IDM and the Holidays (Part IV)

As we approach the holidays, it is time again to reflect on how an IDM solution can help your business and connected systems flourish in an otherwise chaotic time. (And I’m not talking about chaotic times like last-minute shopping sprees or scrambling to wrap gifts the night before.)

No, I’m talking about the chaos that comes when you have a reduced workforce that is responsible for covering tasks that are typically handled by others who are on vacation for the holidays, and the increased workload on those responsible for doing both their job and someone else’s.

As an extension to my holiday post from last year, today I want to discuss how an IDM solution can keep your business running smoothly, even when key individuals are out of the office, which is common at many companies this time of year.

In my previous post I discussed how an IDM solution can dramatically reduce the amount of time and effort required to onboard new employees when compared to common manual processes. We see many companies looking to move away from manual processes for obvious reasons.  But this year’s post takes that concept one step further.

Let’s start by looking at the manual side of things again.

In a typical manual environment there may be a single individual or a team of individuals that are responsible for manually processing requests or acting on requests.  Regardless of whether this is one person or a group of people, during this time of year there is a good likelihood that the person or people responsible for handling those requests may take some vacation time. This creates an increased workload for others and can even shift the responsibility to someone who does not perform these job functions on a daily basis, but is acting the back-up while people are out.

In either scenario it means that manual tasks will be completed more slowly than usual.

If it takes 5 people one hour to process 20 requests then it will obviously take longer for 3 people to process the same 20 requests when the other two people are on vacation.

Now let’s say Judy is the person that normally handles these requests, but Tom is covering for Judy while she is on vacation. It is unlikely that Tom will be able to process all requests with the same efficiency as Judy, especially if Tom’s normal job duties interfere with his ability to process these additional manual tasks.

Some people may look at this and think, “these delays aren’t significant” or “that is to be expected at this time of year” and discount the overall impact to a business or department.  Before getting involved with IAM solutions, I would have been one of those people.  However, working with IAM/IDM solutions everyday has made me rethink things, and see how these delays are bigger than the individual tasks themselves. I can see the domino effect when other tasks that are dependent upon the original tasks get delayed.

While many companies see higher levels of vacation requests at the end of December, there are a lot of other peak vacation times throughout the year that can make these delays more routine than exception.  And it is when we recognize that these delays are common throughout the year that we can really begin to understand the full impact.

Let’s consider the impact on a standard 8 hour work day.  When fully staffed with 5 people, as in the example above, let’s say a company can manually process 160 requests in a day.  However, when the staff is reduced by 2, then only 96 requests can be processed manually during that same 8 hour period. That means that a difference of 64 requests that would normally be processed are now delayed until the following day.

And since this time of year people take several days off in a row, the issue is compounded significantly when viewed over a standard M-F week.  Instead of the expected 800 requests processed over a 5 day work week with a team of 5 people, now only 480 requests are processed during that same 5 day work week since 2 people are on vacation.  That is a difference of 320 requests a week not processed or delayed due to a reduced staff, which is a significant delay that could impact many users’ ability to perform their job functions, which in turn may have a critical impact on different areas of the business.

And while such delays can be explained away as “to be expected this time of year”, I ask you to ask yourself this; even though it is expected, is it necessary?

And the answer to that is no, it is not necessary.  And frankly, in today’s digital, connected world it shouldn’t be accepted.

So, how do you ensure employee productivity and your company’s reputation?

The simple solution is an IAM/IDM solution that automates manual tasks.

Sure, there will almost always be some level of manual interaction required, but entire processes no longer need to be manual.

Here are some ways an IAM/IDM solution can reduce manual processes:

  • HR can enter data into a system once and no longer need to have HR or a person’s manager spend an hour faxing and emailing forms to various departments to have a person’s access granted or removed.
  • No longer have an army of domain administrators manually managing Active Directory accounts for every user in your organization.
  • No longer have end-users waiting an hour for a password to be reset while a trouble ticket is created and assigned to an administrator to manually address.

With a proper IAM/IDM solution these things can be done through automation that takes seconds, sometimes minutes, compared to the hours or days that it can take manual processes, regardless of who is on vacation and who is not. With an IDM solution’s automation, once the change is made is in one system, it can be made automatically in the others in less time than it would take to send a single email, to make a single phone call, or to create a ticket in some other system.

Don’t let the holidays slow your business down. An IAM/IDM solution is never on vacation and works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to make sure that your systems and your users are always available for your business.