Combining an aggressive growth strategy with a 2006 transition from a state-chartered savings bank to a federally chartered institution placed many new demands on Bridgeport, Conn.-based People's United Bank ($11 billion in total assets). For recently hired Tim Callahan, technology risk management first VP and chief information security officer, it meant an overhaul of the bank's entitlements management procedures. "Widely dispersed and cumbersome processes had developed over time," he explains.
To streamline the largely manual, form-laden processes to serve a user population of 3,000 while preparing for future acquisitions, Callahan says he drew on lessons learned at a prior employer to design a centralized and automated entitlements system. A pivotal aspect of the plan, he adds, was aligning entitlements with business roles.
"For example, the role 'customer service associate' receives a certain set of rights, and 'financial services manager' gets another set," Callahan relates. "On the IT side, the types of applications and levels of access may overlap. Further, some provisioning tasks may be automated and some manual. Regardless, it's all transparent to the business manager, who submits just one standard HR request."
With his project approved in late 2006, Callahan considered a handful of vendors, including existing bank partners IBM (Armonk, N.Y.) and Sun (Santa Clara, Calif.). According to Callahan, however, Courion's Enterprise Provisioning Suite stood out in key areas. "Courion not only automates IT function mapping, it also handles non-IT functions, such as physical work space, business cards and telephone," he points out. "Plus, we could use our established [Microsoft] Active Directory, which speeded deployment considerably."
By February 2007 Callahan had kicked off a dual-purpose pilot project: deploy Courion's solution in a single business unit and develop an implementation template for a phased, enterprisewide rollout by lines of business. "For the pilot we chose regional banking because it represents almost 60 percent of our end users," Callahan notes.
To start, entitlement management responsibilities were identified and centralized, according to Callahan. Concurrently, business roles were researched and mapped to IT roles. Next, the Enterprise Provisioning Suite was loaded onto an existing server running Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.) Windows Server 2003. (Later, a production platform was acquired and the suite was migrated onto a Web server, an application server and database server.)
By April 2007, all data was input and workflows were tested. After a brief user-acceptance test, the new system went live without incident, Callahan reports. "Since the interface is a Web-based portal, formal end-user training wasn't required," he notes. "We E-mailed some basic instructions and the rest was learn-as-you-go."
The implementation team fine-tuned the deployment model and started adding other business units. By September the Courion solution was handling the workflow for 20 applications, up from the pilot's four. In June, People's United announced that it would acquire Chittenden Corp. (Burlington, Vt.; $6.4 billion in total assets); eventually, they envision, the system will support the 130 branches that will be acquired along with Chittenden.
"Now, provisioning an employee takes a day, down from five days," says Callahan. "And we decommission users with a mouse click -- our exposure is significantly reduced, and our auditors are pleased."
At year-end the implementation was nearing completion and a password management module was being added. Going forward, the bank has asked Courion to enhance file- and folder-level functionality. "At this time we can provide access to files and folders, but we need more-efficient management capabilities," Callahan explains.
Institution: People's United Bank (Bridgeport, Conn.).
Assets: $11 billion.
Business Challenge: Automate entitlements management to improve efficiency.
Solution: Courion Corp.'s (Framingham, Mass.) Enterprise Provisioning Suite.
Anne Rawland Gabriel is a technology writer and marketing communications consultant based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Among other projects, she's a regular contributor to UBM Tech's Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology ... View Full Bio