As one of the first U.S. banks to go all-in on the cloud, Capital One has been a leader in technology-driven banking. In 2020, it became the first U.S. bank to report it had moved from its legacy on-premises data centers to the public cloud. The change has helped the bank shift resources from managing IT operations toward building more innovative, personalized customer experiences.
To make that change, Capital One needed a cloud data platform that could tackle several challenges at once: scaling seamlessly on its predominant cloud provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS); supporting thousands of analysts running complex models simultaneously; and meeting the security and compliance needs of its strict regulatory environment. The bank looked to the Snowflake Data Cloud to modernize its data operations.
High Performance, High Elasticity
Analytics is at the heart of Capital One’s ability to compete. The bank relies on machine learning and other advanced capabilities to guide investment decisions, detect fraud, and provide more intelligent digital products to help its customers manage their finances. Its analysts also need the ability to account for the impact of events like the pandemic to ensure they base their decisions on accurate, real-world information and minimize exposure to risk.
The bank applies a test-and-learn philosophy to continually build and refine data models so it can meet business objectives and metrics. Putting this strategy into practice means thousands of analysts must access the platform and conduct millions of queries simultaneously without any degradation in performance, so Capital One can respond quickly to events and address customers’ evolving needs.
The bank relies on the Snowflake Data Cloud’s elastic capabilities to expand its capacity without needing to provide or configure new infrastructure. The Data Cloud also lets Capital One store and access larger, more varied data sets than it could with its own on-prem data centers. Having this expanded capability lets the bank train machine-learning models for digital experiences such as Eno, its intelligent assistant, which uses AI-driven insights to notify customers about unusual transactions and help them track their spending.
The bank has also been able to control costs thanks in part to Snowflake’s consumption-pricing model, which lets customers expand their usage over time. Capital One began with limited use cases and expanded slowly until it was ready to replace its legacy enterprise-data warehouse. Since moving to Snowflake, the bank has added hundreds of analytical use cases to drive further business insights.
The Data Cloud also provides information that helps Capital One measure and monitor consumption, analyze which departments or business units are using which resources, and ensure it manages usage efficiently. And it can spin up additional computing resources as needed, so Capital One pays only for the resources it needs.
Another benefit to moving to the cloud has been greater access to the ever larger and more varied data sets it needs in order to compete. Snowflake’s Data Marketplace lets the bank access and share data with third parties quickly and securely. Capital One uses one third-party data provider, Starschema, for example, as part of broader efforts to understand the impact of Covid-19 and forecast and plan response scenarios for its workforce and its customers.
Using a cloud platform lets Capital One access new technical capabilities almost as soon as they go online, adopting the Snowflake Data Cloud’s streaming-data capabilities with the assurance that they meet its security and compliance needs—a huge advance over its previous on-prem model, where new features required months of development and testing. Capital One has also reduced the time it takes to load new data sets from 24 hours to an hour.
Working with emerging cloud technologies has helped the bank stay ahead of the market and provide its customers the next-gen financial products and services they expect. With the volume and variety of data only likely to continue increasing, Capital One is committed to using the cloud to meet its analytics requirements in the future.
Learn more about Snowflake for Financial Services.
Disclosure: Capital One is an early investor in Snowflake.