A million users
Rotary International's IT team outlines a strategy to better serve its huge global membership with digital information and applications.
The team identifies big challenges in uniting a vast array of disconnected apps hosted on legacy infrastructure and third-party platforms.
Rotary selects Okta's platform to unite the organization's applications and users in a single authentication system.
Because Okta's platform is fully embeddable, the new Rotary portal serves a consistent brand experience to every Rotarian.
Rotary pulls usage and access data to understand how people are using the system, to continue improving the experience over time.
We provide an array of services to over one million members through our website, Rotary.org. We're looking to make the access to these applications as simple and easy as possible. Okta simplifies the experience significantly.Peter Markos, CIO, Rotary International
Many Users. Many Platforms.
Rotary International comprises a global network of clubs and members. Their reach means that their charitable work has a wide-ranging impact. But it makes managing identities and information a bit of a nightmare.
For one thing, Rotary’s applications are largely identity-driven. A member’s position in the organization often dictates which information he or she can access. The same holds for donors, based on attributes like donor tier and geographic location. To make it even more complex, roles within individual clubs change annually, which makes for fluid identity authentication and access requirements. As Peter Markos, Rotary’s CIO, explains, “Identity is at the core of what we provide our members. We need to know who you are, and we also need to know when you are that role.”
Rotary’s informational sites and applications have evolved over the years as a series of stand-alone applications. They include everything from simple HTML landing pages to cloud-based eLearning portals. Most of them reside in legacy data centers and third-party platforms. The diversity of apps placed a heavy burden on Rotary’s legacy identity platform architecture.
Compounding this challenge were several valuable applications that individual Rotarians had created and launched. Rotary members had trouble accessing the apps because they couldn’t authenticate into them with Rotary International’s master identity data. “As often happens when you have a lot of home-grown applications, each one is built, if you will, with its own little quirks,” Markos notes. “And what we’re trying to do is move toward a standard model.”
Markos considered several identity services before choosing Okta. “Okta had the best approach for what we needed,” he says. “They had a more complete vision to managing identity, and the integration and single sign-on approach was very consistent with what we needed to have happen in the coming years for our external user base.”
Today, Okta unites Rotary International’s dispersed informational sites within a central authentication system. The identity platform has enabled Rotary to create a unified single sign-on portal for its members and donors. Okta’s cloud-based directory is embedded completely within Rotary’s infrastructure, so that user authentication, account creation, and access rights are entirely consistent with the Rotary interfaces users have come to know and recognize. We’ve made the online Rotary experience simpler for members, enabling them to work more productively for the good of their neighbors.
Okta’s platform relies on the industry-standard approach to integration, with a Representational State Transfer (REST) architecture. Rotary’s developers simply embedded Okta’s REST APIs within their portal sites.
Rotary can now easily provision applications to a broad range of users, which has greatly simplified the “who you are” and “when you are” aspects of Rotary’s identity management requirements. And because it’s built on a scalable cloud architecture, Okta supports Rotary’s huge and growing user population.
Rotary’s administrators also get real-time insight into access and usage patterns. “We know who our members are and whether or not they’re able to successfully login to our system,” Markos says.
Okta’s cloud-based identity platform has smoothed the authentication waves for Rotarians the world over.
A launchpad for modernization
By providing Rotary with a flexible, scalable identity platform, Okta has laid the groundwork for future infrastructure improvements. It’s provided a stable cloud foundation for Rotary to migrate off of its legacy platforms and onto more modern applications and infrastructure. As Markos explains, “Our identity model can be replicated across every other system as we go through our updates of our technology in the coming years.”
Simplified user experience
Okta’s platform has made it radically easier for people to access Rotary’s applications and information. “We want users to come to Rotary.org and use that as a hub to get access to all the tools that are available, both from Rotary International but also potentially the tools they’ve sourced themselves,” Markos says. “That’s one of the reasons we ultimately chose Okta, as their identity solution really simplifies the end-user experience.”
Integrating deep and wide
Some of the applications Rotarians use aren’t available directly through the Rotary.org website. “One of our members,” Markos notes, “recently spent 3 million dollars developing an application for Rotarians to use to help them connect and collaborate. An amazing, amazing application.”
But the developer faced a significant problem: getting 1.2 million members to actually access it and use it. Today, Rotary has integrated this site and others like it into the portal. Users can go to the external website, log in with Rotary.org credentials, and get full access to what they need.
On both homegrown and third-party apps, Okta provides not only successful authentication, but key demographic information. The system knows what club a member is affiliated with, and what their role is, so that within that application they’re getting the right permissions. As Markos puts it, “That’s the future for Rotary, where we’re crowdsourcing access to functionality.”
The bottom line
Rotary realizes more than $75K per year in IT savings. Since deploying Okta, Rotary has seen a 75% reduction in help desk tickets related to password resets for both their employees and Rotarians. Rotary is also leveraging Okta’s comprehensive user management offering, to automate provisioning, deprovisioning and change requests that were previously fulfilled manually by their IT department. Using Workday as their source of truth, Active Directory and all applications are updated automatically, leading to a significant improvement in the quality and reliability of user data. By investing in Okta, Rotary also realized significant cost avoidance savings by replacing their existing multifactor authentication solution.
Okta strengthens Rotary’s security valued at more than $90k per year. Okta reduces the risk of a security breach with enforced password policy, the ability to disable user accounts from one central source of truth, and secure access across a large distributed user base. Because Okta is always online, patched and up-to-date, Rotary can focus on building better services for their Rotarians.
What Okta’s helping us do is lower barriers by making it easy for your everyday Rotarian to go, ‘I know how to get into this new functionality: I just use my same ID and password.’ They get right to the good stuff and the value, as opposed to having hurdles to jump through.
— Peter Markos, CIO, Rotary International
About Rotary International
Rotary International supports over 34,000 clubs in over 200 countries. A total of 1.2 million men and women are Rotarians. The organization’s wide range of charitable activities include everything from local literacy programs and food banks to co-leading the global effort to eradicate polio, a goal 99 percent accomplished. Rotary’s international partners include the World Health Organization and UNICEF.