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Why Capital One Attended AWS re:Invent 2015

aws, reinvent, cloud

I felt extremely privileged to have the opportunity to represent Capital One as part of this year’s keynote at AWS re:Invent this October. Most people know Capital One as a credit card company, and we’re one of the largest in the US with more than 65 million accounts. Some also know that we’re one of the nation’s largest banks – number 7 in the U.S. by assets - and that we’re the nation’s leading digital bank.

Rob Alexander Presenting at AWS re:Invent

Few realize, however, that underpinning our credit card and banking services is a technology company. I was honored to help introduce the re:Invent attendees to this critical, but often less seen, face of Capital One. Our products are intangible: software and data. Our customers overwhelmingly apply for our products through digital channels and are serviced through those channels. Digital is truly changing the way we interact with our money, and what is especially striking is the degree to which mobile has become the preferred channel of interaction for our customers. In fact our customers now use our mobile apps twice as frequently than online.

We’re An Innovative Technology Company

Since our business is really about building digital experiences, we have to be great at building software and leveraging data to be the leaders in digital banking. At Capital One, it isn’t enough to have a slightly better IT shop than other banks. We have to be a great technology company. This means modeling ourselves on the best technology organizations out there, including:

  • Massively investing in top engineering talent;
  • Building software collaboratively, leveraging open source software and contributing back to the community;
  • Delivering software using Agile methodologies, implementing DevOps to speed our software delivery process;
  • Developing software on a REST API microservices architecture, and
  • Leveraging big and fast data technologies to enable real-time decisioning.

Why We’re Attracted to Cloud

Over the last couple of years, Cloud has become central to our technology strategy and AWS has become an important partner for Capital One. Like many big enterprises we began using the Cloud in a more experimental way (grass roots and developer-driven) in our labs and development teams. We quickly realized we could leverage the Cloud for development and test efforts more broadly, and have since begun running more critical production workloads. We view the Cloud as game-changing, as it allows us to invest in building great applications for our customers rather than in building infrastructure. The breadth and depth of Cloud technology offers important benefits to us, namely:

  • Velocity – The ability to provision on the fly is huge for our productivity and speed to market.
  • Elasticity – With meaningful swings in demand (e.g. Black Friday and Cyber Monday) the ability to expand dynamically is critical.
  • Security – Because we operate in an industry that attracts cybercriminals of all kinds, security is vitally important to us, and we can now manage data security at a more granular level.
  • Availability – We engineer for high availability and Cloud technology provides the ability to have multiple layers of resiliency.
  • Tools/Products – The pace of innovation of services on the AWS platform is a big draw for us, especially the development of services for large enterprises.
  • Talent – Our forward-leaning approach to Cloud technology helps us attract great talent and we have thousands of jobs we need to fill with Cloud engineers.

Interested in Learning More?

Capital One has made great strides and investments to become a software tech company, utilizing AWS and Cloud technology is just one of them. As we’re transforming the industry, we’re also transforming our technology organization. We’re increasing in-house engineering teams and reducing dependencies on licensed software built by third parties. Our engineers create solutions that drive the future of banking using modern technology and data solutions like Open Source, Cloud, Big Data, APIs, etc. See how Capital One is using AWS as a technology strategy. Watch Rob’s full presentation here.

If you are interested in the solving challenges with some of the best technology leaders, please check out some of the exciting openings we currently have.