Matching people with technology to create a global strategy
A Morgan Stanley case study

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Page 3: IT and global strategies

Morgan Stanley believes that intelligent, creative use of new technologies is the key to providing the organisation with its strategic advantages. This involves:

  • developing technologies that span products and services
  • providing clients with technological products and services that help them to meet their objectives.

The traditional image of how some new technologies are developed within user organisations is that they 'get worked on' by a select band of 'technical wizards' tucked away in a corner. These personnel tend to belong to the tactical or functional part of an organisation and not necessarily regarded as being central to the organisation's 'business strategy'.

However, Morgan Stanley's approach has been very different. It has placed new technology strategically at the core of its business operations and is using it intelligently and creatively to generate business success. For example, automated machines capable of absorbing and interpreting vast quantities of data and activating decisions on behalf of clients now do work previously undertaken by traders.

In the highly competitive financial services industry, margins are tight and business volume is critical. In its drive to become capable of carrying out more than 1.000,000 trades each working day, Morgan Stanley has turned to new technologies to provide the capacity it needs.

Reaching the target has depended not just on the technological know-how of a select few but on large numbers of employees from diverse backgrounds coming together as teams, becoming fully aware of new possibilities, feeling comfortable and confident with the machines and processes that are integral to the new way of doing business.

In the past, information technology (IT) tended to be regarded as a cost. A change in approach, with IT being viewed as an investment offering superior ways of working and the prospect of a handsome return, has enabled Morgan Stanley to double its market volume within 18 months.

IT has thus become completely integrated into Morgan Stanley's strategy, so that many of the new ideas for products and business developments providea real opportunity to apply technology to growth markets within a global context. For the people involved in technology, this is an exciting time, as the focus of their work is not just on extending the range of tasks such technologies can tackle, but about understanding how Morgan Stanley will improve its performance by using them strategically. The result has been a complete integration of technological and business functions across the organisation.

Morgan Stanley | Matching people with technology to create a global strategy