– Focus Topic: New Trends in Technology: Bringing Businesses Closer to their Customers –

MetLife and Babson Executive Education held their third eBusiness Thought-Leadership Conference on January 16 and 17, in Wellesley, MA. The conference brought together leading speakers and a panel of distinguished experts to discuss new trends in technology that bring businesses closer to their customers, with a focus on Emerging Technology (Web 2.0), Data and Analytics, and Multi-Channel approaches to improve the customer experience.

Now more than ever, organizations need to understand how to leverage emerging technology to improve customer satisfaction, retention and growth. New technologies offer companies a view to gain a greater understanding of how customers perceive and use their products and services. In addition, new technologies provide the ability to capitalize on personalization trends to better align products and services with the needs of the end consumer. During the conference, speakers and panel participants discussed ways in which businesses could harness the value of emerging technologies to improve customer service and business performance.

"Partnering with Babson College to host leaders from various industries during this year’s eBusiness Thought-Leadership Conference was exciting and thought-provoking," said Cynthia Smith, vice president, Institutional Business, multi-channel service group at MetLife. "The conference provided a platform for experts to share information and best practices for leveraging emerging technology effectively to deliver on promises to customers and shareholders."

Technologist David Weinberger opened the conference by sharing his view of how the digital world is transforming the way information is organized and stored. Throughout the conference, session topics focused on three key themes:

  1. Emerging Technologies – Web 2.0 and the Process of Extracting Full Value from Emerging Technologies. This session focused on the shift from a collection of static sites and experiences to a global space where broadband connections and multimedia applications deliver deeper content and richer interaction between individuals. "Think about the future more than the past, the future is not pre-built by someone else," said futurist Thornton May (IT Leadership Academy), as he delivered a captivating presentation on the future of technology and thought leadership in leveraging emerging technologies to define opportunities and growth. Thornton was followed by a panel that focused on ways in which technology solutions support the customer experience in new and innovative ways. Panelists included Pete Glyman (Geezeo), Craig Dillon (Microsoft) and Iang Jeon (State Street Bank).
  2. Data Driving Business – Integrating Analytics into your Organization’s Culture and Processes. This session focused on marketplace strategies that leverage data to identify growth opportunities and provide extraordinary service. Tom Davenport (Babson College) described how firms compete on the basis of their analytical prowess. A panel of experts shared insights on competing with analytics to win and delivering value at the intersection of business and technology. Panelists included Davenport, Kurt Thearling, (Capitol One) and Tim Warmus (TIBCO Spotfire).
  3. Channel Facilitation – Getting the Right Mix of People, Process and Technology. This session touched on how businesses are using more than one channel to empower and engage customers. It explored the evolution of customer access through phone, store, Web, catalogs, etc. Panelist Ajit Kambil (Deloitte Research) and Ryan Bonner (Bose) explored this topic. "Universal design of channel interfaces is not enough, we need personal relevance and emotional resonance to engage customers," said Ajit, as he spoke about the multi-channel imperative that faces institutions and retailers today.

According to Patricia J. Guinan, associate professor, technology operations and information management, Babson College, "Babson and its faculty partner with industry leaders through thought-leadership forums where innovative ideas and best practices are shared and research is used to develop ideas and possible solutions that extend beyond education and are beneficial to today’s businesses."

About MetLife

MetLife, Inc. is a leading provider of insurance and other financial services to millions of individual and institutional customers throughout the United States. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. offers life insurance, annuities, automobile and homeowner’s insurance and retail banking services to individuals, as well as group insurance, reinsurance and retirement and savings products and services to corporations and other institutions. Outside the U.S., the MetLife companies have direct insurance operations in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Europe. For more information, please visit

About Babson Executive Education

Babson Executive Education is ranked among the Top 10 providers worldwide of custom executive programs for companies by both BusinessWeek and The Financial Times. Babson Executive Education fosters the spirit of innovation: the drive to identify new opportunities and bring them to commercial realization. It shows large corporations how to be agile, efficient, and effective under adverse conditions and during periods of growth. For more information on Babson Executive Education and custom solutions, open programs, and research centers, visit the website:


Shalana Morris
Joseph Madden