Sichuan Electricity Power Corporation is a subsidiary of the Chinese State Grid, responsible for the development, operation and maintenance of the electricity network for most of Sichuan Province. The company employs nearly 30,000 people and provides electricity for over 66 million people.
Sichuan Electricity is a complex organization, with operations on three different tiers – it has a provincial head office, with 30 subsidiaries at a regional level and over 100 at a county level. These subsidiaries are further subdivided into different business units – human resources, finance, production, marketing and so on.
Each of these business units was responsible for its own IT systems, and there was little strategic control over the company’s infrastructure. As a result, the company had deployed several different identity management solutions. Most users need to access half a dozen applications on a daily basis, so they had to keep track of numerous passwords, logging in and out every time they changed applications.
“We have been using Novell technologies for a number of years, and are very happy with the quality of the software and services. We were delighted when the State Grid chose Novell Identity Manager, because we would have made the same decision,” said Wang Zhou, IT Manager of the
Sichuan Electricity Power Corporation
As identity management was a common problem in electricity companies, the Chinese State Grid issued new guidelines encouraging the development of a unified identity management solution based on a single technology platform. The State Grid commissioned a number of experts to investigate all the options, and chose Novell Identity Manager as the target platform for all its subsidiaries.
“We have been using Novell technologies for a number of years, and are very happy with the quality of the software and services,” said Wang Zhou. “We were delighted when the State Grid chose Novell Identity Manager, because we would have made the same decision.”
The main rollout is scheduled for completion before the end of the year, and Novell has helped the in-house team keep the project on target – meeting every deadline and passing every test. Sichuan Electricity is installing the software on standard Intel-based servers, and has purchased licenses for more than 30,000 Novell eDirectory™ nodes. The Novell solution also includes two years of technical support, helping the company to ensure that any problems with the system will be resolved rapidly.
“The pilot users are delighted with the single sign-on solution because it saves them a lot of time and effort,” said Wang Zhou. “They can move from one system to another without repeatedly logging in and out, and they only have to remember one password.”
Before the pilot, users would often write down all their passwords and leave them near their workstations. Having a single, easily memorable password will largely eliminate this behaviour, increasing the security of Sichuan Electricity’s systems.
“Our IT staff will benefit too,” said Wang Zhou. “Since users are less likely to forget their passwords, we can expect fewer calls to the helpdesk, and having a single standard identity management platform will make maintenance and administration much less complicated.”
With the Novell Identity Manager solution, IT staff can provide a new user with access to all systems within a matter of minutes – a considerable improvement on the previous process, which was complicated and time-consuming. The simple interface means that there is much less risk of duplicating user accounts or setting the wrong access privileges, and it is far easier to ensure that accounts are terminated when users leave the company.
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