Schuberg Philis saves 6,000+ hours of engineering time by automating with Okta Workflows

Technology is great — but it’s nothing without an informed, capable human hand guiding its operations and enhancing its capabilities. Servers and apps are an infinite resource, but qualified experts (and their time)? Not so much. Schuberg Philis, a mission-critical IT company in the Netherlands, understands this dilemma all too well, and that’s why they put their experts in the lead.

The trick, as so many other organizations have learned, is to give engineers the time, freedom, and headspace to focus on the problems that deliver real business value — whether to the company itself or to third-party clients. And enable them with the best possible toolkit, not one that’s preassembled. Working smarter and always focusing on delivering business value. For Schuberg Philis, one of the most effective ways to accomplish this is through the savvy use of modern Identity technology, paired with an array of custom automations that address the unique needs of the business.

“Unconventional thinking is in the blood of the Dutch people”

When it comes to innovation, the Netherlands is a country that punches above its weight, as Fardo Berende, functional business analyst at Schuberg Philis explains. 

It’s the birthplace of Wi-Fi, the cassette tape, and Blu-ray. Roughly 20% of its landmass was reclaimed from the sea, giving vital breathing space to its 18 million inhabitants. This flair for problem solving was forged from necessity and opportunity and remains to this day. 

And it’s true for Schuberg Philis, too. As IT companies go, they’re far from the largest, with just 450 employees on their payroll. Yet they support businesses across the most vital sectors of the Dutch economy — logistics, healthcare, energy, banking, and more. That’s a lot of responsibility and not a lot of shoulders to bear it. 

They needed to find ways to work smarter and deliver business value. Enter Okta and Okta Workflows. Their first task? To rationalize, consolidate, and harmonize the way they handle Identity-related automation. 

Making sense of Identity automation

Before adopting Okta, Schuberg Philis handled Identity automation through custom-made scripts, written in a variety of programming languages. For any given requirement, there was a Ruby or Perl script. Or, perhaps, a Bash script. Or a Go application. As Tim van Wegberg, services operation manager at Schuberg Philis explains, this was a maintenance nightmare. 

“[This approach was] difficult to maintain, it was highly dependent on developers, and it was error prone. So, we started looking for alternatives. Of all the low-code and no-code alternatives we looked at, we picked Okta Workflows,” van Wegberg says. 

For Schuberg Philis, the appeal of Workflows didn’t stem solely from its ability to consolidate its existing Identity automations into a single, coherent, and vastly less labor-intensive framework. It was, in part, because Okta Workflows provided the flexibility to meet unforeseen use cases. 

“The Okta Workflows connector builder gave us the confidence that it could support any future use case,” said van Wegberg. “Many of the apps we wanted to use didn’t have pre-built connectors in any of the solutions we looked at. This [flexibility] was especially important to us.”

Schuberg Philis started their Okta Workflows journey in January 2023. Three months later, they had retired the myriad of homemade integrations. To the delight of the company, this transition concluded swiftly, saving developer time while reducing the burden associated with meeting the compliance needs of their highly regulated client base.

“The Okta Workflows connector builder gave us the confidence that it could support any future use case. Many of the apps we wanted to use didn’t have pre-built connectors in any of the solutions we looked at. This [flexibility] was especially important to us.”


Tim van Wegberg, Services Operation Manager at Schuberg Philis

Compliance through flexibility and innovation

With Workflows, Schuberg Philis was able to seize upon the opportunity to simplify their tech stack, giving their engineers time to focus their efforts elsewhere. But it also allowed them to tackle the challenges of necessity head-on. 

Just look at their integrations. Schuberg Philis has roughly 20 connectors, with many for apps you’re undoubtedly familiar with — Slack, Jira, and so on. And yet, Workflows isn’t using pre-built connectors for these, as van Wegberg explains, but rather using custom ones that allow it to operate within the highly regulated environments it serves. 

“One example that highlights the flexibility of Okta Workflows is our Slack connector. We couldn’t use the pre-built one, as it required far more permissions than what we needed to simply post a message to a channel. So, we built our own that uses webhooks, and it only took a couple of hours to build,” van Wegberg says. 

Similarly, Workflows gave Schuberg Philis the ability to establish reliable, auditable, and visible logging for each custom integration. 

“External logging and alerting is a requirement in our environment. Every connector in our environment sends data to Splunk and OpsGenie,” said van Wegberg. While the company could create a simple workflow that automatically routes logs to Splunk, that would have the undesirable side effect of turning their Okta environment into a “black box” with no visibility for colleagues and auditors.

Instead, it created a template that other custom integrations build upon, where logging and error handling are established by default. This approach provides consistency across all workflows and has evolved into a governance model for all Identity automation within Schuberg Philis.

Flexibility drives cost savings

Workflows has helped Schuberg Philis remain agile and innovative, despite working in some of the most complex and highly regulated sectors of the economy. It has helped reduce the maintenance costs associated with Identity-centric development tasks, freed developer time, and allowed the company to gain proactive insights into every facet of their technology infrastructure.

This, inevitably, translates into cost savings. Schuberg Philis estimates that Workflows has saved €337,619 and 6,502 hours of engineering time, simply by allowing them to automate manual processes. A further €23,365 came from using Workflows to automate the time-consuming task of invoicing, quoting, and accounting. 

“To make sure we keep these benefits with the growing numbers of Workflows and connectors,” Berende says, “our focus for the future is keeping our Okta Workflows environment maintainable with a small team of functional experts.”  

Okta Workflows makes it easy to automate Identity processes at scale — without writing code. For more information on how Workflows can help you navigate challenges of lifecycle management, application provisioning, and account management, check out the following resources:

Video: Getting Started With Okta Workflows - Building Your First Flow

Guide: Getting Started with Okta Workflows

Product Page: Okta Workflows