The National Northern University (NNU) offers courses in economics, history, industry, law, management and philosophy, covering 43 undergraduate course specialties. In total there are some 10,000 students from 31 provinces in China and a further 1,000 teachers and staff.
The university was running a variety of applications, including educational administration, library management, human resources, finance and more. Data entered into each system remained isolated, requiring manual transfer, and each application required separate login procedures and passwords.
Managing moves, additions and changes for more than 11,000 users, not to mention resetting lost or forgotten passwords, was producing a large administrative workload for the IT team. At times, particularly the start of new semesters, the situation became almost unmanageable.
NNU selected Novell Identity Manager as the first step towards solving the immediate challenges of IT workload, and as part of a longer-term strategy to integrate its applications.
"Other vendors' solutions proposed centralizing systems and applications in order to deliver integration," said Zuhong Feng, Director of IT Center. "The Novell solution allows us to provide single sign-on to our current systems, and choose our own pace for application integration. Using Novell Identity Manager, we have reduced the IT team’s workload and made sign-on and access procedures much simpler for users without fundamentally changing our existing infrastructure."
"If we had chosen centralized integration, we might have had to rebuild our old systems, which would have taken more time and more money than we had available – and would have required more hardware."
NNU runs a variety of operating systems, including Solaris*, Windows* 2003 and Linux* to support its applications and Oracle* and SQL databases, hosted on HP*, IBM*, Sun* and 3Com* servers. The Novell Identity Manager solution gives appropriately authorized users single sign-on access to applications, regardless of the underlying infrastructure. This eliminates the need for users to learn different procedures and passwords, while securing each application from unauthorized use.
By implementing Novell Identity Manager, National Northern University has successfully eliminated the confusion and difficulty caused by 11,000 users having to remember up to five different passwords. The Novell solution presents seamless access procedures regardless of application or platform.
Zuhong Feng estimates that Novell Identity Manager has reduced hardware costs by around 40 percent when compared with implementing an integrated ERP application, as the Novell solution does not require any additional infrastructure.
"If we hadn't chosen the Novell solution, the project would have taken more time and we would have needed to invest more in hardware,” said Zuhong Feng. "We would also have required more staff with higher skill levels. The Novell Identity Manager solution is simple to use and reduces workload for the IT department."
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