Endress+Hauser, headquartered in Reinach, Switzerland, is a specialist for measurement technology for process engineering which develops and maintains instrumentation and automation solutions for industrial processes. The company operates in 97 countries, employs more than 7,500 people, and generates annual revenues of approximately €1 billion.
Endress+Hauser uses a Web portal to interact with its customers and field sales representatives. The portal provides access to a wide range of services - helping customers for example to manage their device data and search for spare parts, and enabling customers to access product information and place orders online.
The portal is based on SAP NetWeaver technologies, and provides access to six of the company's core SAP applications and other systems. Each application has its own user datastore, so setting up a new user meant manually creating accounts in each application.
"With more than 1,000 users to manage, it was becoming a real burden on our IT staff," said Jürgen Schrempp, Head of Business Technology at Endress+Hauser Infoserve. "Each time we gave a new user access to the portal, or changed an existing user's profile, we had to go into each system separately and edit the account. Creating a new user from their initial application via the sales department through to handling by the IT department often took an entire day."
Endress+Hauser was already using a Novell solution to manage user accounts for its internal staff. The company was impressed with both the software and the level of technical support provided by Novell, and decided to engage Novell Consulting® to design an identity management solution for the Endress+Hauser B2B portal.
"We wanted a uniform and centralized user administration system with automated procedures to avoid errors and achieve consistent user data throughout all systems," said Schrempp. "Working with Endress+Hauser Infoserve, the team from Novell Consulting built a unique solution to meet our needs."
Novell Consulting implemented Novell Identity Manager, and utilises an SOAP connector to interface with the SAP NetWeaver User Management Engine, which controls access to the portal. Novell then linked the core applications to the User Management Engine using SAP NetWeaver XI. Following a successful proof-of-concept, Endress+Hauser deployed the full solution and imported the existing user databases and group policies into Novell Identity Manager.
"The on-site cooperation between Novell Consulting and the Endress+Hauser in-house team was excellent," said Schrempp.
The new solution provides a central point of control for user management, and enables managers in the different international subsidiaries to set up, modify and delete user accounts directly, without having to submit requests to the IT department. This is a significant advantage, increasing flexibility and security as well as removing the administrative burden from the IT department.
With Novell Identity Manager providing an easy way to manage user identities across the enterprise, Endress+Hauser has significantly reduced the workload for its IT department and cut administrative costs. The business can now respond much more quickly when a new customer requires access to the portal–providing a higher level of service and increasing customer satisfaction.
"In the past, creating a new e-Business user could take up to a day," said Schrempp. "Thanks to Novell Identity Manager, this can now be done within five minutes. In the future, we hope to extend the solution to enable customers to update their own accounts, which will further improve responsiveness and reduce administrative effort."
The Novell solution is also helping to increase the security of Endress+Hauser's IT environment. Previously, when an employee left the company, the IT team needed to manually revoke user access to each individual application. This was time-consuming, and as with all manual actions there was a risk of making errors that could lead to ex-employees retaining access to the company's systems. With Novell Identity Manager in place, the IT team can rapidly revoke access rights across all systems from a single point of control.
"Novell Consulting and our in-house team have worked together brilliantly to integrate Novell Identity Manager with our SAP environment and Web portal," said Schrempp. "The Novell software provides a secure and convenient way to manage large numbers of users without incurring significant administrative workload. It is definitely a solution we would recommend to other SAP customers."