2011 was a year of huge IT news. JP Morgan rolled out a game-changing real time risk analysis system, UK Chancellor George Osborne attempted to boost the economy with a raft of technology initiatives, and Jaguar recalled 18,000 cars after it found out a severe risk with its cruise control software.

We've hand picked these and the other most important IT management stories of the year.

JP Morgan supercomputer offers risk analysis in near real time

The investment bank implements application-led, High Performance Computing (HPC) capabilities developed by Maxeler Technologies, allowing it to run risk analysis and price its global credit portfolio in near real-time.

The project wins 'Most Cutting Edge IT Initiative' at the American Financial Technology Awards 2011, and is expanded further across the bank. 

London Stock Exchange experiences severe launch problems after Linux go-live


The London Stock Exchange sets live its Millennium IT matching engine based on Novell SUSE Linux technology, abandoning a Microsoft .Net architecture built by Accenture.

But severe data feed problems occur for three weeks, and the LSE makes a U-turn on the system requirements placed on data vendors such as Thomson Reuters, Interactive Data and Bloomberg.

In other stock exchange news, the NYSE-Deutsche Borse merger goes ahead, with integration chiefs sizing up a single matching engine based on Red Hat Linux.
BATS and Chi-X also merge, becoming the largest pan-European stock exchange, and planning begins for move Chi-X to the BATS platform. But later in the year, a major hardware failure floors the exchange all day.

Stock market data giant Thomson Reuters says it made a mistake with the fast launch speed of a billion dollar desktop product for financial traders, called Eikon, which struggled with takeup and hurt profits.  A month later chief executive Tom Glocer, who spent months turning round the troubled unit responsible for Eikon, announces he is leaving the company. 

BlackBerry's three day outage hurts businesses and becomes a PR disaster

BlackBerry's three day outage in the summer is widely branded a disaster for parent RIM, which is facing tough competition from Apple, Android and Windows-based phones.

The company fails to provide any clear explanation to customers. The IT community is later shocked to find that RIM apparently only had a single point of failure. 

Jaguar recalls 18000 cars over cruise control software fault

Jaguar recalls nearly 18,000 X-type cars after it discovers a major software fault, which means drivers might not be able to turn off cruise control. The problem lies with engine management control software developed in-house by the manufacturer.

And in another IT failure that risks a major accident, the automated undercarriage systems on a Boeing Dreamliner, a new high-tech jumbo jet, entirely fail to work during the landing approach of a domestic Japanese flight carrying 250 passengers. A manual override is employed. 

NHS £13bn IT programme abandoned after being roundly judged as a failure

The government formally announces the scrapping of the £13 billion National Programme for IT in the NHS, dubbing it the biggest IT disaster of the last Labour administration. The decision comes after powerful government committees roundly lambast the Department of Health and suppliers BT and CSC for the trouble.

But the government's trouble with suppliers only seems to get worse. CSC, embroiled in fraud scandals and investor lawsuits, tells the stock markets that the NHS has "no existing right" to terminate its £3 billion contract – and that doing so could lead to a massive court case.
Fujitsu, which quit the programme in 2008, lines itself up for a court battle in its £700 million dispute with the NHS.

Meanwhile, BT is said to be charging some trusts three times the market price for their systems.

Bank email archives thrown open in devastating financial crash report

The internal email archives of ratings agencies and banks are thrown open as part of a major government investigation, demonstrating the risk appetite of large Wall Street institutions before the global economic crash. Frank Parisi, managing director of the global structured finance unit at Standard & Poor's, wrote in an email as early as 2005 that the ratings agency chose to "massage" sub-prime mortgage numbers. And a senior Goldman Sachs employee - Michael Swenson, an executive in the fixed income trading division – writes that the investment bank's traders were urged to "kill" rival investor positions, and cause "maximum pain".

In other banking news, UBS derivatives trader Kweku Adoboli is arrested after allegedly circumventing systems and controls and losing the bank approximately $2 billion (£1.26 billion). The young 'rogue trader', who receives a large swell of support from friends and neighbours, is still facing trial.

Meanwhile, RBS imposes a technology spending freeze, Tesco Bank experiences major problems with a system migration, and Deutsche Bank completes a cloud computing overhaul.

The government accepts the Vickers report recommendations of ringfencing – or separating - banks' investment and retail operations. Banks gear up for huge IT expenditure on the move, which is likely to create thousands of tech jobs, but not until 2016 when their planning is complete. 

Severn Trent denies SAP system caused water shortage

Severn Trent Water denies accusations from the GMB trade union that a water shortage in the Midlands was caused by the implementation of its SAP computer systems. GMB says the introduction of the £70 million SAP system "led to complete confusion in the scheduling of repair work and dealing with leaks" which led to "massive losses of water from the reservoirs." 

Atos Origin bans email

IT services firm Atos Origin stuns observers when chief executive Thierry Breton announces that the company will ban email within three years, to help tackle what it calls "information pollution" bogging down management and wasting hours for each employee every day. But in spite of the initial controversy, the news is later met with support from many other workers around the world who say they would be relieved of a great chore by taking away email. 

Budget promises to boost technology skills

Chancellor George Osborne delivers a Budget with a few major concessions that should benefit the IT industry and other key sectors of the economy. Changes include an increase in support for apprenticeships as well as several forms of business tax relief – including slashing corporation tax from 28 percent to 23 percent. Additionally, boosts to Enterprise Zones and increases in lending to small businesses could aid innovation in the industry.

As warnings continue of a bleak outlook with continued inflation, with economic growth revised downwards, the Chancellor offers some other support to aspiring IT professionals by promising the creation of 24 new university technical colleges.

In a much-awaited change to the school curriculum, pre-GSCE students will be taught how to write software.

Even though the economy continues to struggle, IT staff see a steady, slow increase in demand for their work. 

News International allegations spread to computer hacking

After years of allegations that News of the World journalists illegally accessed people's voicemails, a government committee hauls owner Rupert Murdcoh and son James in for questioning. Meanwhile, the police expand their investigation to alleged computer hacking by the media giant.

News International is also accused of deleting emails on the subject as the police draw in. 

Thai floods hard-drive shortage forces small PC makers to hike prices

Floods in Thailand cause devastation to homes and businesses. The IT industry suffers as a hard-drive shortage results , forcing small PC makers to increase their prices in order to stem losses.

Japan suffers a major earthquake, and the IT industry experiences severe problems, with technology exports dropping sharply.

Protests in the Middle East see countries including Egypt, Syria, Libya and Bahrain cut off internet access to all citizens. 

Authorities close in on Wikileaks and Julian Assange

Following large tranches of sensitive government correspondence being released to the media by Wikileaks, banks refuse to stop processing donations to the whistleblower site. Wikileaks warns it is having major financial problems.

Meanwhile, founder Julian Assange takes his battle - against extradition to Sweden on sex charges – to the Supreme Court.

And Bradley Manning, a soldier in the US who is an alleged source of many of the Wikileaks files, faces trial.

Steve Jobs: Death of an IT legend

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs dies at 56, after a long illness. Both as the founder of the first successful personal-computer company and as the man who transformed a nearly-bankrupt Apple into one of the most successful companies on the planet, Jobs established himself as an icon of business and technology.