Novell Nsure Sparks Utility Company's Move to More Efficient Operations and Better Customer Service
Ameren Corporation uses a Novell Nsure secure identity management solution to streamline its business and improve customer service by integrating employee and customer identity information trapped in disconnected silos
In an era of deregulation, utility companies are more than ever looking for ways to drive better efficiency and improve customer service. Ameren Corporation, serving more than 2 million electric and natural gas customers in Missouri and Illinois, is no exception. But to streamline its business and securely extend services to customers over the Web, Ameren first needed to simplify an extremely complex infrastructure, where employee and customer identity information was trapped in disconnected silos. Moreover, those obstacles were only going to become more apparent with the planned introduction of Microsoft Active Directory* and the integration of a recent acquisition.
A study commissioned by Ameren to address these challenges emphasized the need to consolidate user directories and identity information where practical and integrate the rest; so the company turned to a Novell® Nsure™ secure identity management solution.
"Based on previous successful projects with Novell, we felt confident they could deliver a sound solution to our identity management challenges," said Charles Bremer, vice president of Information Technology for Ameren. "We held a two-week run-off with Novell and another vendor. Novell was the clear winner for our requirements."
With an Nsure solution in place, Ameren was able to unify the user information in a number of key systems, including PeopleSoft*, Novell eDirectory™, Microsoft Windows NT* Domains and Active Directory, and proprietary applications. By synchronizing user identities across applications, Ameren has greatly reduced the amount of inaccurate data associated with an employee's various user accounts - eliminating a significant administrative burden and ensuring users have access to the right information to make business decisions. The company has also boosted security, because administrators can now disable all of a user's accounts in minutes after an employee leaves the company, rather than waiting days for paperwork to make its way through the system.
Ameren's recent acquisition of CILCO, an Illinois utility company based in Peoria, was made easier by Novell Nsure as well. Ameren's IT staff estimates the Nsure solution saved administrators 25 man-days of manual effort when setting up new accounts for CILCO employees who joined Ameren through the acquisition; and that time savings will be compounded every time a user's identity or access rights need to be modified across systems.
"Novell Nsure is also helping Ameren supply better service to our customers," Bremer said. "By recognizing the identity of each user, we're able to provide customers with secure Internet access to energy usage and account information - helping to create a more satisfied, loyal customer base. We expect our new eCustomer online application will reduce the need for customers to contact Ameren by phone. In 2002 our AmerenUE Call Center took over 4 million calls."
Dave Lawrence, Novell vice president of Nsure solutions, added, "Secure identity management is probably the biggest challenge in any large enterprise today, because it impacts so many aspects of a business. In the case of Ameren, deploying an identity management solution improved operations across the board - boosting security, providing better resources to employees and customers, and alleviating many of the pain points of an acquisition."
For more information about Novell Nsure secure identity management solutions, go to http://www.novell.com/nsure.
Novell, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL) delivers Software for the Open Enterprise™. With more than 50,000 customers in 43 countries, Novell helps customers manage, simplify, secure and integrate their technology environments by leveraging best-of-breed, open standards-based software. With over 20 years of experience, more than 5,000 employees, 5,000 partners and support centers around the world, Novell helps customers gain control over their IT operating environment while reducing cost. More information about Novell can be found at http://www.novell.com.
Novell is a registered trademark; eDirectory, exteNd, Nsure and Nterprise are trademarks; and Ngage is a service mark of Novell, Inc. in the United States and other countries. *All third-party trademarks are the property of their respective owners.