Since its foundation in 1969 Halton has grown from a small national Finnish company to a leading global company in indoor climate technology. Today Halton operates in over 30 countries. To meet its aim of enabling well-being in indoor environments, Halton markets, develops, and supplies indoor climate products, systems, and services that help create safe, pleasant, and healthy indoor environments that are both productive and energy efficient.
“Introducing centralized identity management has been the most remarkable development project of new technology in my career so far. Personal data is now updated in real-time, and we can optimize software licenses and access privileges for our employees.” – Aki Saxén, Director, Information Technology, Halton
The Halton Group’s activities comprise three strategic areas of business. Halton provides indoor climate solutions for buildings, focusing on solutions for offices, hotels, and healthcare facilities. Halton Foodservice provides indoor climate solutions for commercial kitchens and restaurants, while Halton Marine offers solutions that improve safety, energy efficiency, and comfort in ships, offshore, and in sites used in the energy industry.
In the past, each of Halton’s national business units operated very independently, causing the IT environment to become fragmented. For example, the group was using a variety of e-mail systems and user directories. Managing personal data was a challenge, and the information was never fully up-to-date.
Aki Saxén, Halton’s Director of Information Technology, said, “We needed to harmonize our solutions throughout the organization as a whole. As we moved to Microsoft Office 365, we decided to introduce centralized identity management that could be flexibly and effortlessly integrated into various information systems. We lacked a systematic and uniform user management process.”
“Data maintenance was labor-intensive, and ineffective user management presented risks to information security. We were unable to effectively manage user access rights, and there were always too many software licenses being used,” said Saxén.
After a detailed evaluation of solutions available on the market, Halton selected NetIQ® Identity Manager to help it manage identities across its entire organization.
“We studied the Gartner identity management reports carefully and found that NetIQ’s technology made the strongest case. We were very keen to find a solution that was compatible with products such as Salesforce, as well as Microsoft solutions,” said Saxén. “NetIQ’s Identity Manager was a good fit for our environment.
The competence and experience of the professionals from NetIQ and NetIQ’s partner, Spellpoint, as well as their references from similar projects, made the decision even easier.”
A proof of concept for the identity management solution was completed in 2011, and the implementation took place as planned in 2012. In addition to Microsoft’s Active Directory, the NetIQ Identity Manager is connected to Office 365 and Salesforce, Halton’s CRM system.
Experts from Spellpoint, NetIQ’s partner, performed the implementation. “NetIQ Identity Manager centrally stores personal data for all Halton employees, eliminating the need for Halton’s HR department to run a separate system. For example, NetIQ Identity Manager automatically opens e-mail accounts, and you can use it to keep track of Office 365 licenses.
Former employees have their access rights revoked automatically. With many other solutions, user rights are typically changed at regular intervals, which can lead to short delays, but NetIQ Identity Manager features real-time synchronization that is fast and scales well,” said Petteri Aatola, Director at Spellpoint. “As information changes, it is immediately delivered to all data systems within NetIQ Identity Manager’s reach.”
Streamlining processes has unlocked significant savings in Halton’s organization. NetIQ Identity Manager is linked to Active Directory and includes automatic AD user account provisioning. Around 750 users have a personal AD account. All user management modifications are completed through identity management.
“We are able to offer new employees all the necessary tools such as phones, computers, e-mail, and access to software and network environments right from the start. No unnecessary software licenses are in use, and upto- date contact information facilitates communication, particularly for sales staff. We are now in better control of our organizational structure,” says Saxén. Users are able to change passwords and update addresses themselves.
Managers can verify their employees’ access privileges and update cost units whenever an employee transfers to another unit in the company. “Former employees have their access privileges revoked automatically,” said Saxén.
NetIQ Identity Manager is also integrated into Halton’s new website portal solution.
“Personal data is automatically updated via the identity management solution. This saves us a number of workdays annually, as manual updates are no longer required. It is crucial that all our sales staff have up-to-date contact information. Next, we are planning to connect NetIQ Identity Manager to our SAP system, which is used by around 200 people.”