Strategic planning at sun Life Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Strategic planning at sun Life Case Study Solution

The case illustrates the strategic decision making process and strategic planning process pursued by the Sun Life Insurance Company headed by Kevin Dougherty in 1994.The company offers the financialservices to the two groupsnamely investment insurance and health insurance.Overthe period of time, the company grew in size andrevenues by adopting an innovative strategy to cater the customers.It utilized the ecommerce model technique to offerthe services over the internet thus reducedthe hassle of maintaining the insurances &administration cost while on otherhand improved the two-way relationship between customer and the company,since it offered the ease of managingandswitching the insurance policies over the internet.

Though Sun Life succeeded in developing a strong competitive edge in the market, however, the use and rising penetration of internet in financial servicesector and insurance sector posited the threat for the company’s competitiveadvantage.In such situation, Dougherty developed two strategic decisions in the organization (1) to develop a special team of 16 managers to innovate and think out of box so to continually elevate the company’s value proposition and utilize the team projects in what manner (2) to sustain and incorporate the retreat process in the organization since this proved to be successful in the first placefor the organization in developing a wave of strong thinking. The CEO has to decide whether to incorporateit as a culture of the organization or should decide a different strategy to utilize the strategic process in developing a team synergy and thus success sustainability in the market.

Keywords:  Competitive edge, Strategic process, Team synergy, Internet,Ecommerce Model


Sun Life Company offers the financial services to the two major groups (1) Investment services (2) Health insurance services. Over the period of time, under the leadership of Kevin Dougherty, the company progressed and reached up to the sales of CN $345 billion in Asset, making it the world’s largest financial service provider. The company from its initiation endured the innovative strategy to keep up the market pace.In doing so, it incorporated the strategy of targeting the national accounts and e commerce models utilization to create and sustain its value proposition in the market, thus establishing a competitive edge in the market.

Though, till time, the company has succeeded in making the operations profitable, however, the company is posited with the threat of rising internet usage by the banking and financial service providers in Canada.This may drive away Sun Life’s competitive edge, since the company offers the hassle free, efficient management of policies and financial portfolio to the client through internet.

Strategic planning at sun Life Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Keeping these issues in mind, Dougherty, the CEO of the company is planning to make innovation and creativity a part of the organization culture so to keep elevating the service level and disrupt the market through innovative ideas and hence maintaining the competitive edge in market. Doing so, the two proposed strategies are (1) To develop the 4 teams with different agenda to work and develop the project on ideas that can be used to utilize the market gap (2) to make retreat process a part of the organization on full or limited scale.These two decisions are tough to decide on certain parameters since they require a detailed strategic decision making process to carve the right strategy and plan. However, since these two major decisions are the key turner of the organization’s strategy in the market, the CEO along with the management team have to decide on the factors effectively.

Problem Statement

The rising use of internet in Canadian market by the financial sectors and banks, may drive the competitive edge away from the Sun Life since it incorporated the ecommerce platform that has allowed it to keep the value proposition secured,leveraging it to develop the competitive edge.

Issues and Challenges

While the management has to decide on the two major strategic decisions, the following are the challenges, the management faces in implementing the process:

  • The teams have devised the 4 projects analyzing the market gap and opportunity, the management has to decide which project to pursue or how to pursue it.
  • Since these four projects have substantial worth, the right path to decide either through social task team, detailed market research or through considering the project that achieved the highest bid value during the Retreat process.
  • Choosing among three alternatives is a challenge since each will either make or break the team enthusiasm and hence the overall strategic plan and process developed in the Retreat Case.
  • In addition to this, since the company has developed the year synergy and strategic process to delineate the efforts in a particular innovative base (Retreat), the management has to decide whether to incorporate the strategic process as an occasional process, or a regular team process or a process to be incorporated in the annual meetings, such has to be decided in detail, since it will drive away the team enthusiasm and maintenance of the culture in the long run...............

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