When it came time to merge two of Canada’s largest financial services companies, they decided to stick to what they know best: making money.

After Sun Life Financial Services of Canada Inc. acquired Clarica Life Insurance Co.

earlier this year, it was concluded that neither was in a position to field the IT staff needed to merge their respective infrastructures, according to Bruce Lauckner, Sun Life’s director, IT business management. He says that while both companies could bring in contractors from a variety of suppliers it would still need help.

“”I would say our processes were very effective, but not necessarily scalable to the number of resources we needed. We were running about 100 contractors at a time and SunLife had 50, and we’re now about 250 and growing,”” Lauckner says. “”So to get that many quality resources with the skills we needed in that quickly, we didn’t believe our processes were scalable or effective enough to do that.””

After going through the request for proposal process, Toronto-based CNC Global Ltd. came out on top winning the 18-month, $20 million agreement. Lauckner says CNC’s willingness to adapt and tailor its processes to suit Sun Life’s needs was the deciding factor.

“”I think most of these vendors can provide bodies, they’ve been doing that for years, it was really who could do this in the manner that we wanted them to,”” Lauckner says.

“”One of the things we asked for, for example, was an on-site resource manager who was an employee of the provider rather than a contractor to them. Someone said, ‘Isn’t that a conflict of interest?’ And we said, ‘We want that. We want them to have as much invested as we do.'””

Dave Baran, director of strategic accounts for CN, says the majority of those hired for the July 2002 to December 2003 gig will be professional consultants and contractors. He says he doesn’t expect to have any problems filling positions with qualified people as the resource pool is brimming. Contract workers will focus their attention on systems integration projects — business solutions and application development.

Lauckner says the deal has paid off on a number of fronts. One, he says he can focus on the integration and let CNC deal with the various vendors. Two, Sun Life gets access to contractors it might not have been able to hire. Three, it’s saving money.

“”The deal we did is more cost effective than our previous program because we’re dealing with larger volumes. We wanted to make sure it was cost effective, but the primary focus was the access to skills we needed in the time we needed them. So as long as we can do that at less cost, better service and better access, it’s just a win, win, win,”” Lauckner says.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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