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Caltrans Takes the eDirectory Route

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature

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Posted: 14 Jul 2004

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is among the largest transportation engineering organizations in the nation with over 22,000 employees. Caltrans strives to be the highest performing transportation agency in the world. Caltrans relies on a complex IT environment ? everything from mainframe financials, to client/server applications, to specialized highway maintenance and engineering CADD systems ? to build, maintain and manage California's transportation network. Caltrans uses Novell® eDirectoryTM to manage identity and security access centrally across multiple, heterogeneous enterprise systems.

The solution strengthens security, simplifies administration and builds a foundation for cross-platform information sharing and services.

Following is a Q&A session with Gilbert Tafoya, Deputy CIO of the California Department of Transportation.

Q: How is Caltrans using Novell eDirectory?

A: We have integrated eDirectory with two major enterprise systems: human resources and the integrated maintenance management system. Next will be our e-mail system and engineering CADD. So we'll have one common directory and user authentication for those enterprise systems. And users will have a single ID and password for logging in to them. Before,we had a separate password and ID for each system.

We're in an IT consolidation mode right now throughout the organization to deliver reliability and performance improvements. The key drivers are reducing total cost of ownership in addition to better security. It's going to allow an employee to remotely log in via the Internet or our intranet and access business applications that they have digital credentials for. That's going to reduce our overall cost for help-desk support and system administration. Our resources are being reduced, just like everyone else's, but we're still able to maintain the same level of service and actually bring more value by better managing user access.

Q: Does this allow you to start using cross-platform network services?

A: That's exactly what it's doing. Caltrans uses the human resources system to input labor hours. And the integrated maintenance system generates work orders for repairs done on the freeway system throughout the state. So any change in an employee's digital credentials will be reflected in both systems. Of course, everyone uses the e-mail system for communicating, as well as accessing the Internet and our intranet.

So we're tying the user identity management of those systems together. And that's just a start. From there, we'll be moving on to the construction systems and engineering applications and our mainframe financial applications.

Q: What are the advantages of this approach?

A: It allows us to work within a secure shared identity management architecture, which is probably the most important aspect. With a shared security architecture, you get enormous support from the user community throughout the state. It brings many benefits to them: productivity tools, automated provisioning, additional security services, compatibility with the way they work, and delivery of a common experience, which helps with training.

We can now deliver common identity management services throughout the organization across multiple platforms. And it also allows us to start moving into portal services. Now that we have a single way of authenticating users, we can start getting more into mobile access and remote services through a portal infrastructure. So, for example, a user can come into a portal and access a CADD system, as well as the time-reporting system, e-mail, the maintenance system, and the right-of-way system.

The shared common architecture also eliminates confrontations over standards, because now everyone understands the architecture and how you authorize an employee's digital credentials across multiple organizational borders.

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