Cologne University of Applied Sciences (CUAS)

CUAS wanted to simplify and automate identity management processes to cope with a growing number of students and applications. The university needed to provide students and staff secure and convenient access to university and faculty resources. By deploying NetIQ Identity Manager, CUAS integrated two source and twelve target systems with standard and customized connectors. It leverages automated workflows for flexible, granular role-based access management.

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“NetIQ’s competence in the education sector is impressive and Identity Manager is a complete solution with many useful features.”JAN SCHLAGENHAUFHead of the Application Deployment and System Operations Team Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Cologne University of Applied Sciences

About Cologne University of Applied Sciences (CUAS)

With roughly 22,500 students at four campuses, 414 professors and 1,500 employees, Cologne University of Applied Sciences (CUAS) is the largest educational institution of its type in Germany.


Cologne University of Applied Sciences (CUAS) is a modern institution which offers a broad range of programs across 12 faculties. The institution has partnerships with approximately 290 universities worldwide.

As CUAS implemented a growing number of services for staff and students, the university found it difficult to integrate its custom-developed user management system with the growing application landscape. The institution wanted to automate identity management processes to allow for closer integration of its systems, so as to improve administration workflows and reduce the manual workload for staff. Jan Schlagenhauf, head of the application deployment and system operations team at CUAS said, “We looked for a powerful identity management solution to provide students and staff secure and convenient access to university and faculty resources based on their specific requirements.”

Our Solution

CUAS engaged with NetIQ Consulting and implemented Identity Manager. Jan Schlagenhauf said, “It was impressive to see the competence NetIQ Consulting has in the education sector. They came with a complete solution and supported us throughout the project. In addition, they cultivated knowledge exchange between us and other universities, helping us to make the best use of Identity Manager.”

CUAS first integrated the widely-used student management module from Hochschul-Information-System eG and the staff management system SAP ERP Human Capital Management as the two key source systems. Identity Manager automatically matches identities from both source systems, taking into account data authority and quality. The solution also allows for multiple affiliations: for example, a person being classified as a student and an employee at the same time.

The team gradually extended the identity management environment, which today supports 12 applications and services, including NetIQ eDirectory™, Microsoft Active Directory, Micro Focus® GroupWise®, Micro Focus Vibe and SAP User Management. “We needed to be able to connect new systems easily,” said Schlagenhauf. “Identity Manager comes with a number of drivers that allow integration with a broad range of systems right out of the box.”

CUAS built on the concept of role-based provisioning to implement a highly automated, intelligent system. The institution has defined basic roles, enabling it to automatically roll out a standardized set of services to students and staff based on their specific master data records. In total, CUAS manages 30,500 identities with about 80,000 permissions.

To ensure high availability for its identity management solution, CUAS runs Identity Manager on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in a VMware cluster. Using NetIQ Sentinel™ Log Manager, the institution documents all changes for internal compliance audits.


Thanks to Identity Manager, CUAS has improved data quality and reduced provisioning errors. “At the start of each term, administrators at our faculties were busy managing user lists and setting up accounts,” said Schlagenhauf. “With Identity Manager, students get their accounts much faster and staff can work more productively—instead of adding users, system administrators can focus on other tasks.” Automated provisioning workflows enabled CUAS to implement a more fine-grained and stricter permission management based on roles.

“We are very satisfied with the flexibility of Identity Manager,” said Schlagenhauf. “The definition and configuration of basic drivers is straightforward, while the system is very flexible when required.”

To comply with data protection laws, CUAS runs several directory services for user data. This ensures systems can only access information they need, following the principle of data economy.

The integrated workflow engine enables students to view master data or change and reset their password in a self-service portal—a new functionality that saves significant time in user administration. The IT team leverages the workflow component to distribute work internally, improving the documentation of tasks and increasing efficiency among system administrators.

Schlagenhauf said, “Identity Manager is a complete solution with many useful features and a clean, extensible architecture. In particular, the solution has helped us boost security and gives us better control over access permissions. Building on this success, we are planning to deploy single-sign on functionality with Access Manager™ and to centralize logging across all servers with Sentinel Log Manager.”



  • Provided improved data quality and reduced provisioning errors
  • Offered a more fine-grained and stricter permission management based on roles

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