High-quality managerial training is a key element in Sheetz's success. The company wanted to minimize the cost of education sessions by bringing trainers to managers—which required advanced remote connectivity. With NetIQ Access Manager™, Sheetz can run remote education sessions exactly as it does in its dedicated training center, potentially saving more than US$1,000 per head per training session.
This is one of those systems where everyone just says, 'It's right.'BOB KEMPManager of IT Security, Sheetz, Inc.
Sheetz is a family-owned convenience store chain based in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1952, the business today operates more than 434 locations across Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina, and employs more than 14,500 people.
Sheetz, Inc. is one of the fastest growing family-owned businesses in the United States, currently adding around 30 new stores each year. Maintaining this growth rate depends partly on effectively training new managerial teams in the systems and products used by the company. For personnel in the most distant stores, attending a one-day education session could mean three days away from the store and high travel costs. Aiming to reduce the time and cost burden, regional managers asked central IT to come up with an alternative solution.
Previous attempts to run mobile training sessions had merely highlighted the difficulty of maintaining reliable connectivity with the systems running in the Sheetz data center. Bob Kemp, manager of IT security at Sheetz, said, "When you put 30 people in a hotel room and try to connect over VPN, you hit a lot of frustrations from an IT support perspective, which is why we were running all classroom training in Pennsylvania."
Sheetz recently selected NetIQ Identity Manager to replace its Sun IDM solution and licensed Access Manager at the same time. "Access Manager gave us the ability to extend our training environment beyond the four walls of the network," said Kemp. "That meant that we were able to deliver offsite training for 30 people at a time with no issues. I have to give kudos to the NetIQ services team having the expertise to just make it happen: We had planned about four weeks to get that solution off the ground, and it was ready to go in two or three days."
Access Manager lets remote training work exactly as it did in headquarters: Users can simply open a browser and log in with their corporate credentials—no delays and no connectivity problems.
Using Access Manager to provide seamless connectivity to training systems cuts the cost of managerial classroom sessions significantly, opening up the possibility of running shorter sessions that simply would not have made economic sense in the past.
"In addition to training the managers of completely new stores, each time we launch a new system, there will be three to four management team members per store to train," said Kemp.
"Education is a key facilitator of our expansion strategy and a huge part of our culture. Access Manager makes it far more cost-effective and easier to run."
"This is one of those systems where everyone just says, 'It's right,'" said Kemp.
"It cuts the time managers need to spend out of the stores, it eliminates travel costs and it increases the ability of users to access the systems they need."
Access Manager makes it easier for central IT to support Sheetz's business expansion, while removing the cost and time constraints of centralized training.
The cost advantages of using Access Manager in this way are compelling: for the most distant stores, the three-day round trip to attend a 30-person training session at the Sheetz headquarters cost US$1,100 a head.
Now, the company can send out just two facilitators at US$1,600 a head—a savings of about US$30,000 per class.
Sheetz is now working to provide web single sign-on for its internal applications, and it sees Access Manager as a way to provide a convenient one-stop portal for all corporate content and applications. The solution will integrate with Identity Manager to authenticate users.
"We're looking at Access Manager for more than just education," said Kemp. "It's about providing applications to our users wherever they have a web browser and an internet connection. We have about 400 users that work 100 percent remotely, including regional managers and technicians. Being able to give them secure access to the tools and reports they need is even more powerful than what we're doing with the training."
United StatesNorth America
- Removed the cost and time constraints of centralized training
- Provided a convenient one-stop portal for all corporate content and applications
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