Management Information


Provisioning/User Management System Upgrades: Part II - Building Awareness And Building Approval


Somewhere in the world is a person who wants to see their provisioning/user management systems get a sorely needed upgrade. But they seem to be getting nowhere.

The technical requirements are unarticulated. Key decisionmakers in the company are not aware this is needed. And the "project" is funded and without resources. How can someone who has the responsibility but not the authority get this upgrade to the next level?

This article will provide practical guidelines on how to build awareness and get funding for a provisioning/user management upgrade. Upgrade is meant to include new hardware and software and also the supporting environment of business processes, roles, organizations, business rules, etc. This discussion will include techniques for overcoming the approval and implementation obstacles detailed in the previous article.

1. Know What You Are In For

Congratulations, you just signed up to become a change agent. They are easy to recognize because they have the arrows in their back! Usually they find their own rewards - pride of having improving their company's infrastructure against all odds, making new acquaintances along the way, and satisfaction of a job well done.

Note it may take longer that you expected. There will be times of great progress and others of utter despair. Just keep at it and you will achieve your goal. And don't forget to have fun while you are doing it.

2. Document the "AS-IS" Environment

This should include not only the environment but also current metrics for id creation, deletion, changes across business units, and special cases. Great care should be taken in identifying gaps and risks in the current environment.

3. Document the "TO-BE" Environment

Create your own network identity roadmap if one does not exist. Base it on a combination of your own and colleague's ideas, existing company policies and procedures, best practices, consulting think tank recommendations, and whatever else makes sense. Revise it as organizational and vendor realities change. By "setting a line in the sand" with your network identity vision, you will force other to either agree with you or identify their own assumptions, risks, and implementation next steps.

4. Communicate Often

You can never communicate enough about IT infrastructure needs! Use a variety of mechanisms to tell the story such as electronic/printed newsletters, bulletin boards (physical and electronic), web site, blogs, face to face, speaking at department meetings, in-house seminars etc.

There are many things you can communicate - stories about the unsung heroes and heroines of provisioning and user management, current metrics, appropriate external meetings, webinars, and seminars, the "AS-IS" and "TO-BE" environments, successes at other companies, the unsung heroes and heroines of provisioning and user management, and of course stories illustrating user pain thresholds. Keep the information interesting, educational, and continuous.

5. Leverage Off of Other Company Success Stories

This may some work. Continuously scan the trade magazines and the web for other company success stories. Get the technical and management contact names if possible.

Try to get hold of them. See if both types of contacts are willing to share their key documents with you and how they measured success. Even better, see if you can get them to speak to the corresponding folks at your company (Especially the management contact talking with your management.)

6. Use Vendors and Outside Consultants

Use them to educate your management and technical decisionmakers through webinars, seminars, and on-site meetings. Webinars are appealing because they are usually free, relatively short (typically one hour), can be done from your desktop, provide an opportunity for asking questions and also saving a copy of the presentation.

Outside consultants may be helpful by coming on-site and reinforcing your efforts. This may include a talk on the state of network identity, evaluating your current provisioning/user management strategy, discussing current and future vendor releases etc.

7. Know Your Company's Resources

Once you underway with your effort, you will see people fit into these categories:

  • Allies -- These are temporary and permanent employees who approve your general framework of problem diagnosis and proposed resolution. Keep these people best informed of all three categories through informal e-mails, 1 on 1 conversation, "brown bag lunches" and brainstorming sessions. Use them to spread the word when appropriate. Possible candidates are those actually doing provisioning/user management, data management, security, HR, IT, and remote/roaming users.

  • Potential Allies - This type of employees may take some convincing. But once convinced, they are on your side forever. They may need to be convinced through webinars, vendor talks, interfacing with their peers in other companies who have successfully implemented a provisioning/user management system, attending a conference etc. Find out what their objections are and work on overcoming them. Constantly communicate to them about user pain, successes in other companies especially metrics before and after implementation.

  • Challenges - This employee will need the most convincing because of education, financial, emotional, and political concerns. Unfortunately, they are probably your approvers and will likely give you the least amount of time and attention. Your encounters need to be well planned and timed. You should have reached a broad level of consensus and awareness on this issue. The problem and remedy should be clearly defined and documented. It could prove invaluable to read several books or take a course on relationship selling.

Conclusion

You can succeed at getting a provisioning/user management upgrade at your company. It will take a combination of great timing, targeted communications, both "hard" and "soft" skills, and the right people backing you up. Good luck and please write to me about your progress along the way.

For Further Information

Abridean "15 Rules for a Successful User Management and Provisioning Project"


http://www.abridean.com/SubPage.php?parent=experience&child=WhitePapers&grandchild=15Rules

German, Hallett "Project Management for Small/Medium Businesses" (3 articles)


http://mysite.verizon.net/hrgerman/hal/Publications.htm

Heiman, Stephen, Sanchez, Diane, and Tad Tuleja The New Strategic Selling 1998 Warner Book

Microsoft "The Provisioning Challenge" http://www.microsoft.com/serviceproviders/mps/challenge.asp

About The Author

Hallett German (hallett.german@alessea.com) is president of Alessea Consulting (www.alessea.com) specializing in Identity Management, Project Management, and Business Development. Copyright 2004 Alessea Consulting All Rights Reserved


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