How Capital One and BNY Mellon are using Google Cloud to drive digital change

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez July 15, 2020
Financial institutions Capital One and BNY Mellon are taking different approaches to their use of Google Cloud, but common themes tie the two financial institutions’ approaches.

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Large financial institutions are often interesting use cases when it comes to their use of modern digital tools, platforms and data to drive change. Legacy systems, archaic processes and a highly regulated industry often means that adoption is complex and difficult to navigate. However, this week at Google Cloud's virtual Next conference we heard from two such customers - Capital One and BNY Mellon - on how they are thinking about digital change and what their priorities are.

Whilst BNY Mellon and Capital One spoke about different types of Google Cloud rollout at their respective organisations, there were also common themes between the two - namely considerations around culture and organisational change.

First up, Melanie Frank, a managing VP at Capital One, explained that her company's biggest hurdle to adoption is legacy tech. She explained:

Older technologies tend to rely on infrequent batch processing and they're just really unable to provide our customers with those real-time and intelligent experiences that they expect. Luckily, for me, getting to work at Capital One, we recognised this early on and actually have been on a seven year digital transformation journey that comprehensively reimagined our talent, our culture, how we work and the technology infrastructure behind it.

Frank said that Capital One's journey through digital change has been "continuous" and has really paid off, especially within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift towards distributed working. Capital One had a vision prior to the onset of Coronavirus to enable its employees to work from anywhere, on any device, at any time - where the company has invested in cloud platforms, VPN capabilities, audio/video conferencing solutions and collaboration tools (namely G-Suite).

Frank explained why Capital One shifted towards a cloud approach and has been making use of Google collaboration tools along the way. She said that there were four main drivers:

Firstly, our prior solutions just had very inconsistent experiences between PC, Mac, mobile, tablet - and we really need to be able to seamlessly switch between devices as we work together. So that consistency in device experience was one. The second was on the collaboration experience itself and that real-time collaboration experiences, the ability for multiple people to collaborate and edit and share content within a document at the same time.

You go back to the COVID scenario, that has become even more important in the current environment. The third is that we had an eye for what our future talent needed and wanted from a tool set. While we have a very large enterprise that was fairly well entrenched with our old tool, we knew that G-Suite is the preferred choice for the generations that are now coming through. And lastly, we knew that we would benefit from the power of ongoing innovation that Google brings to G-Suite as a product.

When thinking about what advice Capital One would offer other organisations considering how to better their remote collaboration through the use of cloud tools, Frank had one urgent recommendation - put change management front and centre of everything. She said:

First it's to acknowledge that you have a lot of muscle memory built up in your enterprise, depending on how long it has existed and how big it is. That is the main thing to tackle here. Our biggest learning is that you cannot actually over invest in change management. So if you think you have invested enough, do more. Do more training, do more communicating, do more everything.

Capital One took the approach of engaging with thousands of early adopters and used them to understand how the rollout of G-Suite would affect the enterprise. This was then extended to the broader change management team and the rest of the enterprise. Frank added:

We invested heavily in the administrative professional community as they had a major change curve, as they were trying to be just as productive on day one of G-Suite as they were the day before on the old tools.

Lastly it's that executive population - you really need and want to have them as sponsors for this type of change for their organisation. Acknowledging that they work very differently from the majority of their team and they might not actually see the full benefits of the collaboration that the rest of the team does. How can you target the things that they will see that they will benefit from? Help them understand what their org gains from it, given that they're not necessarily collaborating on content with each other in the same way that the rest of the organisation is.

Data is a priority at BNY Mellon

Meanwhile, global investment institution BNY Mellon is making use of Google Cloud's machine learning capabilities to make better use of its data. Sarthak Pattanaik, Chief Information Officer of Clearance and Collateral Technology at The Bank of New York Mellon, said that it's critical for the bank to build a "modern, resilient and digital first platform". He said:

In a fast moving world, innovation is central to everything that we do. We have a culture of being nimble, encouraging curiosity, diversity of thought and experimentation. Our collaboration with our clients, partnerships with Fintechs, Bigtechs, our access to data, leads us to build unique products and services.

BNY Mellon has a bi-modal approach to its technology strategy, according to Pattanaik. Mode 1 has seen investments made over the past couple of years in decomposing and modernising the bank's transactions platforms, which now run in a secure, on-premise infrastructure.

However, in parallel, BNY Mellon is investing in cloud technology as the basis for the bank's ‘innovation engine'. Pattanaik said:

The cloud platform allows us to focus our digital capital on experimentation. We can then leverage the tremendous amount of broad, granular and historical data to quickly test our business ideas. We have built a great data engineering team, coupled with deep subject matter experts, has allowed us to engage with our clients and build with market leading solutions.

BNY Mellon is the largest provider of clearance and settlement in the US, typically settling around $8.6 trillion a day. However, on a daily basis it also sees about 1-2% of these transactions fail, which is significant when you are dealing with those numbers. Pattanaik said that the bank is working with Google Cloud, making use of its machine learning capabilities, to try and understand how data can be used to reduce this cost for clients. He said:

This failure impacts our clients in terms of liquidity shortage, additional capital charges and transaction fail charges. We partnered with Google, leveraging the Google Cloud platform, to see if we can predict the probability of a transaction fail 90 minutes before the market closes. Giving our clients the opportunity to resolve the spending transactions.

The democratisation of access to data insights is a game changer for us. BNY Mellon has invested heavily in becoming a data driven organisation. To put data in the hands of all decision makers. This means lowering the barriers of access of data beyond data engineers, to software developers, business analysts, production support, product owners and client facing teams.

Google is a data company - the rigour around the data process closely aligns with how we at BNY Mellon think about data as an asset. Such as data acquisition, profiling, organisation, controls, lineage, etc. In addition, what we have found most impressive is the culture of engineering at Google, which aligns with our engineering first culture. And the direct collaboration between the Google engineers and the BNY Mellon engineers to solve a business problem.


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