Outside contractors constitute approximately one third of Vodacom’s workforce. As a telecommunications business protecting confidential customer data, Vodacom knew it had to properly manage access for these outside workers. Vodacom used NetIQ Identity Manager to formalize and automate its identity and security management. The solution reliably removes access rights when employees leave and significantly reduces administrative workload.

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“By giving them everything they need immediately, we can differentiate Vodacom and ensure that we attract the best applicants.”Trevor OwenExecutive Head of IT, Region South, Vodacom South Africa

About Vodacom

Vodacom is a Pan-African cellular communications company that provides world-class Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) service to more than 35.7 million customers in South Africa, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho and Mozambique.


As the cellular telephone market leader in South Africa, Vodacom operates more than 6,400 base stations, putting 97 percent of the population within its cellular coverage. Vodacom has a highly mobile workforce of almost 10,000 people. The company outsources much of its IT operations, base station maintenance and call center operations, creating a virtual workforce around the core employees in its 20 corporate locations in South Africa.

Managing access—to physical buildings, network resources and more than 100 corporate applications—for this workforce is extremely challenging. Contractors may work in different locations on contracts of various lengths, making it difficult for Vodacom to maintain an accurate view of access rights.

Previously, Vodacom relied on line managers to correctly provision and deprovision contractors. Vodacom wanted to close this potential security loophole and simplify and accelerate identity management, enabling zero-day starts for new employees and reducing administrative costs.

Our Solution

Vodacom conducted a detailed study of the identity management solutions on the market and undertook a proof of concept pitting Identity Manager against an alternative.

Identity Manager and the enthusiasm and local skills of NetIQ partner Ubusha Technologies impressed Vodacom during the proof of concept. “We knew that success would depend not only on good technology, but also on strong local skills,” said Trevor Owen, executive head of IT, Region South, Vodacom South Africa.

Vodacom first wanted to improve the deprovisioning process, starting with the highest risk areas: access to the IT network and physical access to corporate sites. To this end, Vodacom created a digital identity vault in Identity Manager for all employees and contractors and integrated it with Vodacom’s SAP human resources system.

The combined team then synchronized identity information across key systems and conducted an intensive data cleansing exercise. Vodacom created for the first time a single contractor database, fed by a self-registration website.

By integrating Identity Manager with its Microsoft Active Directory services and physical access control systems, Vodacom has automated provisioning and deprovisioning of network accounts and access rights for employees and contractors.

“We can now reliably revoke all access rights—physical and logical—on the day that an employee or contractor leaves Vodacom,” said Owen.

Vodacom has also implemented NetIQ Access Manager to provide users with single sign-on across Microsoft Active Directory and the various web applications they use. By combining the two products, Vodacom is now saving significantly in time and administrative effort. The next phase of the identity and security management project at Vodacom will see further integration of applications with Identity Manager, the introduction of identity self-service tools, increased automation, integration with partners and greater sophistication in role-based provisioning.


By using Identity Manager to ensure immediate access-rights deprovisioning, Vodacom has met the key compliance objectives set by its chief risk officer and helped ensure security for sensitive data.

“As a telecommunications business, Vodacom has legal obligations to safeguard confidential customer data,” said Owen. Identity Manager helped Vodacom eliminate gaps in its risk management process. “Moving forward, our focus will be on building the productivity gains that we saw from day one.”

Identity Manager handles basic provisioning at Vodacom, automatically assigning an email address, network login credentials and the appropriate physical access rights. This has eliminated the manual assignment of credentials, saving significant administrative time and effort and accelerating the provisioning timeline from days to hours.

The company can now put employees to work on their first day. “By giving them everything they need immediately,” said Owen, “we can differentiate Vodacom and ensure that we attract the best applicants.”


South AfricaEurope

  • Ensures immediate access-rights
  • Eliminates the manual assignment of credentials
  • Saves significant administrative time and effort
  • Accelerates the provisioning timeline from days to hours

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