How Capital One’s own data transformation journey led to the launch of a new software business
Cloud computing has changed the way businesses operate. By delivering services over the internet on demand, cloud computing enables enterprises to grow and adapt quickly and efficiently, with lower costs and simpler operations than on-site infrastructure.
But many business leaders aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to migrating to the cloud. Analysts at Gartner predict that more than 85% of enterprises will adopt a cloud-first policy by 2025, and won’t be able to carry out their digital strategies without cloud-native architectures and technologies.
To help organizations adapt to this revolution, Capital One recently launched a new business called Capital One Software, which is an enterprise B2B software business focused on providing cloud and data management solutions.
“We’ve been talking of Capital One as a technology company for a while now. Not only with the adoption of modern data and cloud capabilities, but also with our approach to developing products internally," said Ravi Raghu, president, Capital One Software, international, and business cards & payments. "The best proof of that is to become a technology company that’s actually selling software.”
Raghu says that Capital One, with its 12,000-member tech team, went through its own data transformation journey when it went “all-in” on using the public cloud, and that experience has, in turn, shaped the way Capital One Software works with its business customers.
“Our clients are now in the same spot that we were [in] years ago,” says Raghu. “As they get their data in order in the cloud to accelerate innovation, gain greater efficiency and productivity, and pursue things like machine learning, there’s a lot of runway here for these markets to grow and develop. Capital One Software will help them solve challenges related to cloud and data management.”
Protocol spoke with Raghu about how Capital One’s own tech journey led it to build business-to-business software, and how Capital One Software is now helping other enterprises progress in their data-driven digital transformation.
What is Capital One Software, and why did you decide to create this new business?
To put it simply, Capital One Software is an enterprise B2B software business dedicated to helping businesses accelerate their cloud and data management journeys at scale.
Creating this new business was a natural extension of the tech journey we’ve been on for the past decade, and really, an extension of the work we’ve been doing since our first credit card and customer in 1994. Capital One has always recognized that technology and data can enable even large companies to be innovative and personalized. Our move to the cloud only further enabled us to use technology in new ways that create exceptional value for our customers.
Of course, this wasn’t always smooth sailing and we experienced challenges along the way. We needed to build tools that didn’t exist in the marketplace to enable us to operate in the cloud at scale — especially in the areas of data management. We recognize that many other businesses are facing similar data management needs as they accelerate their cloud and data journeys, so bringing some of the tools we’ve built and scaled to market as enterprise B2B software solutions just makes sense.
What did it take to get here?
Capital One Software launched this year, but it rests on the shoulders of the investments we’ve made in building a world-class engineering team, adopting modern software development approaches, and building cloud and data management capabilities. We’ve been developing and fine-tuning our own software for years now. As we realized other companies may benefit from what we built, we focused on taking our internal tools and creating the software-as-a-service version we could bring to market as Capital One Software.
Building a business is tough for a variety of reasons, and we’re going into this with a lot of humility. We have drawn inspiration from the venture capital playbook: what happens in every round, how long it takes, and what success looks like. We recognize that it’s not just about the idea or the energy you bring. Success in this space requires impeccable execution and laser focus to bring these ideas to life in a viable manner. That means testing out your idea in the market and getting initial customer feedback, and then obsessing over customer success.
What makes Capital One Software unique?
Capital One is constantly innovating and developing products to solve enterprise challenges, from application programming interface and open-source solutions to artificial intelligence and machine learning applications. We’ve built tools that didn’t exist in the marketplace to enable us to leverage the power of data and operate in the cloud at scale. These are proven solutions that Capital One uses for our own business that we are now bringing to market. So you could say Capital One Software is unique because we are our own biggest customer.
What are some of the business challenges Capital One Software aims to solve for users?
We are focused on providing cloud and data management solutions for any company operating in the cloud. If you think of the kind of challenges that companies face as they try to accelerate their cloud and data journeys at scale — things like data publishing, data consumption, data governance, and infrastructure management — we’ve built tools to address these various needs along the way, and we’ll continue to explore where we can bring our solutions to market to help other businesses address these same needs going forward.
Can you share anything about your software products?
The flexibility of the data cloud platform Snowflake helps companies like Capital One unlock access to their data with performance that can scale instantly. But this can also create a unique challenge for organizations and users who are not proficient in cloud optimization. When lines of business manage their own compute requests and configuration, it can lead to unexpected costs and inefficiencies.
It’s why we built our own tools to streamline our Snowflake provisioning processes, and we are bringing Capital One Slingshot to market. Slingshot is a data management solution for customers of Snowflake’s data cloud platform that is designed to help businesses accelerate adoption of Snowflake, manage cloud costs, and automate critical governance processes. Slingshot helps businesses streamline their Snowflake provisioning processes, adhere to governance requirements, gain detailed visibility into cost drivers, and optimize future spend.
How do these products tie back to Capital One’s broader mission?
Breakthrough innovation has always been the hallmark of Capital One. Technology is central to our business strategy and to how we deliver differential value to our customers. This is reflected in the products, services, and experiences we build, including Capital One Software and Slingshot.
To learn more about Capital One Software, visit www.capitalone.com/software.