Flink cuts costs and securely boosts efficiency with Workforce Identity Cloud
integrated within a year
time to onboard employees, compared to 1-3 days previously
in human errors due to automated provisioning
to resolve access requests
on onboarding and offboarding new users
“We really depend on Okta for our user management and authentication. There's very little that we can't do in this regard.”
—Andreas Michael, Senior IT Integration Engineer
The digital age has transformed the way we shop, not only for clothing and luxury items, but also our day-to-day needs. Online supermarket Flink promises to deliver groceries in minutes from a network of small local warehouses, using a fleet of e-bike riders. Since its launch in 2020, Flink has become one of the strongest competitors in the European e-commerce market, with its services available in more than 100 European cities.
The grocery delivery market in Europe is highly competitive, with time to market critical. Companies need every advantage they can get, and Flink was being held back by slow-moving systems: all of its on- and off-boarding was carried out manually, which was extremely time-consuming, given the short-term nature of its frontline workforce. The company’s rapid growth meant a swift increase in employee numbers and multiple new applications and tools being brought into the business requiring integration and provisioning.
To meet this increase in demand and the resulting expansion of employee infrastructure, identity and lifecycle management became top priorities. Flink saw Okta as a natural fit to help it effectively and efficiently manage its employee experience.
Cutting costs by managing access
Flink brought in security specialist Distology Studios to lead the design, planning, and rollout of Okta’s Workforce Identity Cloud (WIC) and ensure security best practices were implemented across Flink’s environment.
“We could see upwards of 300 apps being interacted with in some shape or form by individuals within the business, even free accounts on certain tools that were also procured by the company,” says Martyn Roberts, Distology Studios’ European Services Director. “So that was one of the things to gain control over.”
Single Sign-On (SSO) is now providing critical access, even enabling new joiners to securely authenticate into the applications they need in order to hit the ground running from day one, fast-tracking their productivity. So far, 85 of the 300 apps being used by Flink employees have already been integrated, with another 25 lined up.
While those integrations happened over the course of a year, “in terms of effort, it was around two months,” says Roberts. “Doing this as custom SSO/LCM integrations, using the prior IdP and custom code, would have taken 18-24 months.”
At a time when Flink was focusing on ROI, streamlining and managing the access its employees had to different tools was an effective means of reducing SaaS costs. “We’ve been using Okta for that a lot,” says Andreas Michael, Senior IT Integration Engineer , Flink. “The marketplace integrations help to remove users from different applications. This is one of the ways that we can achieve profitability.”
Automated approvals drive greater efficiency
Flink tackled the challenges of managing access for short-term employees by automating its provisioning processes. The combined use of Okta’s Workflows and Lifecycle Management solutions has allowed the team to drastically reduce manual processes and manage access via information fed from the company’s HR system.
With Okta, Flink created 50 Workflows to ensure it can sync and clean up users both on Okta and on target apps. They are also used for device management, monitoring, and alerts.
The Workflows help to manage IT asset inventory, automating the resolution of service desk application access requests. For example, if an employee requests access to a particular tool, a workflow checks if that person is eligible based on their preassigned user group. If so, the approval and access can then be granted instantly through Okta.
“Delegated Workflows allow us to wrap up things that were manual and error-prone previously,” says Roberts. “The support team would previously have the ability to carry out administrative or support tasks on user accounts, which involves sequential steps. Extending the admin interface with delegated workflows gives us the ability just to present a form that captures the necessary data, and then workflows do the rest with the notification in Slack. This ties together things that were otherwise difficult to document, or a bit tiresome, or time-consuming.”
The results have been staggering. Flink has achieved a 75% time-saving in the onboarding and offboarding of new users. It now takes just one hour to onboard new users, compared to one to three days before the implementation of Okta. The team has doubled its execution speed to resolve access requests and automated provisioning has reduced errors caused by manual processes by around 50%.
Shutting down vulnerabilities—fast
As it continues its upward trajectory, Flink is aiming to strengthen its policies on identity and device management to shut down any system vulnerabilities and ensure maximum security. “We want to ensure that no unwanted parties access our data, and we can monitor users and take necessary actions,” Michael explains.
“We use MFA for every application access,” says Michael. “In our corporate environment, we use mostly Okta Verify. But depending on the situation, we allow FIDO, SMS, and Email MFA. At our hubs, it is essential to use MFA bound to devices to ensure credentials of different apps, emails, and devices can be securely shared between the different parties that need access.”
“We’re now moving all our user profiles from an existing user repository into Okta,” says Michael. “Regardless of our focus, security is never something that we're going to look away from.”
Since integrating Okta, Flink has improved security, visibility and governance across all of its apps and systems. It has also been able to cut costs by consolidating access to apps and tools as well as boost efficiency with automated provisioning.
The end result is a straightforward and frictionless experience for Flink’s employees. They are empowered with access to the resources they need to onboard quickly and, most importantly, deliver their customer’s groceries on time.
Founded in Berlin in 2020, Flink is a rapidly growing ecommerce startup offering online grocery delivery via an app. Its delivery services are available in more than 100 cities across Germany, France and The Netherlands. Flink needed its office-based employees to have easy access to systems with SSO, and also needed to make on- and offboarding easy for its short-term frontline workers.
Distology Studios was established in Berlin in 2017 and provides expertise in the areas of Software Engineering, Design, Solution Architecture and IAM. The team has extensive Okta implementation experience and is recognised as a Okta Technical Champion and Auth0 Ambassador. Distology Studios is certified by Okta as both a Workforce Identity Cloud and Customer Identity Cloud Specialized Delivery Partner.