Headquartered in Canton Ticino, the southernmost canton of Switzerland, Interroll is a manufacturer of motorised rollers, belt drives and conveyor modules for handling, storage and automation. The company has grown internationally, and now employs more than 1,300 people in over 30 countries.
From an IT perspective, Interroll operates on a lean model, with a six-person IT team managing a complex infrastructure and providing support for 700 users across all corporate IT services. User management was becoming a particular challenge as the company expanded.
"Our IT landscape is heterogeneous," said Giuseppe Genovesi, IT Infrastructure Manager at Interroll. "First, we have more than 130 virtual servers distributed over the world running Open Enterprise Server, SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server and Windows Server, as well as numerous applications. Second, we use ZENworks® to deploy and manage applications, enforce corporate IT policies and enable asset management on users' PCs. Third, we use a cloud-based service, Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), for e-mail and collaboration. Fourth, we use a cloud Citrix farm to provide remote desktop services to distributed users. Managing user accounts across all four environments was time-consuming—and our planned introduction of SAP HR was likely to complicate things further."
Interroll wanted to find a "cloud-ready" solution, which could be used to manage both traditional and cloud-based software, and which could even potentially be hosted in the cloud itself. This solution needed to be able to automate user management processes—saving time, improving security, and providing better service to the company's international workforce.
Interroll evaluated several possible solutions, and ultimately chose to implement Identity Manager.
Interroll decided to find a technology partner to manage the implementation and support of the new solution. The company selected H4T, an Italian Platinum Partner.
"The H4T consultants are experts in the field of identity management, and also in SUSE Linux Enterprise and Open Enterprise Server," said Genovesi. "They did an excellent job of setting up the infrastructure and completing the integration with our existing systems. They also manage third-level support on all the Novell products, which enables our in-house team to focus on other priorities."
The initial implementation of Identity Manager involved integration with Open Enterprise Server, ZENworks and the cloud-based Microsoft BPOS and Citrix solutions—enabling automatic synchronisation of all the user directories. When a user account is created, edited or deactivated, the new information flows through all these systems, eliminating the need for administrators to make the same changes manually in each system.
"H4T is currently helping us create an interface to our new SAP applications and migrate Identity Manager into our new private cloud," said Genovesi. "We have also introduced role-based provisioning, which enables us to give users access to the systems that are appropriate to their role, and generates real-time status reports.
Interroll is already seeing benefits from its Identity Manager implementation, especially in terms of automating user management processes.
"Previously, when a new person joined the company, we had to set up all their systems manually," said Genovesi. "Sometimes it could take a week, which had an impact on their productivity. Now, since most stages are automated, we can complete the process in less than three hours. It's a huge improvement."
Since Interroll is an international business, employees often need to move from one office to another when they take on a new role.
"Moving a user's applications, data and access rights from one location to another used to be a complex process, taking four or five hours," said Genovesi. "With Identity Manager, it just takes a few mouse-clicks—we simply transfer their proxy settings, implement local policies and e-mail settings, and use ZENworks to install applications on their PC and assign new office printers."
Finally, the solution improves security. When an employee leaves the company, Interroll simply deactivates their account in Identity Manager, which instantly removes access to all systems.
"Identity Manager is an excellent solution—boosting security, simplifying processes and improving service to the users," said Genovesi. "Best of all, it is flexible enough to support our cloud computing strategy. We are even moving Identity Manager itself into the cloud!"