MetLife: building a customer-centric global business with Office 365

Today’s post is written by Jim O’Donnell, Chief Technology Officer, MetLife.

4478.JD_Headshot_150x200MetLife acquired American Life Insurance Company (ALICO) in 2010, expanding our life insurance and employee benefits business to serve more than 90 million customers worldwide. As with any acquisition, there were some redundant systems and tools in need of upgrade and integration, which required precious investment dollars.

Furthermore, MetLife set a strategy to transform itself into a truly global company. That meant we’d need to enable universal collaboration, enhance communication, and foster innovation by:

  • Seamlessly integrating all components of MetLife’s global communication platform to connect employees, leaders, and innovators.
  • Enabling MetLife to fully embrace the strength of our talent around the globe.
  • Embodying our ‘One MetLife’ corporate strategy around always operating as one global organization, and leveraging our scale to deliver a competitive advantage while better serving customers and the business.

In the United States, we had more than 55,000 mailboxes on our primary messaging system, with an additional 40 or so email solutions in use around the globe. Delivering a common platform for communication and collaboration rose to the top of our enterprise priorities. After evaluating alternatives within our standard Project Approval Request process, Microsoft Office 365 was an obvious choice as its enterprise-class communication and collaboration capabilities provided the highly secure, reliable, and scalable platform that we needed to enable MetLife’s vision and strategy.

Office 365 is much more than just email-it’s a cloud offering that provides a whole range of communication and collaboration services that will help us stay current and optimized for success. Our subscription includes automatic upgrades to the latest versions of Microsoft Exchange Online, Lync Online, and SharePoint Online. This supports one of our company goals to reinvest operational expense savings into technology investments, which will make it easier for people to do business with us.

We are one of the first global insurance companies to deploy Office 365 companywide.  Despite being one of the first, we had high expectations for Microsoft. We weren’t disappointed-teams from MetLife and Microsoft Cloud Vantage Services worked tirelessly, and we achieved “service-readiness” 13 weeks faster than expected.

We will complete Phase I, the rollout of 60,000 Exchange Online mailboxes-including employee, contractor, consultant, and shared mailboxes-across 12 countries, by November 2013. Our associates are eager for one, integrated solution that will allow them to collaborate seamlessly, further enabling the organization’s innovation and transformation toward customer centricity and world-class execution.

An added benefit is that our 8,000 Blackberry users can use Exchange Online, and we can position ourselves to accommodate employees who’d like to use email on any mobile device.  We’re also deploying Lync Online as part of this project, meaning that for the first time, everyone in the company will have the capability to see if colleagues are available for instant messaging, a phone call, or web conferencing. We’ve never had on-demand instant communications before, and it’s more important than ever, given our global scale. Office 365 will be a key tool to unlock the innovative spirit of our associates, and to provide products and services that delight our customers.

It is an honor for me to have led my team at MetLife and worked so closely with the team at Microsoft to make MetLife’s vision for this project a reality. With our products, we make a promise, a guarantee to customers, and every decision I make and action I take is guided by a simple principle to honor that promise.

For more, read the press release.