MetLife Centers Its Strategy on Digital Transformation

In response to changes in consumer demographics and technological advances, the global insurance and financial services company develops a digitally enabled operations strategy.

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According to the Pew Research Center, in 2016, millennials overtook baby boomers as the biggest generation in terms of population in the United States — and the number of millennials in the labor force (53 million as of 2014) is expected to grow to 80 million in 2020. This demographic change is affecting how companies do business, says MetLife’s Marty Lippert, executive vice president of global technology and operations.

MIT Sloan Management Review guest editor Gerald C. Kane spoke with Lippert about how his company is managing its digital transformation.

MIT Sloan Management Review: How did MetLife decide it needed to transform digitally and how that effort would be led?

Lippert: Last year, millennials overtook the baby boomers as the biggest generation in terms of population in the United States. And the number of millennials in the labor force is expected to grow. There were 53 million millennials in 2014, and there are expected to be approximately 80 million millennials in the workforce in 2020. People in this demographic have grown up accessing services and information in a certain way, and it’s critical for us to be positioned to service this group. They are going to become the largest part of our customer base over the next several years.

At the same time, technology continues to evolve. Connected devices including wearables are expected to increase from 123 million in 2016 to 411 million by [the] end of 2020 globally. And examples of companies starting down the path of intelligent underwriting are everywhere.

These trends are having an impact on every industry. One of the underlying messages here and that you read in the news is that every company is moving toward becoming a technology company.

MetLife knew it had to structure itself to respond to these macroeconomic trends so we recently brought on board a chief digital officer.

How is MetLife approaching digital transformation?

Lippert: We have four pillars that make up MetLife’s strategy. The first is optimizing value and risk. The second is delivering the right solutions for the right customers. Third is strengthening our distribution advantage, and fourth is driving operational excellence.

Sitting in the middle of those four pillars is digital; it’s what brings those four together.


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