Present in 61 countries and employing 13,000 professionals, Mazars is a global partnership that specialises in the provision of audit, accounting, finance and legal services. In France, Mazars has 36 offices and 2,300 employees, serving a broad range of businesses from large multinationals and public bodies to SMEs.
Aiming to harmonise global business processes and create economies of scale through shared services, Mazars created a new group structure in 2007. The company then instigated its Core Group Model (CGM) project, centred on the deployment of Oracle ERP.
The group operations currently span the three countries that represent the largest portion of the business: France, the Netherlands, and the UK. The first stage in the harmonisation exercise was to create a single Oracle HR database for employees from these three countries. As the other country operations roll out Oracle, they will join the shared-services organisation.
A key challenge was to standardise identity and security management in time for the new ERP rollout. Existing approaches were fragmented: France had deployed identity management and single sign-on solutions, while the Netherlands had only identity management and the UK handled everything manually.
Mazars considered a number of identity and security management solutions before selecting Identity Manager® and Access Manager™.
"Novell (now a part of Micro Focus) software met all of our functional requirements, and the pre-built Oracle connector for Identity Manager meant that we had no concerns about integration," said Cyril Briard, Network and security architecture manager at Mazars. "Equally, we already had positive experience of Identity Manager in our Netherlands operations."
Mazars worked with Kernel Networks, an identity specialist and partner, to deploy our software. The team created a single database of employees from the three in-scope countries, and used Identity Manager to synchronise this data on an ongoing basis with the Microsoft Active Directory for each country.
"Kernel Networks had the expertise we needed to handle the integration of the Novell solutions into our Oracle and Active Directory landscapes," said Briard.
"We knew that the Novell software would meet Mazars' requirements," said Luc Tentillier, Commercial Director, Kernel Networks. "We took advantage of our close relationships with the Novell sales and technical teams to ensure a seamless rollout that quickly delivered tangible benefits. We are proud today to have delivered an international Identity and Access infrastructure to Mazars."
To date, Mazars has integrated four applications at group level, using Access Manager to provide a single sign-on portal. The applications are: IBM Cognos business intelligence, Oracle E-Business Suite 12, the internal billing systems, and Microsoft SharePoint for business reporting. The SharePoint reporting environment includes an access-right delegation system powered by Identity Manager. This enables managers to delegate their access rights to staff - avoiding the previous practice of insecurely sharing passwords.
"Identity Manager enables us to work faster and more efficiently in IT operations, and to avoid human error through the automation of processes," said Briard.
The deployment of Identity Manager and Access Manager has enabled Mazars to build a central shared service for identity and security management. This removes the administrative burden from local IT teams, freeing them to focus on higher-value tasks.
The creation of user accounts in Active Directory is now driven directly from the Oracle HR database, cutting out a layer of manual administration and reducing the possibility of human error. When changes are made to user information, our solution automatically cascades the changes to all connected systems, requiring no additional effort to keep systems synchronised.
"With a Novell solution common to several countries, a small team at the group level can easily handle operations that previously required a larger number of in-country staff," said Briard. "The new environment will scale to cover our global operations without requiring us to employ significantly more people at the group IT level."
The single sign-on portal powered by Access Manager simplifies access to corporate applications, and reduces the number of passwords employees need to remember. Having automated the creation of user accounts via Identity Manager, Mazars plans to introduce more complex workflows giving business managers the power to create and control user access rights.
"The Novell solutions have enabled us to synchronise user identities across the group countries," said Briard. "We are already seeing benefits in the form of lower administration, faster processes and higher security. But this is just the beginning: the benefits will grow as we extend the solution to cover all global operations."