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4 min read

Sun Life migrates to Atlassian Cloud to power digital transformation

Neal Riley
8 November 22 Cloud
Cloud migration - Sun Life

Based on the Atlassian case study here.

Insurance giant Sun Life is synonymous with innovation and progress in the industry. Since its establishment in 1865 in Canada, the organisation has evolved from an insurance company into an integrated global financial services conglomerate. 

Based on its belief that continued success depends on looking ahead, Sun Life is now on its way to reinventing itself—embracing digital transformation to enhance internal operations and provide a superior customer experience. 

As part of this transformation, Sun Life executed a meticulously planned, smooth migration to Atlassian Cloud, in collaboration with Adaptavist, which helped them strengthen collaboration, increase agility, and become better equipped to support future growth. 

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The challenge

Sun Life is on a mission to help its clients achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives. Making progress towards this mission called for a digital transformation and an upgrade of their internal systems so they could enhance operational efficiency and deliver an outstanding customer experience.

The team had used server-based Jira Software and Confluence since 2008, and later upgraded to Atlassian Data Center on AWS. However, as the organisation embarked on digital transformation, it set out to ensure a mindset change, retooling the team with cloud-based tools to strengthen collaboration, increase agility, and become more responsive to new customer realities. 

Migrating to Atlassian Cloud to modernise their application environment (Jira & Confluence) was a logical step. In doing so, they could simplify their internal systems to centralise information, deliver better speed and performance for their teams, and provide seamless scalability to support future growth.

As Confluence Cloud Technical Product Owner at Sun Life, Cynthia Brind'Amour and her team were at the lead edge of the company’s cloud migration journey. 

As Cynthia evaluated the state of Sun Life’s systems, she discovered that teams were relying on a variety of tools to do their work. The trouble was that, by using disconnected tools, it was hard to maintain visibility into where information resided. 

Although Confluence and Jira were popular tools among the IT and Ops teams, it was common for some team members to each have their own workflows and software (Lotus Notes, Sharepoint, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Project, etc.). 

It became clear to the team that Sun Life’s platform needed to be overhauled along with their processes. Switching to Atlassian Cloud would centralise information from disparate silos into one cohesive platform, and boost team collaboration and efficiency.

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How Adaptavist facilitated a seamless Confluence Cloud migration

Adaptavist began by carrying out a comprehensive assessment of Sun Life’s existing Confluence instances alongside the associated processes and workflows. Once the assessment was complete, it crafted a phased migration strategy to minimise risk and ensure a smooth migration to the new environment.

As part of this approach, the migration of data was split up into five clearly defined phases/waves. During each wave, lasting two weeks, groups of sites were migrated from their Data Center environment to Atlassian cloud. 

Each increment or update of the new environment underwent thorough testing to identify and resolve any issues/challenges before the next phase began. Adaptavist built new instances in their sandbox, during each wave, and moved them to Sun Life’s sandbox for demo to users, remediation, testing and final migration.

This allowed everyone in their team to get comfortable with the new environment gradually, with the least amount of confusion and/or risk. Any issue that came up was resolved before it could impact more areas of the organisation.  

The migration was completed within a short time frame, with minimal disruption to teams. According to Cynthia, “I’ve done four migrations at Sun Life. This one was the most successful. It was nice to hear people who had been through the others say, ‘This one was seamless.’”

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Thorough planning, preparation, and testing made a huge impact on Jira Cloud migration

After winding down Confluence Cloud migration, the Adaptavist team shifted focus to Jira. In this case, they collaborated closely with Paul McNally, Jira Cloud Technical Product Owner at Sun Life, and his team.

Once Paul and his team gained buy-in from leadership, the first step was to assess their current environment. Adaptavist encouraged Sun Life to take the migration as an opportunity to understand what their teams actually needed (versus what they had naturally adopted over time). 

Workflows were standardised to keep data complexity to a minimum prior to migration. The goal was to make the entire migration process smoother and faster, reduce the risk of extended downtime, and ensure better performance and productivity once migration was complete.

Similar to the approach with Confluence, the migration was split up into distinct phases/waves, then users were surveyed to understand how to best set up Jira Cloud to meet their specific requirements. Sufficient time was allocated to rigorous testing to make sure everything was in order and to fix any issues that testing uncovered.

Jira Cloud Migration Assistant app was used to migrate projects quickly and accurately. This ensured all data and user history was maintained once they landed in the new environment. According to Paul, “When the teams came in after their migration was complete, they didn’t see that much difference other than a new link, which has been a big win. People have been happy that their whole history was there and the keys were the same.”

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Efficiency and collaboration skyrockets with Atlassian Cloud

Since migrating their Atlassian solutions to the cloud in collaboration with Adaptavist, Sun Life started noticing day-to-day improvements in the way teams work. With easy access to Jira and Confluence projects and spaces in the cloud environment, teams across the organisation find it easier to collaborate, strategise, and innovate. They are able to work smarter and faster, which allows them to shift focus towards high-level, strategic objectives. 

Migration to Jira Cloud has already resulted in enough time savings to cover 94% of licence costs, while Confluence Cloud has led to an 80% increase in work efficiency. As a whole, users have reported a massive 97% satisfaction with Atlassian Cloud. 

These improved efficiencies and relationships will represent an important step in Sun Life’s digital transformation journey. A more agile, collaborative working environment will lay the groundwork for increased business agility, enabling them to respond more nimbly to dynamic customer demands and retain their competitive edge over the longer run.

Interested in reading more about Sun Life’s migration to Cloud?

Read Atlassian’s full case study
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