Provisioning can boost IT operations

Summer means convertibles. While exhilarating, ragtops tend to be finicky. Alternatively, sunroofs are ubiquitous, and with the press of a button, drivers can enjoy the rush of fresh air.

The task of provisioning workers with IT resources appears much the same. Myriad systems require administrators to set up individual accounts with various levels of access, which takes lots of time, keeping sysadmins and workers from other duties, ruining productivity. That’s why Webasto Information Systems, the IT systems supplier to Webasto GmbH (the world’s leading supplier of car sunroofs), went for the one-button approach.

Josef Richter, CIO and managing director of Webasto Information Systems, has turned to e-provisioning to ensure that workers have reliable and correct access to IT resources.

With annual sales of more than US$1 billion and 5,000 employees in Germany, France, Italy, Britain, the U.S., Japan and Korea, Webasto maintains a sprawling network and many applications. “We have SAP, Unix, Outlook, Exchange and Oracle,” says Richter, “and each system requires different provisioning.”

For example, the company’s ERP system administration is separate from Oracle administration, posing a headache for the IT department. “If we don’t know exactly what a person needs on their first day, they’ll have no PC, no mailbox and no access to the right system,” says Richter.

Richter chose software from Business Layers Inc. in New Jersey to automate provisioning and save time and money.

Initially, he was skeptical that the software would handle the employee setups and changes, so he authorized a pilot using the SAP (AG) HR system as a test bed. “Within a short period of time, we were able to create hundreds of new employee mailboxes,” says Richter.

Because the provisioning tool reduces system administration time, Richter eliminated one full-time position and expects to cut an additional one by year’s end.

Without e-provisioning, workers at Webasto would often bemoan their first day on the job – and you might not get the right sunroof.

Pimm Fox is a freelance writer in San Francisco. Contact him at