It’s no secret that technology is changing nearly every aspect of how we work, live, and interact with each other every day. At Capital One we have embraced the change, evolving our business model and the way we work to continually provide our customers with innovative banking solutions and a great customer experience.
Our decision to move to the cloud did not happen overnight, it was part of broader changes we made to our technology operating model that started back in 2010.
As digital innovation has disrupted the banking sector and given rise to a host of new channels and customer experiences, we recognized that to win in the future of banking we needed to re-imagine our IT organizational model, development approaches, and delivery processes.
We began with the assertion that if the winners in banking are going to master digital channels, machine learning, and real-time analytics, we needed to invest and invent like the leading technology companies in those fields—to operate like a bank that a technology company would build. This meant making a commitment to developing our own software, attracting and growing software engineering talent, and re-imagining our IT operating model.
And that’s exactly what we’ve done. Today, we’re taking a cloud-first approach to all development. We chose AWS as our predominant cloud infrastructure supplier because they offered the tools and agility we need as a large enterprise.
But our cloud migration efforts did not come without inherent challenges. Our primary concern was to protect the sensitive financial information our customers entrust us with every day – a responsibility we take with utmost seriousness. We worked closely with our security and risk teams and have invested in strong cloud governance and security processes.
But I would argue that the most impactful change we have made, has been our commitment to building a top-notch in-house engineering team. We’ve hired thousands of software engineers over the last five years and have focused on empowering them with the real-time technology stacks they need to rapidly innovate, build, and deliver new products.
In fact, one of the key ways we have been measuring success over the past several years has been the happiness of our developers – it means a lot to us that our developers are engaged and that we are able to attract top talent. To this end, we have made investments in education – creating a comprehensive training program with AWS – and we now employ one of the largest shares of AWS-certified developers in the country. Today, a full 2 percent of all AWS-certified developers work at Capital One.
As we look to the future of our cloud journey, two things remain our top priorities and can serve as a model for other companies looking to transforming their technology practices. First and foremost, it’s important to keep the customer front and center. This is not about technology for the sake of technology – it’s about harnessing technology and data to better anticipate and deliver on our customers’ changing needs. Second, you need to constantly be thinking about the needs of your talent pool, how to give them the resources and technology they need to grow in their roles and develop disruptive products that exceed customer expectations.
Ultimately, I’ve found that in striving to keep our team of developers happy, we have discovered the formula for winning the future of the financial services industry and providing our customers with the best banking experience possible.
Biba Helou, Managing Vice President, Cloud Services, Capital One, shared her insights on Capital One’s journey to the public cloud at our recent Doppler Live event. CTP hosts the Doppler Live event series across the country, attracting innovators from all industries to network and learn about the transformative business benefits of digital innovation and cloud adoption. The event hosted a panel of cloud thought leaders and innovators including Biba Helou and Leigh Heyman, former senior policy advisor for The Office of the CTO during the Obama Administration.