Highly respected automotive manufacturer uses Efecte IGA solution to streamline and automate access rights and identity management for c. 5000 emplyees across three European countries.
Valmet Automotive is a company at the forefront of a green revolution in driving. At its plant in Salo, Finland, it develops and manufactures hundreds of thousands of 48-volt batteries and high-voltage battery systems, all destined to power a new generation of electric vehicles.
Valmet’s EV business builds on more than 50 years’ experience as a sought-after contract manufacturer for prestigious marques including Porsche, Saab and Mercedes-Benz. Since its foundation in 1968, more than 1.7 million vehicles have left its factory in Uusikaupunki, Finland.
In short, this is a company that is going places – figuratively and literally. In addition to its four locations in Finland, it has expanded to five locations in Germany, including a battery testing plant at Bad Friedrichshall, and one in Poland, where its Żary plant produces roof and kinematic systems.
This business and geographical expansion has led to a sharp increase in the Valmet Automotive workforce, creating new user lifecycle management challenges for its IT and HR teams.
“Manually provisioning new hires and temporary users into the company’s Active Directory was becoming a laborious task, with a high risk of errors.” says Petri Nieminen, ICT Service Delivery Manager at Valmet Automotive. Controlling 5,000 identities is difficult using a combination of AD and Excel. “You need a system with workflows to manage identities and accesses efficiently and ensure we are ready for audits with all needed governance capabilities.”
Access rights requests, meanwhile, were made through multiple platforms, creating admin and delays to new hires getting the equipment and systems they needed.
“We were not well organized,” recalls Nieminen. “Managers had to use valuable time checking the status of requests. We want employees working from day one, which means they must have access to basic tools.”
Security risks were a concern, too. With employees leaving as well as joining, any delay in revoking access rights could create the possibility of unauthorized access. That’s of particular concern to a contract manufacturer like Valmet Automotive, which handles a lot of confidential information from clients. “Like every company in the auto industry, we have security requirements from our OEMs,” says Nieminen. “Our systems need to be in line with theirs. We had long discussions about how we could work with Mercedes-Benz, for example.”
ICT Service Delivery Manager, Valmet Automotive
With 1,000 new hires joining the Valmet workforce in a single year, it was time to look for a more automated and streamlined way to manage identity governance over the user lifecycle. The problem was that the company’s incumbent Identity and Access Management (IAM) software tool couldn’t handle automated provisioning into Active Directory and didn’t offer a single place for employees and managers to request and monitor access rights.
A new solution was needed, but Valmet Automotive were wary of approaching a large multinational vendor. “We need the right size of partner, because we want to be heard and taken seriously,” says Nieminen. “With bigger service providers, we are just one customer among many and it’s really challenging to get results.”
In 2017, Valmet were introduced to Efecte by an IT support partner Vakka-Suomen Puhelin (VSP), and a constructive partnership began.
Efecte had recently acquired a company providing a sw solution that automates access rights and identity management for digital services. With its automated provisioning to AD and Azure AD, and a Self-Service Portal for all employee access rights requests, it promised to address the challenges that Valmet Automotive were experiencing.
Efecte identity and access management went live at Valmet Automotive’s Uusikaupunki site in 2018, joined in 2019-2020 by Efecte ITSM, spanning configuration management database (CMDB), helpdesk and trouble ticketing. The following year at 2021, Efecte’s new cloud-native and productized IGA solution and ticketing were rolled out to the company’s sites including also Germany and Poland, with plans for CMDB to follow in 2022.
Having IGA and ITSM on the same platform means cost efficiencies for Valmet Automotive, as there’s no integration work and only one maintenance and support contract for both solutions. And as both solutions are delivered on a SaaS basis in the cloud, there’s no capex outlay on hardware and licenses either.
Another welcome aspect for Valmet Automotive was the ability to influence the future functionality and roadmap of Efecte IGA solution – not just at the start of the relationship, but on an ongoing basis. “We worked closely with Efecte in the early phase of IGA, and we still have weekly meetings with our Efecte consultant to talk through any issues and development needs,” says Nieminen.
The result has been a strong relationship where both organizations are in continual communication to ensure that Valmet Automotive gets the most value possible from its identity governance solution.
“When we had some challenges,” Nieminen recalls, “I was invited to discuss them with the Efecte management team. Partnership is meaningful for both of us, and Efecte really listens.”
And on the ground at Valmet Automotive? “Our HR team can now handle new AD credentials in five minutes – much faster than it used to take,” Nieminen says. “The whole cycle from onboarding to offboarding is managed smoothly for all personnel, credentials are managed in line with our clients’ security requirements, and all accesses are removed promptly when someone leaves.”