Liverpool is Mexico's leading fashion department store, employing over 36,000 people at 68 locations across the country. Annual sales currently exceed more than US$3.5 billion, and the company is experiencing more than 15 percent year-on-year growth. Liverpool sells clothing, gifts and homeware, and two million of its customers have store card accounts.
Liverpool's rapid growth had resulted in a proliferation of operating systems and applications, accessed by a large and fast-changing set of employees. Constant staff changes meant that the IT team spent a large portion of its time adding, modifying and deleting users—manual tasks that were slow, costly and difficult to manage. Liverpool uses a variety of different software platforms, which creates a great deal of complexity in the administration of users.
"The most important task was to revoke user access when an employee left the company," said Juan Manuel Arciniegas, Deputy IT Director at Liverpool. "We wanted to be able to manage such changes centrally across all applications from a single point of control, which would increase security while freeing up skilled IT staff to work on other, more productive areas."
An initial attempt to introduce centralized identity management took 10 months and failed to produce the required results.
Liverpool selected Identity Manager to enable efficient access control to its SAP applications and other business-critical enterprise systems. Our solution sources identity data from the master employee records (SAP HR), manages it in a central vault, and propagates it across the most important systems enterprise-wide. Within a first-phase implementation of just seven weeks, Identity Manager enabled enterprise-wide account deletion in a single step, measurably increasing security and cutting manual administration.
"The Novell (now a part of Micro Focus) team approached us at exactly the right time, showing us how Identity Manager could synchronize identity information across multiple platforms, automate user administration to a very large degree, and increase levels of productivity and security," said Arciniega. "During the first phase, we gained total confidence that we could immediately rescind all access rights when an employee left the company."
The second phase in the rollout involved extending Identity Manager across other business-critical systems, such as network access, email, personal file storage, industry-specific applications and SAP Human Resources.
"The retail transaction systems and the SAP applications were the most critical to secure, and we were able to complete the integration with Identity Manager quickly and easily," said Arciniega. "We then set up automated synchronization of any changes to the employee record in the SAP human resources system, so that they would be immediately reflected across all systems."
Identity Manager allows Liverpool to provide role-based access for users, creating standardized sets of permissions and access rights that can be changed centrally for groups of people, according to business policy. This enables fast and flexible response to new business requirements, and minimizes the administrative burden.
Liverpool completed the first implementation phase of Identity Manager on time, to the correct specification. "It was a very fast process, totally different from our experience with the first vendor," said Arciniega. "Identity Manager worked well from the start, and a major factor in the success of the project was the technical collaboration and teamwork between Novell and Liverpool."
By automating the synchronization of access rights across multiple heterogeneous systems, Identity Manager has freed up significant IT staff resources, which can now be dedicated to higher-value projects.
Using Identity Manager, Liverpool is consolidating management tasks for more than 30,000 users to a single, easy-to-administer point of control, and has all but eliminated the previous costly and tedious manual processes.
"With Identity Manager, we have reduced the time taken to set up new users and give them access to the network and applications," said Arciniega. "We have also improved the accuracy of identity management, ensuring that new employees have access to the appropriate systems for their job function. This is of direct practical use to the employees, allowing them to become fully productive more quickly."
Identity Manager has solved the security issues by enabling immediate, automatic system-wide deletion of user accounts as soon as employees leave the company, ensuring that commercially sensitive company data remains secure.
"Identity Manager offers Liverpool three fundamental benefits: availability, security and confidence that the right users have access to the right systems," said Arciniega. "By automating many user management tasks, it enables us to respond rapidly to new requirements without sacrificing security or adherence to corporate standards."