Sun Life brings together time tracking after Clarica deal

Two things you’ll never hear during merger discussions: there will be no layoffs and the IT systems are a perfect fit.

Sun Life Financial Services of Canada Inc. discovered the latter when it began integrating Clarica Life Insurance

Co. last year.

“”Between the two organizations he had six different versions of home-grown time tracking systems,”” says Alan Medcalf, vice-president IT capabilities. “”We quickly discovered that was not a productive way to run our business.””

Medcalf says it had one of three choices: take one of the six systems and re-launch it, buy a time tracking system or buy a professional services automation (PSA) tool that included a time tracking function. Later on, he says, it could be leveraged to do more.

Sun Life chose the PSA option from Changepoint Corp. and deployed a time tracking system over three weeks late last fall. Medcalf says he hopes to deploy other tools like project and resource management later this year.

“”We actually have a business case for Changepoint compared to where were that shows an ROI (return on investment) over three years of roughly 50 per cent, and that’s just for the time tracking component,”” he says.

“”When we look at the business case for harvesting that (resource management) in addition to time tracking then the ROI goes up to three digits.””

Medcalf describes user reaction to the Web-based application as “”diverse.”” He blames the less than enthusiastic response on the timing of the launch. Sun Life is also in the midst of changing HR practices and policies and other systems as well. “”From a change management perspective this is just one more thing that people need to understand and deal with,”” he says. “”In terms of the function that’s in Changepoint we’ve had overall good response.””

Chuck Tatham, Changepoint vice-president of marketing and business development, says Sun Life is a typical user of its product.

“”(It) tends to be verticals that have a high reliance on IT,”” Tatham says.

“”We focus on services organizations and we divide them into billable or fee-for-service companies. . . and then the other market is corporate IT which is internal service delivery. Within corporate IT as a segment there are many verticals — your traditional industry sectors such as finance, insurance, the traditional banking type roles, health care.””

Despite the smooth and speedy deployment of the time tracker, Medcalf is expecting a rougher ride for upcoming projects.

“”We have hundreds of projects being managed across IT right now and to change out some of the toolkits projects managers are using in the midst of integration would be very disruptive. So our challenge is to figure out a way to phase in that function with the least disruption,”” Medcalf says.

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