Leverage a trusted identity and access management infrastructure in a modern cloud environment to support continued innovation.
In a fast-moving retail business with frequent staff turnover, it was always clear to Elkjøp that effective identity and access management would be crucial. Geir Nøstdahl, Head of IT Digital Services at Elkjøp, explains: “In a given year, we can have up to 12,000 new starters, leavers, and staff who are changing roles. We made an early decision to partner with NetIQ for our identity and access management to ensure we can streamline and automate the full employee lifecycle. Over the years the suite of NetIQ solutions, spearheaded by Identity Manager, has served us well. We developed extensive in-house knowledge and using our HR systems as a master through eDirectory, we have created our own custom forms and drivers to integrate with key applications in our organization.”
“We were always clear that we wanted to maintain our existing NetIQ-driven identity and access processes, and thanks to the containerization work done by NetIQ, we were able to automate quite a traditional workload into a modern Azure cloud environment.
The in-house Elkjøp IT team focuses on streamlining the e-commerce customer journey as well as the in-store experience, for instance by introducing mobile cash registers for customers’ convenience. The team rose to the challenge of managing an influx of new starters by custom-developing an effective employee onboarding process through Identity Manager, where new user accounts are provisioned in real time. It is role- and organization-based and includes a high level of self-service and automation. New employees need access to up to 40 systems and even before their start date they are given access to training materials and Workplace, a Facebook-created online platform that acts as Elkjøp’s intranet, providing vital information and communication. It includes a chat function so that managers can engage with their employees before their official start date and ensure they have everything they need for a smooth and productive entry into the Elkjøp family. After their start, the pre-employment profile is seamlessly merged with the employee profile so that there is continuity for training and compliance purposes.
This advanced onboarding service includes a portal where managers can order equipment or access badges for employees. The system is end-to-end automated, with business logic workflows between the HR system where a new employee is entered and Identity Manager to provision the new user account. Identity Manager integrates with SAP for defined user roles which then determines the user access rights. Creating new roles has been automated too. When a new role is defined in SAP, a request ticket is automatically raised within JIRA, used for issue tracking, which routes it to Identity Manager where a role owner is assigned to confirm user access rights for the new role.
“We are heavily audited and having this traceability is very important,” says Maqsood Bhatti, Team Leader, Identity and Access Management for Elkjøp. “The system sends the appointed process owners regular lists of all the contacts who have access to their services so that they can confirm it is correct.”
Recently, the retail giant engaged in a significant digital transformation that overhauled every Elkjøp system to modernize functionality and move all its core business into an Azure-hosted cloud environment to create a more stable and flexible infrastructure, ready for future success. The revolutionary shift meant a rapid increase in software development activities and Nøstdahl faced the challenge of ensuring new developers would be productive as soon as possible: “With all the new software projects underway it is vital that developers are onboarded effectively so that they can start producing code straight away. Using our Identity Manager-driven process is saving us a massive amount of time. Developers are automatically given access to the code repositories and tools they need, which speeds up our development process and provides value to the business faster.”
With NetIQ’s compatibility we could deploy over 200 different drivers into production, saving time and money in the process. We particularly appreciate NetIQ’s integration capabilities. We have 250 live integrations and use our NetIQ toolbox extensively.
The team was delighted to discover that OpenText™ (formerly Micro Focus) had prepared its NetIQ solution for a cloud move by containerizing them. Containerization allows solutions to be “written once and run anywhere.” This portability speeds development and offers other notable benefits such as fault isolation, ease of management, and simplified security. “We combined containerization with infrastructure as code,” explains Bhatti. “This concept eliminates the need for developers to manually provision and manage servers, operating systems, database connections, storage, and other infrastructure elements every time they want to develop, test, or deploy a software application. With NetIQ’s compatibility we could deploy over 200 different drivers into production, saving time and money in the process. We particularly appreciate NetIQ’s integration capabilities. We have 250 live integrations and use our NetIQ toolbox extensively.”
The IDM containers are hosted in the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) platform, providing Elkjøp with an effective Platform-as-a-Service to help drive the business forward. When traffic is high, the platform automatically scales to meet demand, giving a cost-effective and flexible infrastructure. “NetIQ has been key to the success of this project,” comments Nøstdahl. “We were always clear that we wanted to maintain our existing NetIQ-driven identity and access processes, and thanks to the containerization work done by NetIQ, we were able to automate quite a traditional workload into a modern Azure cloud environment.”
He concludes: “Our users love our Identity Manager-driven app, which gives them direct access to the tools they need to do their jobs. Moving to Azure has given us exceptional performance and scalability and we are attracting the development talent we need so that we can continue to introduce new innovations to the business.”
Elkjøp Nordic, better known as Elkjøp in Norway, Elgiganten in Sweden and Denmark, and Gigantti in Finland, is the largest consumer electronics retailer in the Nordic countries with 422 stores in six countries and over 12,000 employees. Elkjøp Nordic AS is owned by Currys plc in the UK.