From aligning with the business by collaborating with marketing to launch a digital customer credit check product to retooling the IT function to deliver agile rather than waterfall development, Rob Harding has got the big stuff covered at Capital One. He offers a vision of the future, and the determination and courage to escape the gravitational pull of the status quo.

When did you start your current role?
June 2010.

What is your reporting line?
Chris Newkirk, head of international, Capital One Bank.

Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week?
Yes, I meet with Chris Newkirk, who is also CEO of the UK business.

Are you a member of the board of directors?
Yes.

What other executive boards do you sit on?
I sit on a number of advisory boards but do not hold any non-executive director positions.

Does your organisation have a CDO?
No.

What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?
I own business continuity planning and crisis management for Capital One's UK business. I have also been the leader of our digital transformation programme throughout 2014.

How many employees does your organisation have?
Around 250 Capital One employees and a similar number of partner resources.

Does your organisation carry out significant trade in the EU?
No.

How many users does your department supply services to?
Around 1,900.

How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business's products?
I am a customer of Capital One and use our products. I speak to the members of the UK executive team and their management teams. I blog and receive feedback from Capital One employees. I read our customer satisfaction reports. Periodically I attend focus groups and sit in the call centre and listen to customer service calls. I also read our customer complaint reports and follow CapitalOneUK on Twitter.

Capital One technology strategy and agenda

Is your organisation being disrupted by the internet, mobility or technology-oriented start-ups?
Yes.

Are you empowered by your organisation to disrupt from the inside?
Yes.

Describe a disruptive measure you’ve led or played a major part in
We recently launched a digital product called QuickCheck, which allows potential customers to see which credit cards they could be eligible for in three simple steps without impacting their credit rating. This was a joint effort between the marketing and technology teams.

What major transformation project has been recently completed or is under way at your organisation?
We have recently completed a transition from waterfall delivery to 100% agile delivery using the scaled agile framework.

What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation?
In the short to medium term it will allow us a lot more flexibility in how we deliver compelling products to our customers. In the long run I believe it could allow us to think very differently about how we organise our teams around value creation.

How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project?
All big transformations require a vision of the future, and the determination and courage to escape the gravitational pull of the status quo. I believe I have provided the vision and determination to get us through the first big stage of this transformation.

What key technologies do you consider enable transformation?
That would very much depend on the transformation. At the moment I am focused on how big data, cloud, mobile and open source software development tools can transform the way we can do business in the future.

Are you increasing the number of cloud applications or infrastructure in use at your organisation?
Yes.

What is your information and data analytics vision for the organisation?
I see tremendous potential for big data and visualisation tools to supplement our traditional data warehousing and business intelligence toolset. From the information side we are unlocking information maintained within our systems of record through application programming interfaces (APIs).

How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience?
We have seen a significant growth in applicants and customers interacting with us through mobile channels. This has driven a desire to refresh our mobile presence. On the collections side of our business, mobile is changing the way we approach contacting our customers. We are still a multi-channel organisation and will remain so  from that perspective we have to balance mobile investment against other channels.

Our social networking strategy is in its formative stages. We have used it extensively in relation to the Capital One cup campaigns but we are not using it extensively for customer servicing yet.

Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice?
I want the technology team to have the best technologists in the business but I think it is extremely powerful to have technology expertise distributed throughout our organisation. From that perspective I have no problem with shadow IT. I always like to understand what people are trying to achieve in the shadow functions as shadow IT can point to deficiencies within the technology team that may be important to address. We don't currently support BYOD and I don't have any plans to support it during 2015.

Who are your main suppliers?
TSYS, Cognizant and Wipro are our top three.

Capital One IT security and budget

Has cyber-security risen up your management agenda?
Yes.

Does your organisation understand the potential cyber-security threats it faces?
Yes.

Has this led to an increase in your security budget?
Yes.

How much is the IT operational spend compared to the revenue as a percentage?
16%.

What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
I aim to support our transformation towards being a more software and information-orientated business.

Are you finding it difficult to recruit the talent you need to drive transformation?
No.

Has recruitment and retention risen up your agenda as a CIO?
Yes.

Are you looking for recruits in the EU to fill the skills shortage you have?
No.

Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme?
No.

Capital One technology department

How would you describe your leadership style?
I am very approachable and spend time understanding what is going on within the business. I invest time in thinking about how technology can support innovation and surrounding myself with people that can engage in that conversation. I take a lot of pride in delivering great products to our employees and customers, and ensuring that the team feel ownership for our customer experience and business results.

Explain how you’ve supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision
My team has changed a fair amount over the last 12 months. I have recently hired a new head of information security and flattened my structure by increasing the number of direct reports I have.

Through 2014 the whole of my leadership team invested extensively in increasing our digital skills and our knowledge of agile delivery methods.

How many employees are in your IT team?
250.

What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?
It is about 50/50 but expect that to change in 2015.

Does your team include key skilled workers from the EU?
No.