Simplification

Martin Walker

Simplicity is the most deceitful mistress that ever betrayed man.

– Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1907)

“Simplification” as an aim or a strategy is very commonly heard in bank IT departments and major consultancies. Complexity is described throughout this book as one of the main challenges of managing and changing capital markets infrastructure, so surely simplification is the solution? This chapter aims to explain what a “simplification” programme typically involves, and the factors that can influence its level of success or failure (see Figure 14.1). The most important lesson of this chapter is that confusing an aim or very high-level strategy (ie, “simplification”) with a method for improvement can cause a significant amount of damage if there is no effective and coherent model for achieving the goal. Anyone can say, let’s be better, faster, cheaper or simpler – the real skill is in knowing how to achieve those aims.

Figure 14.1

DEFINING THE APPROACH

Imagine a new chief information officer (CIO) of a bank, or at least the head of capital markets IT, looking at the web of boxes and lines involving them, it could make a grown CIO faint. Assuming that anyone has

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