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An overwhelming workload

Hendrick Automotive Group, the largest privately held automotive retail organization in the United States, faced a number of lifecycle management challenges. While each dealership had its own HR department that operated independently from the others, the company’s 52-person, corporate IT team had to manage each of its nearly 11,000 employee accounts without a cohesive, centralized system. To top it off, the process of onboarding and offboarding was inconsistent, inefficient, and created a potential for data breaches.

Okta was a “lightbulb moment” for Hendrick Automotive Group

Hendrick discovered Okta while demoing Workday, an Okta partner. The Hendrick IT team saw how easy it was for the Workday rep to gain access to their apps from a single login. They stopped the demo and turned the discussions towards Workday’s identity management solution, Okta. It was a lightbulb moment for Hendrick’s IT team when they realized just how powerful Workday and Okta could be together.

Simplifying the login basics

From knowledge workers to service technicians, Hendrick’s team members and business partners fill a variety of diverse roles within the company. While many of them are extremely tech savvy, it was important to make the user authentication process as frictionless as possible and remove barriers to entry. With Okta running smoothly in the background, users are able to perform routine tasks like clocking in and out or accessing cloud-based applications in almost no time at all.

Frictionless, secure onboarding and offboarding

Before Okta, Hendrick Automotive Group’s corporate IT team struggled to keep up with routine processes like employee transfers and terminations. Now the IT team is able to automate onboarding and offboarding, as well as ensure that identity profiles move with employees as they are transferred to different units—all without lifting a finger.

A simplified approach to lifecycle management

The small IT team at Hendrick Automotive Group needed a centralized process for securely managing nearly 11,000 employee accounts within the company. Okta’s automated integrations provide full lifecycle management and provisioning in a timely manner.

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Before Okta, we were sharing Excel files of employees 20 or 30 days after they were terminated, just to make sure that we removed them from all of our systems. It was incredibly tedious and incredibly manual. Okta is a no-brainer solution.

Robert Taylor, Vice President of Information Technology, Hendrick Automotive Group

Benefits

  • Easy IT integration across on prem, SaaS, and homegrown applications
  • Simplifies and stratifies HR processes while remaining flexible
  • Saves significant time and energy spent on tedious, manual tasks
  • Unifies lifecycle management across all 130+ dealerships
  • Increases data security through timely deprovisioning
  • An invisible tool keeps end users focused on providing best-in-class service to their customers

Hendrick Automotive needed to streamline IT integrations nationwide

Hendrick Automotive Group is the largest, privately-held vehicle retail group in the United States. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the company has more than 130 dealership franchises, collision centers, accessory dealership installers, and support offices offering 27 vehicle brands in 14 different states. They sell more than 200,000 vehicles annually in addition to the 2.5 million more vehicles that come into Hendrick Automotive Group service centers for warranty support and repairs each year.

The company employs nearly 11,000 staff members across multiple business and car brands, from salespeople helping customers on the floor to service technicians performing in-shop vehicle repairs and maintenance.

Hendrick Automotive Group also staffs a relatively small IT team of 52 professionals who manage the 11,000 employee accounts. Without a cohesive, centralized system, creating consistency and clarity across all dealerships was a major challenge.

The company recognized its individual dealerships’ desire for flexible, individualized human resources operations. However, the digital age has ushered in a host of new challenges, including inconsistencies in managing provisioning and deprovisioning, securing data, and sharing information across all business operations. Hendrick also needed a better management system as it continued to adopt more cloud-based technologies and applications.

“Technology in automotive retail is changing dramatically, and it’s changing at a pace that some dealers struggle to keep up with,” says Robert Taylor, vice president of information technology at Hendrick Automotive Group.

Manual, repetitive processes also bogged down operations and wasted time, ultimately helping individual dealerships recognize the need for a more centralized architecture.

A centralized solution makes life easier for employees, too. When salespeople get promoted at Hendrick Automotive Grop, they are often transferred not only to a different dealership location, but also to a different business unit. Transfers were tedious, requiring employees to fill out the required background paperwork all over again.

"Say you loved your job at Hendrick Lexus in Charlotte, but you decided to move down the street to Hendrick BMW. It’s likely that you existed twice in an HR system because they were completely independent of each other,” says Amy Frost, Hendrick’s director of IT engineering. “There's a very good chance you had to fill out everything again to get hired in the same company, even though you were just transferring down the street."

Even more alarmingly, in the case of terminations, the dealership didn’t know if a former employee had been fully deprovisioned because there was no streamlined process confirming their status. While they knew their current IT system was quickly becoming obsolete, the Hendrick team hadn’t been able to find the right identity solution to solve all their needs.

“We tried to automate provisioning and deprovisioning with every tool imaginable,” Taylor says. “For a variety of different reasons, it just never seemed to work.”

Okta was love at first sight

Once it became clear that a frictionless, consolidated HR information system was vital, Hendrick’s IT team began searching for a human capital management software, and eventually brought Workday on board to help fulfill that need.

It was through this partnership with Workday that the team at Hendrick Automotive Group had an epiphany. During an onsite Workday training demo for the Hendrick IT team, they watched a Workday representative logging into Okta to access their materials.

The Hendrick team realized instantly that they were witnessing exactly the kind of user experience they needed: a simplified way to integrate applications with just one login.

The team actually stopped the Workday demo and turned the discussion toward Workday’s identity management solution, Okta. The discussion quickly broadened as Taylor saw Okta’s potential for unifying HR processes with IT management, as well as other Okta benefits, like automated onboarding and offboarding.

“When we saw Workday and we saw Okta and we saw the power of them together, that was our lightbulb moment,” says Taylor. “You could see the gears turning in the meeting because we were able to then figure out what we wanted to be when we grew up. At that point, we had been working on a solution for 37 years. Now fast forward, you can hire somebody in Workday, and you can have their account and everything set up for them within 14 days of their hire date. We were doing things we had never done before."

Smooth integrations for best of breed technology

Hendrick wanted to utilize the best tools but needed a way to tie them together—and Okta fit that bill. The company purchased Okta’s Lifecycle Management, Universal Directory, Single Sign-On, and Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) products to integrate into its central processes.

For Hendrick, Okta is the foundation for balancing security with a seamless access experience for end users, eliminating identity sprawl and quickly provisioning and deprovisioning access to applications as users join, change roles, or leave the company. With Okta, Hendrick’s IT team now has visibility into all of its users across each business unit in a single pane of glass, no matter how many times they change roles.

“Having a single source of truth was key for us to be able to have people who can move around and grow within the same company and keep their information with them the entire time—not having to go back to HR again and again,” says Frost.

The integration process with Okta tied together critical communication channels while maintaining a flexibility that encouraged growth within the company. Hendrick also appreciated how quick the integrations were—from email, time card logins through Workday, and cloud-based applications like Slack, Box, and Office 365.

In fact, Okta’s product integrations surpassed initial expectations. Hendrick partners and developers alike benefit from the Okta Integration Network and the robust SDKs available. Furthermore, Okta’s built-in marketing tools removed the need to spend time educating end users on how to use Okta, which was highly beneficial for business partnerships.

“We’ve been able to extend Okta beyond the traditional integrations,” says Taylor. “We’ve been able to extend it to some of our business partners who are maybe seeing single sign-on for the first time, and are maybe seeing some of the automatic provisioning for the first time.”

Automation to the rescue

Hendrick Automotive Group was able to significantly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of its employee account management process through automations driven by Workday + Okta. Manual onboarding and offboarding processes created a disconnect between IT and Hendrick’s numerous HR departments by leaving too much room for human error.

With many variables at stake, including who should and should not have access to particular data, it was critical for Hendrick to have a provisioning and deprovisioning plan in place that kept track of the full lifecycle of a user account.

Okta acted as a bridge between IT and HR by providing automated provisioning and deprovisioning for IT in conjunction with HR’s employee management through Workday. That integration between Okta and Workday made it simple to decide who had access to other applications, effectively cutting out the manual work of provisioning.

Okta’s Universal Directory (UD) creates an automated workflow funnel for managing the thousands of accounts in Hendrick’s system, leaving less for the team to worry about every time a change occurs while simultaneously decreasing the manual workload.

UD acts as a pipeline between data sources and applications. A standout for Hendrick Automotive Group is being able to use UD as a medium between Workday and Active Directory to transfer account information between the two, eliminating the need for manual account management.

“We haven’t created an Active Directory account in five years. That, to me, is amazing,” says Taylor. “When somebody is hired in Workday today, their account is automatically provisioned in Okta. We don’t have to go back in and touch it. The bulk of that work is automated, which means that it happens on time, and consistently on time.”

The implementation of this model yielded consistency of data and faster processing. Okta helps IT and HR coordinate seamlessly by automatically defining provisions, deprovisions, plus providing finite control over logins. In an industry as competitive as automotive retail, it’s especially beneficial for an automated process to manage deprovisioning, since it’s common for employees to move throughout the industry.

“I think every organization worries that an employee is going to be terminated and leave with critical information, either corporate or customer data,” says Frost. “We know that a termination is going to get processed really quickly, and that former employees no longer have access to our systems.”

Security integrations leave room to grow

Okta products have helped Hendrick Automotive Group effectively accommodate growth, and the need for flexible, nuanced solutions the individual dealerships rely on. Okta’s Adaptive MFA is a particular standout, combining ease of use and granular security controls. The Adaptive MFA technology automatically determines the authentication level needed for each session based on the end user and the device, allowing HR and IT to coordinate instant changes to provisioning as employees grow their responsibilities or shift into different roles.

“When I look at Adaptive MFA, that to me is a homerun because we know that Okta has our back, and we know that, from a security perspective, we’re not going to just blindly throw our tools out to everybody,” Taylor says. “It’s intelligently inspected, and we can identify whose access needs an additional level of authentication and which is a trusted device that can move right through.”

Reclaiming time and control

For Hendrick Automotive Group, cutting out the manual processes and integrating Okta’s automated, seamless technologies has been a huge time saver. Since partnering with Okta, the Hendrick IT team spends less than five minutes managing employee accounts and, as a result, has more time to focus on serving their customers.

“As we’ve gained efficiencies in our department, it gives us time back to focus on new opportunities and new tools,” says Taylor. “It allows us to deploy new software to our service centers, which makes the customer experience more appealing.”

Okta’s seamless, unified logins and IT integrations enhance the user experience in a significant way. Not only do the products reduce the amount of time employees spend on simple tasks like logging in, filing vacation requests, and clocking in and out, they also remove a lot of the barriers for our end users.

Since implementing Okta’s tools, Hendrick has found that important balance between day-to-day work and customer satisfaction, which at the end of the day is what makes it all worthwhile.

“We get one shot at earning the right to sell someone a car, and if we don’t succeed, it’s highly likely that the customer is going to go somewhere else and someone else is going to provide that service to them,” says Taylor. “We want to push technology to its limits and enable our teammates to be able to find the vehicle that matches up to the needs of the customer so we can earn the right to that piece of business.”

Growing together

As Hendrick has grown as an Okta partner, Okta has grown right alongside them.

“We’ve been an Okta customer since 2013. We’ve seen all of the incremental changes to Okta’s products. It’s kind of like watching your kids grow up,” says Taylor, who along with Frost has been with Hendrick Automotive Group for nearly two decades.

The growth, flexibility, simplicity, and security Okta affords plays a critical role in ensuring Hendrick lives up to its customer promises now and in the future.

About Hendrick Automotive Group

Encompassing 95 dealerships from the Carolinas to California, Hendrick Automotive Group is one the largest privately held automotive retail organizations in the United States. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the company employees more than 10,000 people in its dealerships, collision centers, and accessories distributor in 14 states. For more information, please visit www.HendrickAuto.com.