Introduction

Martin Walker

A CONVERSATION BETWEEN IT MANAGERS AT A MAJOR BANK:

Manager: I am going to be in Chicago for a few days to work on the front-to-back review and meet the team and users there.

Senior manager: There is a shop in St Louis selling a watch I want at a really good price. If I come to Chicago with you for a couple of days, I can then get a cheap regional flight and go have a look at the watch.

Manager: A watch?

Senior manager: Yes, a Swiss watch. Even with the local flight it will save me a lot compared to buying it in England.

Manager: What are you going to do in Chicago?

Senior manager: Oh, I’ll come along to some of your meetings.

Understanding the complex IT infrastructure for processing capital markets trades is not easy. Simply studying the systems, financial products, regulations and balance sheet is a start, but this can create a false sense of certainty about how things work and how they should be changed. A true understanding of the problems and credibility of the proposed solutions can only come from understanding how the infrastructure has evolved and how it fits within the even more complex, and frequently bizarre, human ecosystems. As a human being

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