Special Preview: The QA Financial Forum New York, November 29th

Adam Auerbach (pictured) is Capital One’s Senior Technical Director responsible for advanced testing and release services and a keynote speaker at our conference in New York November 29th. He’ll explain why the moving to the cloud and moving to continuous delivery go hand-in-hand.

When Capital One’s co-founder and CEO Richard Fairbank launched his digital banking strategy in earnest with a $9.9 billion acquisitions of ING’s online banking business in the US back in 2009, he noted that the US had more bank branches that gas stations. While he could see the need for gas stations, he couldn’t see the same need for physical bank buildings.

Fairbank’s strategy since then has been premised on the assumption that Capital One’s competition is not other big banks; it is technology companies such as Apple and Google. To compete in banking means being recognized as technology player.

At the QA Financial Forum in New York on June 29th, keynote speaker Adam Auerbach, Capital One’s Senior Director, responsible for advanced testing and release services, will explain what exactly that means in terms of testing, quality assurance and continuous app deployment.

“First and foremost it has meant we recognized that we needed to attract top talent in IT,” says Auerbach. “We needed to have a top notch technical workforce that was enabled to drive the complete transition to an Agile environment where we respond to customer needs and get products to market far more quickly.”

Capital One also decided to leverage open source software for that transition, and built its own DevOps open source dashboard – Hygieia – to visualize the app delivery process and identify bottlenecks in the pipeline.

Open Source

The choice of open source tools was linked to the need to hire the best developers, says Auerbach. “Open source and technology talent go together,” he says, “Developers have an expectation to not only be able to use open source tools but to contribute back to the community” . Now we have not only helped develop several open source tools – we are giving back to that community.”

Capital One’s decision to move its IT platforms to the cloud – specifically Amazon Web Services – also followed from the core strategic objective. “Once you set off down the Agile path towards continuous testing and app delivery, what you quickly learn is that the move the Cloud is necessary to incorporate feedback,” Auerbach explains. “Automation and the rest of your architecture has to support the change. You have to do things differently. The Cloud is critical for customization and innovation.”

Just how far has Capital One moved to the cloud? Auerbach won’t quantify that exactly. But, he says: “We’ve moved several of our customer-facing applications to the Cloud.”

One benchmark achievement for Capital One’s cloud-based development was the launch earlier this year of a new mobile banking app. “It went though many iterations before we were ready to launch, but it’s clear to me we are able to incorporate new features far quicker because we are in the cloud,” says Auerbach.

Having decided to embrace open source tools, Capital One established a governing body tasked with ensuring that those tools would would not create licensing or other legal conflicts for the products under development.

With the focus on engineering and open source, there has definitely been a shift to in-house tools and solutions.”

Meanwhile, Capital One continues its technology transition, and away from traditional banking business models. This month it acquired New York-based start-up Paribus, a business that helps digital shoppers achieve price adjustments on their purchases.

Adam Auerbach will be speaking at the QA Financial Forum New York on November 29th organised by www.qa-financial.com. See the agenda here. If you are interested in attending please contact [email protected]. If you work for a financial firm, you may eligible for one of our VIP guest passes.

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