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Capital One shifts to DevOps to keep pace with customers

Clint Boulton | Oct. 26, 2016
The banking company is building software faster to keep up with consumers’ evolving preferences for digital banking services.

“Once you go upstream and have development teams truly own their code in production there is an accountability and a quality dynamic that happens that is a very powerful incentive,” Alexander says. “That’s the destination that we’re trying to get to across the board.”

Researchers are also warming to the notion of DevOps as an operational and cultural shift in IT. Gartner says that DevOps will evolve from a niche strategy employed by large cloud providers to a mainstream strategy employed by 25 percent of global 2000 organizations. However, Gartner says that changing the IT culture will prove difficult, particularly for organizations that haven’t yet moved to agile development.

DevOps helps with mobile, analytics development

While Alexander says that Capital One’s shift to DevOps is an ongoing process, the bank has consistently been among the first to implement new financial products, including a mobile banking and wallet applications, through digital channels. It was among the first banks to add the TouchID biometric identification feature to its mobile banking app, enabling users to access their accounts by placing a finger on the home button.

In March, Capital One became the first bank to integrate with Amazon.com’s popular home Echo device, whose virtual assistant, Alexa, enables users to manage their finances with voice commands. The company last week added natural language search functionality that allows users to ask Alexa, for example, how much they spent at Starbucks in the past week. Alexander says this is indicative of Capital One’s strategy to meet customers in any digital channels they prefer to consume.

The DevOps move should also help with Capital One’s use of “fast data” to improve fraud detection and better serve customers. Alexander says the bank is using an array of technologies, including Kafka, Spark, Flank, Apex and Storm, to generate real-time notifications and insights.

These tools are also used to recommend the most appropriate card products to consumers as they are filling out applications online. Alexander says such tools can also help Capital One anticipate why consumers are calling into its call center, based on their previous transaction history.

“Banking needs to be real-time, banking needs to be digital, and banking needs to be enabled by data and intelligence in terms of understanding the customer and anticipating their needs,” Alexander says.

 

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