Introducing Directory Accounts

Directory AccountAs part of our ‘Beyond IT’ initiative, we have added a unique feature that makes it easier for large enterprises to give their employees online access to support for all kinds of services; not just the ones that their IT departments provide.

Many large companies have realized that their employees are more productive when they have instant self-service access to support.  Whenever an employee gets stuck for whatever reason, it should be easy to get help from the experts.  That improves morale and gets the employee back to work as quickly as possible.

Historically, employees have already been able to contact a service desk when they were struggling with a computer issue.  Now, the other support domains, like Human Resources, Facilities Management and Purchasing, are setting up their own online portals that make it easier for employees to obtain their support.

Because some of the information that employees share with, for example, the HR department is private, the HR self-service portal is often completely separate from IT’s portal.  That means that the employees are expected to know how to access each portal and they all have a different look and feel.

The new feature that we have been working on over the past several months is called the Directory Account.  Large corporations can set up a directory account and maintain all their Person, Organization and Site records in it.  Each department that wants to set up a self-service portal can subsequently set up a support domain account without having to populate it with any Person, Organization and Site records, because the support domain account can use the data that is maintained centrally in the directory account.

All employees, no matter where they are located in the world, can then be given the web address of the directory account.  They can use this URL to get (single sign-on) access when they need any kind of support.

For example, when an employee of the Finance department in Amsterdam accesses the corporate self-service portal, she gets several support domains to choose from.  When a data center specialist in Houston goes to the same portal, he will see completely different options, because there are different departments locally that support him.

4me support domains on smartphone browser of different users

4me only lists the support domains that provide one or more services to the employee, so only the options that are relevant for the user are offered.  This is important, because large multinationals may have more than 100 support domains globally.

When an employee submits a request for one of the support domains, this request gets registered in this support domain.  That means that access to this request is restricted to the support specialists who work in this domain, i.e. who have a role (or access profile) of the support domain account.  This makes it possible, for example, to ensure that IT specialists are not able to see any of the HR requests.

Even though support specialists may not be authorized to see the requests from other support domains, trust relations can be established between the support domain accounts to, for example, allow the IT, HR and Facilities Management departments to work together on a change workflow for onboarding a new employee.  After all, such a change may require IT to prepare a laptop, HR to set up a payroll schedule, and Facilities Management to make a desk available.

The advantages that a directory account provides can be summarized as follows:

  1. a single corporate self-service portal for all employees for any type of support
  2. a central repository from which the employee information is made available to all support domains
  3. the support domains have control over who is authorized to access their data, without sacrificing the ability for the support domains to work together