directors. To mention a few points from my own experience:

- developing a strategic vision

- designing and realizing our organizational structure

- negotiating with prospects as well as negotiating with suppliers

- taking investment decisions

- determining the salaries and salary increases of our employees

- designing a pension arrangement for our employees

- estimating, planning, and budgeting projects (including sizes and lead times)

- controlling all financial aspects of the company

- managing the housing of our expanding company in every respect

- taking care of a good working environment for our employees, both at our office and at the customer’s site

- realizing a customer-centered company culture

- initiating and executing employee reviews

- initiating and effectuating dismissal procedures


In all these cases it is important for a manager to take decisions at the right moment, even if not all information is available (Herbert Simon’s bounded rationality in practice).


I also gained organizational and management experience at various educational and research institutes, see below.


As the secretary of the Computing Science Group of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computing Science of the EUT, I gained my first management experience at a university. In that period I also was a member of the section committee of the Dutch Mathematics and Physics Teachers Curriculum.


In the foundation Independent Database Team – Holland, that presented at the Codd & Date conferences mentioned under Research, I was a member of the organizing committee and chairman of the R&D part of the foundation.


At the UoG, I was chairman of the IT Hard- and Software Committee of our faculty (since 1997 the User Group IT in Education), I was chairman of the Education Committee of the study program Technology Management, and I sometimes act as an ad hoc chairman on other occasions in our faculty as well. When I was an associate professor, I also frequently assisted our full professor in the management of our group. (I am considered as a successful, diplomatic negotiator within our faculty.)

As mentioned under Curriculum development , I was also responsible for the management of the development of the ICT-variant of the new curriculum Technical Management Science in cooperation with the computer science group of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

At the UoG and the Hanze University, I have been a member of various “appointment committees”, for positions concerning associate and assistant professors, research assistants, a scientific programmer, and a head of our IT department.

Since a few years I am the chairman of the Board of Examiners of our faculty (Economics & Business), a faculty with more than 6000 students.

Also, for several years I was the chairman of our personnel association which organizes various activities for the personnel of our faculty.

As an organizational activity outside my professional work I mention my chairmanship of the so-called parents council of the high school of my oldest children.



Other practical experience and related activities

From August 1985 to March 1990, I worked as a scientific researcher at Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven and since March 1987 at the Projects Centre in Geldrop. There I worked in the ECHO project at the integration of databases and (distributed) office automation systems. ECHO stands for Electronic Case Handling in Offices. The ECHO system is a generic office automation system (or workflow management system) that guides and even directs the information processes that follow a certain plan or procedure, in organizations such as banks and insurance companies. It was my task to design and implement the catalogue of the ECHO system, i.e., its meta data system, comparable with the role of a data dictionary in a DBMS. The implementation was done by means of the relational DBMS Sybase. As a theoretical spin off I wrote [13]. It presents a formal semantics of the data definition part of data dictionaries. A later extension is [21]. An elaboration of [13] is included in [30].


In Geldrop I also converted the operational (but badly documented) “Service Database” of the service department from the DBMS Ingres (in a character based VAX environment with line printers) to the DBMS Sybase (in a graphical SUN environment with laser printers).

In the course of time I fulfilled various assignments in the area of system development (especially information analysis), consultancy, contra‑expertise (countercheck), and comparative research of DBMS’s and development environments. Below I give some examples of each of these types of activities.


Examples of my activities in the area of information analysis are the design of a medical information system for the cardiopulmonary surgeons in a Dutch hospital and the design of an (embedded) information system in behalf of a generic software system for telecommunication networks. Results of other information analysis projects are for instance the reports [27], [29], and [59].

I carried out consultancy projects for, among others, a ministry, a province, a polder, a school for Higher Vocational Education, and the development department of Oracle, the well-known DBMS producer. Examples of the results of my consultancy activities are the reports [9], [10], [22], and [24]. For an example of a contra‑expertise I refer to [26].

Besides the comparative research of DBMS’s with IDT and Codd & Date mentioned under Research, I also participated in other comparative studies of DBMS’s and development environments; cf. [20] and [28].


Results of other related activities were a contribution to the Dutch “Poly Automatization Handbook” (cf. [6]) and columns in a journal (cf. [32] and [38]). I also reviewed (and advised on) new course proposals for PAO-Informatica, a former Dutch institute for post academic education in Computing Science.

Finally I note that I sometimes advise students when they start(ed) their own company.

Last modified:06 November 2012 01.29 a.m.

Contact information

Nettelbosje 2
9747 AE Groningen
The Netherlands

Duisenberg Building