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T.D. Williamsom’s Cloud-First IT Approach at Gartner’s IAM Summit

Eric Berg

Rick Bennett, the CIO at our customer T.D. Williamson (TDW), spoke at Gartner’s Identity & Access Management Summit earlier this month in San Diego. The companies attending tended to be larger Global 2000 organizations with cloud adoption  at various stages of maturity ranging from a handful of cloud-first companies (TDW among them) and many with just a small number (or zero) of cloud apps currently deployed. It’s grown to be quite an event and the impact that the cloud is having on identity management broadly was everywhere.  In his session on cloud and mobility, Gregg Kreizman issued a prediction that identity management as a service would move from 5 percent of the market in 2011 to 20 percent of the market in 2012 – quite a dramatic growth rate.

During his presentation, “Cloud IAM in the Enterprise: Transitioning Toward a Cloud-First Environment,” Rick shared how TDW is using Okta to increase security and reduce costs associated with its cloud-first approach to IT. This is all massively important when you consider the global scale and remote locations of TDW’s worldwide operations. The company employs more than 1,800 people in 37 countries around the world. And they all need secure, managed access to TDW’s cloud applications, including Workday, ADP, Halogen and Rosetta Stone.

The need to drive consistency across such a distributed workforce led Rick to focus on centralization when he started at TDW nearly a decade ago. The company had the IT challenges of a global organization given their distributed workforce, yet their IT resources (dollars and staff) were more in line with the overall size of their company. Many vendors simply wouldn’t support TDW in each one of their global offices because they only had a handful of employees in each location and thus didn’t meet the scale or volume of support required by these vendors for any individual location. So Rick looked to the cloud, which allowed him to deliver high quality, centralized support throughout the organization without sinking a bunch of resources into infrastructure – and he was able to leverage the global presence of his cloud providers.  He needed partners that could enable him to provide a service that was accessible from anywhere and that just worked, whether an employee was in an oil field in the Middle East or back in the home office in Oklahoma.

Okta is enabling Rick and his team to not only provide secure access to their cloud and web applications but is also helping him support TDW’s move to deeply leverage their Workday system as the true system of record for all employee information, including determining who gets access to which IT service.

On the access management side, employees on the network can access their apps (both in the cloud and behind the firewall) via an internal sharepoint based employee portal with Okta providing SSO and AD integration seamlessly in the background.  Also, when employees are off the network, they can log directly into Okta to access their applications.

On the Workday side, they are moving to drive all user onboarding and offboarding directly from Workday.  This means an employee will be hired in Workday and then automatically (via Okta) the accounts that employee needs in Active Directory and other cloud and web applications will be provisioned.  On the flip side, when an employee is terminated, the integration between Workday and Okta will also ensure that all employee access is removed for their critical business applications.   Throughout the lifecycle of that employee Okta will also ensure that key information about that employee is kept up to date in Workday so that it is always the up to date, source of truth for employee data within TDW.  TDW was a joint design partner with Okta and Workday in developing this functionality and we are both very excited to see TDW and many other customers take advantage of this powerful new off the shelf integration.

Rick’s “all-in” on the cloud and believes (as we do) that cloud vendors simply have the manpower and know-how to maintain and support a constantly available system to support global workforces. Companies big and small can hand over the IT resource drain of maintaining systems and focus on making their customers happy by leveraging cloud vendors as true service provider partners.

Bottom line: Using Okta, TDW has been able to securely leverage the cloud to increase employee productivity, get better visibility into app usage, lower IT costs and spend more time servicing their customers and creating new service offerings to help move their business forward.