With annual production of 670,000 tonnes of copper and copper-alloy semi-finished products, KME is one of the top eight global manufacturers in the non-ferrous metals sector. The KME Group is headquartered in Italy and employs 6,600 people in 16 countries, generating more than €3.5 billion in consolidated annual turnover.
Following a period of rapid growth through corporate acquisition, the KME Group wanted to standardise user management across its subsidiaries in Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain and China. All companies in the Group use a centralised and tailored version of SAP Human Resources software, and each has a different payroll solution to handle local variations in tax and financial legislation.
Without a shared, enterprise-wide user directory, it was the responsibility of the local IT team in each company to manage and maintain access rights for internal users. Not only was this inefficient, but also the IT teams lacked the time and expertise to handle the work consistently, accurately or rapidly enough.
The central IT function for the Group could only assist by providing guidelines and instructions, and the need to prioritise other tasks meant that the local teams were unable to keep user directories in complete synchronisation with the changing organisational structure.
Realising the need for a single, centralised identity management solution, KME considered software from four major vendors before selecting Novell Identity Manager.
"Novell Identity Manager offered the best combination of functionality, price and quality," said Mario Bendinelli, IT Corporate Director, KME Group. "The full-service support offered by the official Novell partner–Netstudio–enabled us to complete the rollout within just a few months."
Using the Novell software, KME worked with Netstudio to cleanse and normalise the existing user data, then create a central repository for employee information and a set of workflows for managing users. Novell Identity Manager synchronises with the local HR systems, and automatically propagates any changes in employee status throughout all relevant systems.
"The introduction of Novell Identity Manager means that information for all internal users can be automatically updated when changes are made to the central HR database," said Bendinelli. "This has improved the quality and speed of user management, as this function can now be driven centrally by a small team of IT specialists. The automated workflows we have created using the Novell software have significantly reduced the total workload, keeping organisational information updated with minimal administrative effort."
In the past, if an employee moved from one department or site to another, it could take several days for the HR team to inform IT in order to update all the relevant systems. During that time, the employee in question might lose access to information or applications, causing frustration and loss of productivity. Equally, it could take several days to delete an outgoing user's account in all systems, potentially creating security issues.
With the new solution in place, the HR team in each country can simply update the local payroll system when an employee's status changes-the central SAP HR database is updated via an online interface, and Novell Identity Manager automatically cascades the change down to all systems related to that employee within a few seconds. For new hires, KME is now testing an automated provisioning system that will create a corporate e-mail account and generate user names and passwords for applications relevant to each new employee's function.
By implementing Novell Identity Manager, KME has improved the efficiency, speed and accuracy of user management. The solution has enabled the company to centralise all management tasks under the control of skilled technology specialists, freeing up non-specialist staff in the country HR teams.
"In the past, identity management processes were entirely manual, and KME was reliant on the local HR and IT departments to keep systems updated," said Bendinelli. "The centralisation of user management immediately enabled greater efficiency, particularly as the synchronisation of user information across most systems is completely automated by Novell Identity Manager."
The users themselves also benefit from the Novell solution, as any changes in their personal information or employment status are immediately reflected in the tools and services they use. There is therefore no longer any loss of productivity when an employee moves departments or changes roles. Security has also improved, because the solution automatically rescinds all access privileges from related user accounts when an employee leaves KME.
"With Novell Identity Manager, the key difference is in the quality–we simply could not achieve the same degree of accuracy in user management previously," said Bendinelli. "KME continues its integration process; with Novell Identity Manager, it will certainly be faster and easier to achieve our challenging goals."