Netstal is an international provider of premium high-performance and high-precision injection moulding technology and system solutions. It impresses customers with constant innovations and services, as well as with efficient and performance-driven technological approaches, and is part of the KraussMaffei Group (KM Group).
Netstal is a long-standing Micro Focus customer that has relied on GroupWise® as its email and collaboration solution for many years. Its file and print infrastructure is based on Micro Focus Open Enterprise Server and secure file access is managed through Micro Focus Filr. The organisation occupies a premium place in its industry, with customers recognizing the high quality machines and expecting continuous innovation, as Stefan Winterberg, Head of IT at Netstal, explains: “In 2008, we started seeing a trend towards more internet-connected solutions. To stay ahead of the innovation curve and offer our customers more flexibility, we embarked on an ambitious digital transformation project. Our first step was to introduce a web-based online sales and machine configuration solution. However, our customer’s data and privacy protection is key and we needed to ensure state of the art data encryption, to provide secure end-to-end connectivity for our customers to access our systems, select products, define configurations, and place orders.”
Market research, in collaboration with IT implementation partner Nexpert, showed that Identity Manager and Access Manager™ from Micro Focus were at the time the most mature and integrated solutions on the market. Soon, an early version of Netstal’s extranet was available to its key customers, employees, and partners and this steadily grew in features and user numbers over the years.
Today the Netstal e-service platform has expanded to include a 3D catalog, eCommerce, ticketing and a remote monitoring and maintenance service for which Identity Manager and Access Manager were integral. Big data analytics is used to deliver predictive maintenance tools directly to the customer’s environment. Customer data is protected through unique encrypted user connections and Advanced Authentication from Micro Focus applies the appropriate level of multi-factor authentication. This diagnostics solution is available to customers via a microservices-enabled, mobile application for an interactive, real-time, and visual representation of their machine’s health. Identity Manager and Access Manager provide the connection between the data and the user. Mr Winterberg comments: “Our customers really appreciate this customised and personal approach we’ve enabled through the use of Micro Focus identity and access management solutions.”
KM Group was growing and the IT team focused on integrating its group-wide systems more effectively. As part of this, Micro Focus ZENworks® Configuration Management was implemented to automate endpoint management processes across the lifecycles of 3,000 KM Group desktops. This has drastically accelerated a group-wide Windows 10 migration. A central Human Capital Management (HCM) solution was introduced with self-service capabilities for every employee. At this point Micro Focus identity and access management solutions were in use for the e-service platform and the IT team evaluated them to manage access to the HCM system for its 7,000 employees. It found, once again, that Identity Manager and Access Manager were the right solutions for the job, as Mr Winterberg explains: “The Micro Focus solutions had proven to be scalable, from the smaller Netstal environment to the large KM Group environment. To create a comparable solution we would need to use a mix of different tools which was not practical.”
The Micro Focus identity and access management solutions fit particularly well, according to Mr Winterberg: “We appreciated that Access Manager leveraged our existing infrastructure, with strong security and reverse proxy concepts already in place. Identity Manager helped us integrate a very heterogeneous environment and provide single sign-on (SSO) capability across web-based applications such as Wikis, collaboration tools, our cloud-based systems, and our office environment. Our strategy is to link every new application to a single LDAP directory enabling SSO for our users.”
When an employee joins, changes roles, or leaves KM Group, Identity Manager is closely integrated with the HCM solution to validate user credentials and automatically provision or de-provision a user with all associated access rights to ensure an efficient on-boarding process. This end-to-end workflow is not only more secure, but it also frees up help-desk employees who would need to work on the manual and repetitive tasks surrounding user provisioning. They are now able to work on more value-add activities for the organisation.
GDPR legislation has renewed KM Group’s focus on governance and the Micro Focus solutions play a vital role here. “There is a strong trend towards cloud-hosted applications”, says Mr Winterberg, “and we need to be able to answer questions about data collection and storage. We also work in a highly regulated industry and are audited multiple times each year. The Micro Focus identity and access management solutions help us collate the information we need to quickly respond to audit requests and maintain GDPR-compliance (related to EU-DSGVO).”
For many years, Netstal has relied heavily on Micro Focus collaboration, endpoint management with ZENworks, and identity and access management solutions to run its business. Mr Winterberg is clear about the benefits: “Micro Focus and Nexpert have supported Netstal through our ongoing digital transformation. Micro Focus solutions have been implemented to support highly innovative customer engagements; save time and budget in managing a diverse desktop landscape; automate user provisioning; and create an effective self-service employee portal.”
He concludes: “Having tackled major themes such as cloud, mobile delivery, big data analytics, and visualisation, we are now focusing our attention towards the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart machines. In a world where governance and further digitalisation is increasingly important, we have no doubt that we have chosen the right partner in Micro Focus. Its vast portfolio of security solutions is sure to address our needs into the future.”
At a Glance
Micro Focus Partner: Nexpert
Challenge: Support a digital transformation project to provide higher quality customer service and
create a self-service culture among employees
Products and Services: Identity Manager; Access Manager; Advanced Authentication
ZENworks Configuration Management
Supports sophisticated customer e-service platform, including mobile delivery
Automated user provisioning and employee self-service portal
GDPR compliance and ease of responding to audits
Fully automated endpoint management processes across 3,000 desktops