What's notable is that the process re-engineering effort at Capital One is being led by IT "and will then have a ripple effect out to the lines of business," according to Alexander.
Last year, Capital One launched a major transformation effort in IT, committing to deliver all software through agile development methods. Alexander says it helped that when Capital One acquired ING Direct last year, it also acquired "a 100% agile IT shop, so we got a critical mass of tremendous agile talent."
Re-engineering: 6 tips for getting it right
1. The most successful re-engineering efforts are externally focused and place more of an emphasis on increasing business value than on cutting costs or creating internal efficiencies.
2. Lean, agile and iterative software development methods are essential to creating flexible processes. Determining an end state and working toward it is unrealistic.
3. Long-term mega-projects have a good chance of failure. Projects should deliver business value every six to eight weeks.
4. Organize IT around business processes, not around the technologies or software applications that enable them.
5. Technology automates processes. It shouldn't determine them.
6. Business interests are highly flexible. Technology must be flexible, too.
The other key area Alexander is focused on involves consolidating the bank's 30-plus data production and operation sites into two data centers running a standard set of technologies.
"Before, we had custom handcrafted technology stacks for each application," Alexander says. Standard technologies will enable IT to quickly deliver new services to Capital One's all-important base of ever-demanding mobile and online customers.
"This is really a big deal for us," Alexander says. "It's changing how we do work and also our combination of resources and skills. It will put us in a much better competitive position in the market."
Capital One isn't alone in its need for a new and different mix of skills in its re-engineered IT organization. Virtually all IT executives involved in re-engineering or transformation efforts list talent acquisition as a major challenge and priority.