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Gundersen Lutheran Health System wanted to eliminate its time-consuming processes for managing user identities, as well as its desktops and handheld devices. With Novell Identity Manager and Novell ZENworks, the health network reduced user management time by 90 percent and IT travel time and costs by 95 percent.

> Overview
Gundersen Lutheran health system is a comprehensive healthcare network including one of the nation's largest multi-specialty group medical practices, regional community clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, home care, behavioral health services, vision centers, pharmacies, and air and ground ambulances. Located throughout western Wisconsin, northeastern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota, the health system has a staff of more than 6,000.

"All of our IS systems at Gundersen Lutheran are designed and built to offer the best care possible to our patients. These Novell systems enhance the workflow of our patient care providers."

Deb Rislow–
Gundersen Lutheran

> Challenge
For Gundersen Lutheran, managing user information across more than 500 applications was primarily a manual process, requiring hours of redundant data entry. Users often had to remember six or seven passwords to access applications. By automating identity management, Gundersen Lutheran could simplify user access, increase data security and better comply with HIPAA requirements.

The IT team was also tasked to manage more than 6,000 workstations and nearly 300 handheld devices across 35 locations. Without centralized desktop management, the team had no way of knowing which applications users had on their desktops and was spending a great deal of time traveling to update and troubleshoot individual workstations.

> Solution
To select an identity management solution, Gundersen Lutheran evaluated several options, as well as research from Gartner, a leading provider of research and analysis on the global IT industry. The health network selected Novell Identity Manager and Novell eDirectory to automate identity management, as well as Novell ZENworks to manage its workstations and handheld devices.

"We needed an identity management solution to work across all our platforms, including NetWare, Microsoft Windows and UNIX," said Dawn Comeau-Johnson, technical systems administrator for Gundersen Lutheran Information Systems. "Only the Novell solution could provide such cross-platform functionality."

"All of our IS systems at Gundersen Lutheran are designed and built to offer the best care possible to our patients," said Deb Rislow, CIO for Gundersen Lutheran. "These Novell systems enhance the workflow of our patient care providers. These improvements result in efficiencies that allow the nurses, physicians and support staff to spend additional quality time taking care of their patients than they previously had prior to these systems being implemented."

Gundersen Lutheran has more than 9,000 user accounts stored in Novell eDirectory, creating an accurate, central repository for user information. Novell Identity Manager automatically synchronizes user information across several applications, eliminating the need for manual updating. To date, the health network has synchronized 15 applications including Lawson, Lotus Notes, Microsoft Active Directory and its telephone, training, helpdesk, badge and patient clinical systems.

The IT team used to spend hours creating a new user account. Now, when an HR manager enters a new employee in its Lawson HR system, a new user account is automatically generated. Employees receive access to appropriate applications and can begin work right away. Revoking network access across applications has also been automated, and allows the health network to safeguard data security when employees leave the organization.

"In the past, auditing was a cumbersome process because it was difficult to determine which employees had access to what information. With our Novell solution, we can whiz through audits and easily demonstrate compliance with HIPAA requirements. Our auditors love it."

Dawn Comeau-Johnson–
Technical Systems Administrator
Gundersen Lutheran Information Systems

With Novell ZENworks, Gundersen Lutheran has centralized management for more than 6,000 desktops and nearly 300 handheld devices, including Palm and Windows CE handhelds, across 35 locations. The IT team can manage workstations and devices according to user identity–new users immediately receive the right applications, based on their roles and responsibilities.

Gundersen Lutheran uses Novell ZENworks to standardize its workstations and relies on the remote control features to troubleshoot user problems without having to travel. The IT team can deliver applications enterprise-wide in a matter of hours, instead of weeks, from a central location. Novell ZENworks Asset Management makes for easy inventory reports and helps Gundersen Lutheran comply with licensing requirements and better manage its budget.

"Novell ZENworks Asset Management really starts to pay off when we can more accurately manage some of our high-end software that can cost $1,800 per user," said Randy Reisbig, technical systems administrator for Gundersen Lutheran Information Services. "Overall, Novell ZENworks helps us to work smarter and do more."

> Results
A Novell identity management solution has helped Gundersen Lutheran reduce user management time by 95 percent. Just two existing IT personnel can now administer 9,000 users, including an average of 75 new hires, terminations and job changes per week. With greater control over user access to information, the health network has increased data security, simplified audits and improved compliance with HIPAA requirements.

Centralizing the management of workstations and handheld devices with Novell ZENworks has reduced IT travel time and costs by 95 percent.

"Without Novell, we would have to work 24/7 to do what we can do now," said Comeau-Johnson. "We deal with such a large volume of sensitive and regulated information; now we have the right tools to manage it." red N

Case Summary


  • Simplify user administration across more than 500 applications
  • Provide secure user access
  • Centralize desktop management to reduce IT travel time


  • Novell Identity Manager
  • Novell eDirectory
  • Novell ZENworks Suite
  • Novell ZENworks Asset Management


  • Reduced user management time by 90 percent
  • Increased data security and improved ability to comply with HIPAA requirements
  • Reduced IT travel time and costs by 95 percent

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