Six Obstacles That Block the Way to Effective Lifecycle Management

You want to set up a successful, global enterprise; so where do you start? First you establish your business, then you incorporate all the tech and processes you need to scale it. And once that’s all done, you get to a point where you work seamlessly with hundreds of contractors and partners to deliver your services to customers around the world. It’s that simple, right? Not really.

Technology is making it easier for businesses to grow their workforce and collaborate with external contractors. But these businesses are still lagging when it comes to implementing a streamlined lifecycle management process for onboarding and offboarding their users—and that means more manual work for their IT and HR teams.

To date, bringing new users onboard has been encumbered by time-consuming, error-prone, manual tasks. This slows down the process of provisioning application access to new users and removing it once they’ve left. Businesses therefore need to modernize their IT with a lifecycle management solution that automates repeatable tasks, upholds security, and removes complexity and manual processes where possible. Unfortunately, this is more easily said than done.

What is lifecycle management?

Lifecycle management is simply the process of moving users of all types throughout their employment journey at an organization. Part of that process is ensuring they have the right level of access to the tools they need, when they need it.

While lifecycle management is often performed manually by IT and HR teams, automating the process can simplify the task by adopting a policy-driven, contextual approach. The benefits are plentiful:

  • Productivity: Automated processes help save time for IT and HR, allowing them to focus on their core competencies.
  • Security: Employees, contractors, and vendors are provisioned and deprovisioned automatically based on the company’s HR system and policies—giving them access from Day 1 and revoking it when they leave.
  • Audit and compliance: Serves as “proof of process” for auditors, and gives IT a centralized view into which individuals have access to which systems and applications—and to what degree.

Getting lifecycle management right is a high priority for your HR and IT teams, but it’s also critical for driving success across your organization.

The barriers to lifecycle management success

There are several barriers that range from business processes to technical nuances that prevent many organizations from achieving effective lifecycle management.

HR and IT integration isn’t easy

Providing access to users can become a complicated task. Most businesses’ HR and IT departments have their own goals and challenges that are reliant on different systems and software. Therefore, integrating the two and having them meet in the middle to onboard and offboard employees, partners, and vendors can be difficult.

Alongside HR and IT, there are also app owners and managers that need to coordinate on providing users with access to an application, along with the appropriate level of access. Having to get input from all these teams slows down the onboarding process.

Multiple user types need specific processes

As businesses grow their extended enterprise, they need to accommodate different working and lifecycle processes. For example, full-time employees will be onboarded via an established HR process, whereas remote or flexible workers and contractors are more likely to be handled in an ad hoc manner. If onboarding and offboarding is done manually, this leaves plenty of room for errors.

At the same time, any lifecycle management solution that’s adopted needs to also function around existing business processes, and new workflows are often needed to automate the creation of accounts. Organizations need to invest time into developing these workflows so as to drive effective lifecycle management.

Provisioning and deprovisioning is unique across companies

All organizations have different processes in place for onboarding and offboarding users. This means that there aren’t any standard practices or out-of-the-box solutions to implement. This leaves businesses spending huge amounts on consultants, professional services, and proprietary point solutions that might not solve the problem.

Mergers and acquisitions add complexity

When companies undergo mergers or acquisitions, moving the entire workforce onto the same systems can be problematic. It’s almost inevitable that each business will have their preferred applications, ways of working, and processes. This makes the decision of which systems to keep a challenge.

Hybrid support is a must

Currently, many businesses rely heavily on an on-premises infrastructure that is inflexible and difficult to integrate with the new, cloud-based, apps that their workforces need. A lack of support for hybrid-IT environments makes it difficult to have seamless lifecycle management across on-prem and cloud-based applications, and leads to potential compromises in security and end-user experience.

Connectivity issues impede progress

Automated lifecycle management solutions require strong connections to both cloud and on-premises systems in order to seamlessly share the right data and permissions to provision and deprovision staff to the right applications. Without the right infrastructure, businesses will struggle to optimize their systems and move beyond manual processes for managing their extended enterprise.

As the workforce continues to become dynamic, it’s more important than ever that organizations enable their teams with automated lifecycle management solutions. Beyond streamlining provisioning and deprovisioning processes, overcoming these barriers will help secure your organization, and let your teams focus on what they do best.

Discover how Okta can help your business achieve effective lifecycle management by downloading our Lifecycle Management: Configure Application Provisioning whitepaper.