A Capital Ideal

A Capital Ideal

At Capital One IT is the business and the business is IT. It's an extremely successful formula.

Read this story to learn:

  • Why IT, marketing and operations are tightly aligned at Capital One
  • How the company cultivates an alignment culture
  • How IT creates value for this US financial services company

US financial services company Capital One likes to characterise itself as an organisation that is built for change and built to last. Built for change, because it says it is wired to innovate at high speed and turn on a dime to pursue new opportunities and adapt to changing market conditions. Built to last, because although the company knows it cannot predict the future, it says it is confident it is as ready as it can be for whatever fate might bring.

And it has achieved such flexibility by adopting a proprietary information-based strategy (IBS) from its inception, which places IT at the core of everything the company does. The IBS, conceived when Capital One was but a twinkle in its founders' collective eyes, brings marketing, credit, risk, operations and IT into a flexible decision-making structure to further the organisation's mission of offering financial solutions tailored to an individual customer's needs.

And Capital One says the IBS has given it the answer to the question at the forefront of every CIO's mind: "What is value, and how can I create it in my organisation?"

That was the theme of a presentation made by Capital One CTO Roy E Lowrance, at the 2003 CIO Forum Industrywide, a strategic IT Forum for North American companies in the manufacturing, retail/wholesale/distribution and health-care fields. Lowrance has no doubt Capital One's IT-centric business strategy has driven the company's success. And he says building the business around IT is driving true IT value throughout the organisation.

"With the era of irrational exuberance far behind us, the disintegration of the IT industry and the contraction of budgets, IT leadership is coming under increasing scrutiny to provide tangible business results for the organisation," Lowrance says. "By placing technology at the core, IT has become the central nervous system of Capital One's information-based strategy. Through a definitive, yet simple IT strategy, Capital One has aligned with the business to drive game-changing strategies."

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