Just about every company with the combination of lots of customers and lots of points of customer interaction aspires to build the proverbial 360-degree customer view. All too many fail, with disparate systems and data being the usual culprit in failed attempts to gain a consolidated customer view.
Developing an integrated customer view has been on the wish list at insurance giant MetLife for at least 10 years, but it recently took a fresh approach to the challenge by choosing a NoSQL database as the platform for bringing together data from more than 70 separate administrative systems, claims systems and other data sources. It moved from pilot to rollout in 90 days -- breakneck speed in an industry used to measuring IT projects in months and years.
"We had 60 different teams working together as one group, and they were working nights and weekends not because they had to but because they were excited and wanted to," says Gary Hoberman, MetLife's senior VP and CIO of regional application development.
The choice of NoSQL for the project makes sense because these databases can ingest structured, semi-structured and unstructured information without requiring tedious, expensive and time-consuming database-mapping or extract, transform and load (ETL) processes to normalize all data to a rigid schema, as required by relational databases.