Sun Life Financial redirects non critical IT budget to spruce up tech posture

 

 

In Conversation with Chandan Barve, VP and Chief Administrative Officer, ASC

 

 

 

April 28, 2020

Sun Life Financial redirects non critical IT budget to spruce up tech posture

Amid the covid 19 crisis, the Global Inhouse Centre of Canadian financial services company, Sun Life Financial Asia Service Centre India, is baselining projects that can be accelerated, re-scoped and deferred.

With its history dating back to 1865, Sun life financial is one of the oldest financial companies in the world. That however has been possible only because of the company’s constant endeavor to evolve with times and remain agile. 
 
In an interview with ETCIO, Chandan Barve, Chief Administrative Officer, Enterprise Asia & Site Head, Sun Life ASC India, the Global Inhouse Centre of the group, talks about how he has managed to mitigate some of the risks coming along through the Covid-19 situation by redirecting non critical IT budgets.

How are you handling the Covid-19 situation ? 
In keeping with our global vision of creating a Digital Enterprise, we have invested in distinct technologies over the years. This has helped us to be prompt and responsive to the current crisis and also remain aligned to local policies and guidelines. Some of our key functions already had flexible working options and both technologies and processes were in place already. 
 
We moved gradually towards optimum levels of staffing operating remotely keeping them socially distant and protected, while ramping up our efforts to productive business operations. We also had to handle intermittent technical issues but we have also been able to swiftly educate our people with newer ways of working and our teams have responded with resilience and accountability. 
 
Fortunately for us, having made progress on our digital journey, and active systems and technologies helped us fasten the process.

How are you dealing with budgetary challenges at a time when business is hit hard? 
 
At an organizational level, we are keeping a keen focus on our strategic initiatives and also maintaining fiscal discipline. We are baselining projects that can be accelerated, re-scoped or deferred. However, we are not compromising projects that have impact on business outcome, client experience, employee productivity or ease of operation. 
 
There has been no change in the IT budget as of now for 2020. However, we have redirected few of the non-critical IT projects budget to further spruce up our Technology posture. 
 
How are you managing Business Continuity Planning (BCP) amid the pandemic?

Sun Life has a Business Continuity framework, agile and nimble, which is periodically stress tested for various crisis situations, including pandemic outbreaks. 
 
Critical components include, staying updated on and in compliance with all the administrative directives from the central & state authorities. Crisis Management team, comprising the senior most leaders, are leading recovery efforts and business continuity. 
 
We have prioritized clients and employees at the core of all decisions while driving business outcomes. Proactive measures were taken to ensure seamless experience for clients and support them during the COVID-19 crisis. In a few countries in Asia, clients have been given a longer grace period for premium payment, expanded eligible treatment facilities, and provided 24-hour claims payments. Part of our response for employees included setting up an online IT Helpdesk support team, to address any issues while they work from home. 
 
Additionally, the recovery of critical services was enhanced by redeploying our cross skilled and fungible talent to meet incremental servicing requirements generated by Covid 19. 
 
With the threat landscape more vulnerable now, how are you securing data? 
 
Being a trusted global financial organization, information and data security practices are intrinsically critical for our business operations and processes. In a scenario where a large part of our workforce is operating remotely, we are ensuring a secure connection to the Sun Life network by ensuring VPN only usage on company-owned hardware with up-to-date security features, to prevent any infected data into our network. 
 
Antivirus are always kept up to date with remote access policy configuration for auto-update of virus definition. We have robust email filtering in place to prevent malware and SPAM into our organization. We are also consistently communicating with employees on best security practices and circulating information and data security videos to educate them about the same. We also cover Data security as a topic in our Virtual TownHalls and Leadership messaging.

 

About Sun Life Asia Service Centre

Sun Life Asia Service Centre (ASC) in India provides Business Processing, IT, and Investment Research shared services to Sun Life's global businesses. The 24*7 centres also offer contact centre and enterprise infrastructure to Sun Life’s businesses. ASC India and ASC Philippines work in perfect harmony to support Clients through all stages of Client and software life cycle for Sun Life in Canada, the US, and Asia. Over the years, the ASC has achieved scale and operational maturity by integrating closely with Sun Life’s corporate functions. The centres support Individual Insurance & Wealth, Group Benefits, Group Retirement Services, Document Services and Client Solutions services for Sun Life.

For additional information on Sun Life ASC, please visit: https://www.sunlife.com/asiaservicecentre

 

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The Economic Times