If I were to share the quotes from Mark Kimber and Simon Cooper with you without telling you the organisation they lead IT for, you would think this was an interview with two techies in a Silicon Valley startup.\nTheir enthusiasm for technology and, importantly in the current economy, tech people is infectious.\nBut Kimber and Cooper are equally enthusiastic about their organisation, JP Morgan, and its sector, banking.\nAs they point out, JP Morgan is more than a bank: it\u2019s one of the world\u2019s technology leaders and the UK represents a considerable part of the bank\u2019s technology account.\n\u201cJPMorgan is a 25,000-person organisation,\u201d says Mark Kimber, iCTO and EMEA CTO for the firm\u2019s Investment Bank division. \u201cAnd seven thousand of them are technologists.\u201d\nThe US-based organisation, JPMorgan Chase, provides wholesale banking services to clients such as corporations and financial institutions as well as sovereign and hedge funds.\nIn the US its Chase operation is a consumer-facing retail bank which provides traditional checking accounts, credit cards and mortgage services.\nIt is the largest investment bank in terms of revenues, the largest credit card issuer in the US and one of the largest processors of transactions.\nThe bank grew considerably when Bear Stearns, a rival US investment bank, saw its market capitalisation shrink so much that at one point it had lost 47 per cent of its equity market value.\nIn March 2008 the US Federal reserve helped create a deal with JP Morgan and on March 16 of that year Bear Stearns, one of the most famous banks in US history, was subsumed into JP Morgan.\nJP Morgan is a truly international bank with operations the world over.\n\u201cThe markets never sleep; we operate from Tokyo through to Chile and in every market in between,\u201d says Simon Cooper, CTO Core Processing.\nInvestment Bank CEO Jes Staley calls JP\u00a0Morgan a technology company, and the importance of technology is felt right across the organisation.\n\u201cIf we can\u2019t clear transactions then it [technology] becomes very visible,\u201d Cooper says of the pressure he faces.\nThe two UK-based technology leaders provide JP Morgan in Europe and globally with its infrastructure and back end technology. Kimber is CTO for EMEA and CTO of infrastructure globally, which includes the processing platforms for financial transactions, in short the infrastructure and production environment.\nCooper, meanwhile, provides the back end systems for the global investment bank, which includes the processing platforms for transactions, which Kimber describes as the \u201cengine\u201d of the bank.\n\u201cOne of the things I like about the organisation is that it is very team-oriented, so we are two members of a wider technology team and it\u2019s a very supportive set of relationships,\u201d Kimber\u00a0explains.\n\u201cWe are joined at the hip and it is definitely a case of two heads are better than one,\u201d Kimber says of his relationship with Cooper, who sees his interactions with the iCTO as a significant part of his role.\n\u201cMy role is two-fold: to invest in the technology to make technology a better fit with the business, and to give support to Mark. As and when something happens we support Mark\u2019s team and I think it\u2019s a very good split as the investment team doesn\u2019t get bogged down keeping infrastructure running.\n\u201cIt also means I don\u2019t get woken up at night,\u201d he says with a definite smile. \u201cIt relies on a very good relationship and a high level of trust,\u201d says Cooper.\nNational coverageIn terms of reporting lines, Cooper works for the Chief Administration Officer (CAO) of the investment bank, who reports to the investment bank CEO. Kimber also reports to the CAO and to the Head of Markets Strategy.\nBetween them their operations cover both ends of the UK, with Kimber based in London but spending a lot of time at the bank\u2019s Glasgow centre, and Cooper based in Bournemouth but spending a lot of time in London.\n\u201cThe big challenge is data management, as volumes are going through the roof and the market is moving to higher volumes and smaller tickets and that means more and more data,\u201d says Cooper.\n\u201cI think back to when I started and we worried about databases of 100 megabytes, now we don\u2019t worry about terabytes. It brings a whole new set of challenges on tier management, backup policy and disaster recovery. When you are looking at large scales of data, the decisions we make are very different to five years ago.\n\u201cThe bank has a mix of third-party software and in-house-developed applications. The challenge is how you plug it all together, because always buying and always building is not the way,\u201d Cooper adds.\nJP Morgan has an IT budget represents just 10 per cent of the bank\u2019s turnover. Outsourcing is a very small part of the organisation\u2019s strategy.\n\u201cWe have some great technology clients and we are very close to some of the emerging trends, so we benefit from the influence with the technology markets,\u201d says Kimber.\n\u201cThe challenge is in joining the technology and getting the benefit for JP Morgan. For example we are doing some really interesting stuff around low latency, cloud, big data and mobility.\n\n\u201cI like marrying big suppliers with small providers of niche solutions. It is one of the elements I love about the job, as it really encourages innovation and for companies to work outside of their established working practices. Once you get the technologists together it\u2019s pretty exciting and you couldn\u2019t ask for more as a CIO.\n\u201cWe are seeing an increasing use of tablets and there seems to be this sense that it\u2019s OK to use a variety of devices to work. It\u2019s terrific at a senior level, but the biggest concern is that we have the right security in place. In Glasgow we have a centre of excellence that has developed a wide range of mobile apps that promote productivity or supply access to our underlying platforms.\u201d\nThere is a bigger business imperative to this innovation, of course.\n\u201cAs a technology organisation we are mid-way through a transformational strategic re-engineering programme (SRP) and this year is vital for delivery. Delivering on the SRP and continuing to look at every operation to manage our cost base effectively will be a big priority in the financial year,\u201d adds Kimber.\n\u201cWe are also looking at how we foster innovation and respond swiftly and effectively to market changes. I have seen a lot of change and that will continue, so we need to respond swiftly. It all puts a lot of pressure on the technology department.\u201d\nKimber says the \u2018electronification\u2019 of banking means that JP Morgan customers come face-to-face with many aspects of the bank, one of which is the strength of their technology.\n\u201cOver the course of seven years JP Morgan has built or acquired a vast portfolio of applications and tech platforms and the SRP programme is about getting to a target end state of fewer and better applications and technology. We are two years into it and there has been 100 per cent delivery on milestones so far.\n\u201cWe want one system per asset class and function. Supporting fewer applications and providing a better service to the market is the goal,\u201d he says.\nCentral bankFor Cooper the transformation is a move to service-oriented architecture (SOA) so that JP Morgan can get maximum re-use out of the information it has.\n\u201cConstantly driving the cost lower because of the small-ticket world order means the technology price becomes very clear to the bank,\u201d he says.\n\u201cThe UK is well placed in global investment banking, literally so because of its central geographical location in the world. So, we have a high level of investment in this country. Asia and America are on either side. If you think of the world as a Venn diagram, we are the bit in the middle,\u201d Cooper says of why such a significant amount of the JP\u00a0Morgan IT estate is in the UK.\n\u201cSo I think it\u2019s a great place, but then I would,\u201d Cooper jokes.\nIn each of the three zones of Asia, Europe and the Americas, JP Morgan has two technology centres and Cooper says this strategy ensures that the organisation can attract the best technology talent in each market.\nThe organisation has IT operations in Singapore, Mumbai, New York, Delaware and London, but a significant component of Cooper\u2019s team is based in Bournemouth, Dorset.\nJP\u00a0Morgan is the largest employer in the south coast resort, and it\u2019s not just the sunshine that has drawn it there.\n\u201cBournemouth is a good stable workforce, while London is a very liquid recruitment market and higher cost. We make logic-based decisions on how to split the workload across our sites,\u201d Cooper explains.\n\u201cI tell my Bournemouth team the only difference between them and the London team is the commute home. They are a very committed bunch. There is an emerging financial sector in Bournemouth with Barclays, London Victoria and IBM down here. JP Morgan has been here for 25 years and employs 4500 people.\u201d\nAs with any significant global enterprise, JP Morgan has a sizeable investment in India, which helps the bank attract the wealth of technology talent India has to offer.\nCooper says that the JP Morgan operation on the subcontinent is not a way for the bank to benefit from wage arbitrage.\n\u201cIt\u2019s an emerging economy, and the price difference from the major financial centres will get squeezed, but you must find the right people and the right operating model for the right reasons. A lot of organisations have found themselves cheap headcount in India, but cheap is no more efficient.\n\u201cOur Mumbai team are treated no differently to our other technology hubs,\u201d Cooper says of the people leadership ideology he follows. \u201cSo we have a very low staff attrition rate and very high output.\u201d\nGraduate challengesWith hubs in the three economically important global regions and a track record that has accumulated interest during the credit crisis while other banks have faltered, it\u2019s interesting to hear from both Cooper and Kimber that one of their most difficult challenges is to secure the right calibre of recruits, especially graduate recruits, for their technology teams.\n\u201cWe have struggled to articulate that we are a significant technology firm,\u201d Kimber admits. \u201cSeven thousand technology staff globally is bigger than a lot of major technology suppliers.\n\u201cIn the UK we have the \u2018Be the Spark\u2019 graduate recruitment scheme, which puts out the message that we are doing some really interesting stuff with high-performance computing, for\u00a0example.\n\u201cThe competition for graduate talent continues to get hotter and hotter every year, and the calibre of graduate that we are seeing is very high,\u201d Kimber says.\nChallenged on recent reports that the UK faces losing a generation of unemployed graduates, especially those with computing education, Kimber sees a different picture.\n\u201cPeople like bad news, but the reality is probably somewhere in the middle as we see a lot of high-quality candidates in our recruitment process.\n\u201cThere is growing recognition that being in technology in our sector is one of the most exciting ways to be involved in banking because they want to be building exciting things. It is a tough environment, but it\u2019s extremely rewarding for what you get access to,\u201d Kimber says.\nAsked if the bad reputation the banking sector has garnered from recent failures of banks such as RBS, Kimber admits it added to the challenge.\n\u201cIt\u2019s probably fair to say that in the past, the banking sector hasn\u2019t told a good story of its use of leading-edge technology and the opportunities for graduates,\u201d says the iCTO.\nCooper agrees. \u201cThe big traditional tech firms are often seen as the best option, but in my mind we have a very attractive story,\u201d he explains.\n\u201cWe have a technology website and a marketing campaign to tell that story rather than the banking story, so we are now getting that message out.\n\u201cThis is increasingly a technology-centric company, so we have an imperative to find the best technologists we can, and a good percentage of your technology workforce comes in at the entry level. What I see from graduates is a set of super-smart, highly motivated people,\u201d says Cooper.\nLike the multi-faceted graduates it is keen to attract, when you take a closer look at JP\u00a0Morgan the organisation is more than just an investment bank.