Putting a Face on Identity

August 25th, 2016   /     /   product and technology, smarter identity

Today, we introduced a new feature called Photos, which enables users in OneLogin to have a photo on their profile. Many other apps have this capability already, so why am I so excited about this new feature? We use a bunch of collaborative apps where you work online in real-time with your colleagues. In Zendesk we work together on responding to support requests from customers. In Google Apps we collaborate on spreadsheets, docs and presentations, sometimes with more than a dozen people on the same document. In Salesforce we work on new deals, upgrades, renewals and partners. And in Slack, well, in Slack we work on everything. All. The. Time.

All the apps I just mentioned have a user profile where employees can upload a photo of themselves, but it is used very inconsistently. Pretty much no one uses the official corporate photo that HR takes when a person joins OneLogin. It’s a mix of poorly-lit selfies, OneLogin icons, smilies, photos of someone’s dog or kid or just the default silhouette that shows no photo was provided.

We are over 200 people at OneLogin and I wish that I could claim that I’m the CEO who knows the name of every single employee at the company, but I don’t. I know maybe 75% of the names. And as we continue to grow, that number will decline. It gets even worse if you look into the various departments where people mostly know the people they work with on a daily basis.

We’re a global company with employees scattered around the globe. The Internet is wonderful in that it enables us to work in a distributed fashion, but we also know that face time is invaluable because it creates that personal connection which is essential for trust to emerge and for communication to be smooth and effective.

This is why it really annoys me that Phil’s photo is an icon in Zendesk, a dog in Google Apps and a weird avatar in Slack. That doesn’t really help me connect with Phil when we trying to solve tricky problems together. And it doesn’t help me remember the name of that woman with the short hair I sometimes see in the break area.

This is what makes photos so exciting. We already have integrations to HR apps like Workday, UltiPro and Namely, which is where all employee details are first recorded when a person joins a company. OneLogin will automatically pull in the photos from these apps, but users can also upload photos manually if no HR app is connected. As soon as the photo changes in OneLogin’s cloud directory, it will be pushed to all the user’s apps and devices.

Not only will this create a much better user experience and improve collaboration among employees, it also increases security when you can put a recognizable face to a name. Some customers have told us that they have struggled for years to get employee photos in Active Directory populated into their key applications and we now have a solution for that. It really excites me when we can help our customers get even more value out of their existing cloud investments.

For more information on our new User Profile Page feature, click here. Or if you have a specific question, please don’t hesitate to contact us

About the Author

Thomas Pedersen, founder and CEO of Onelogin, has more than 15 years of experience in building and selling carrier-grade billing systems for phone companies, initially at Cisco-backed Digiquant in Denmark and later at Intec Telecom Systems in the US. After having helped Zendesk grow to 5,000 customers as VP Business Development, he is now laser-focused on making OneLogin the most widely deployed identity management solution in the cloud.

View all posts by Thomas Pedersen