Insurance company MetLife treats big data with a startup attitude

MetLife is a massive insurance company, serving more than 90 million customers across major markets in America, Europe and Asia. But onstage at Gigaom’s Structure Data event in New York City Wednesday, Gary Hoberman, CIO and SVP of regional application development at MetLife, revealed that when it comes to deploying big data applications, the company prefers to think like a lean, small startup — particularly in its recent deployment of customer service tool MetLife Wall.

“There were about 80 to 90 developers that worked on this project, and we finished it in just 90 days,” Hoberman said.

That lean attitude went towards building the MetLife Wall, a customer service product that organizes particular customers’ data in a format close to a Facebook(s fb) Wall. The technology, designed to better inform customer service reps while interacting with consumers who call in, achieved a successful deployment with direct help from the people at MongoDB, who Hoberman says helped guide the team to executing the service.

“We really focused on document format, which is the right format for presenting structured data for a customer,” Hoberman said. “We really saw the company itself partnering with us.”

Hoberman said the company took a similar tack in deploying its cloud document solution, MetLife Infinity.

“When you think about MetLife as a company, we wanted to view it as reinventing itself, ” Hoberman says of the product, which launched in just six months.

Check out video of the session, including Hoberman’s outlook on recruiting young developers, below.

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Photo by Jakub Mosur