Support Leader Zendesk Drives Business Agility and IT Operational Improvements with Identity Management

At a glance

FOCUS ON SUPPORT – With a company mission to help customers scale and improve their technical support function, the internal IT team at Zendesk has unique insight into what it takes to deliver excellent support to a technically sophisticated workforce. Zendesk’s 20-person IT team supports over 2,000 users across five continents, with major operations in London, Dublin, Melbourne, and San Francisco, and smaller offices all over the world.

Identity and access management (IAM) for any organization can be painful to manage and control. When Zendesk started facing additional challenges of rapid growth with a globally dispersed workforce, and SaaS app proliferation with usernames and passwords, it chose OneLogin as its IAM provider and has remained a customer for several years.


“Identity management at Zendesk is predicated on the whole concept of OneLogin. It's essentially our one-stop shop, the portal for all our internal customers. As we've grown and brought in more disparate toolsets, OneLogin has been really useful in keeping that under control, enabling us to roll out new systems quickly. That's the beauty of OneLogin, it's all SAML-based and can leverage the infrastructure you already have for identity management,” says David Rule, Senior IT Support at Zendesk.

“One of the benefits of using OneLogin is the integration between major platforms. It's the glue that holds all of our disparate systems together. When we set up a user in Active Directory, the OneLogin connector automatically provisions their OneLogin account, and then their Google G Suite account as well,” continues Rule.


Because OneLogin can actually look at Active Directory (AD) and map group memberships, giving people access to applications like Workday or Slack is as easy as adding them to an AD group when IT provisions them. It happens automatically, eliminating a lot of manual work and cutting down significantly on time.

“What I find most useful about OneLogin is the time saved in onboarding and offboarding employees -- it is one of the real strengths of the OneLogin integration with Workday, being able to easily integrate new hires and applications into the workplace,” says Fidelma Butler, Senior Director of Human Resources at Zendesk.

“If you think about time saved, it's absolutely massive. I recently had to do a manual onboard, and it took about two and a half hours to get all the person's applications set up. With OneLogin, setup takes less than 20 minutes. That amounts to an 80-90% reduction in time spent setting up user accounts,” states Rule.


Zendesk selected Workday for its human resource information system (HRIS). The integration workflow with OneLogin and AD makes Workday the source of truth, bringing further efficiencies and removing friction for Zendesk HR, IT and new hires.

“We've gone from having multiple touch points with potential for manual errors to where now HR enters the user, it gets pushed into AD, and OneLogin takes over the rest of the provisioning. It's an extremely efficient cycle, and the same goes for offboarding. For acquisitions, onboarding of new employees is really simple. In one instance, I didn't even know we'd done it until I saw a bunch of new users in AD. It's that efficient,” says Rule.


While the benefits are clear regarding productivity and security, “Perhaps the most exciting thing about OneLogin is that everyday tasks have been automated, so we can shift our focus to project work that delivers greater impact to the business. For employee development, OneLogin has a real tangible benefit,” states Rule.

Zendesk has a heavy focus on developing staff and working on projects. Being able to give their staff the opportunity to grow and develop has helped the internal IT department achieve a markedly high retention rate.

“In traditional IT, you're constantly putting out fires, resetting passwords or doing manual user account creation for apps day-to-day. You're either going to get lazy or leave, because it's just so mind-numbingly dull,” observes Rule.

He continues, “While the benefits can’t easily be quantified in minutes or hours, it's the level of work, passion and enthusiasm your staff can actually contribute to the business. Unless you're using it, it's very hard to see the benefit to that kind of platform. Invariably, you can move and adapt much more quickly.”


Zendesk expanded very rapidly, and the internal support team grew significantly as well. “The OneLogin support team has been instrumental in helping us understand how our internal system is set up and why. Some of my tickets have been quite complex, but they took the time to listen and understand the problem first, because they came back with all the right information. And it made me look great, because when I applied it, everything worked! I know if I need help, I can count on them to help me get the job done," says Rule.

He continues, “As someone who works integrating dozens of different apps, even if the platform's not that mature, the most critical success factor is the support -- that is the real value in doing business with someone. People don't take a hard look when they're evaluating a vendor, but the most important thing for me is, ‘What is the support team like? Do they care?’”

Rule concludes, “The level and quality of support very often reflect a company's culture. And if that's not there, it doesn't matter how many features you have. If you can't get it to work and there's no one to help, it's a worthless feature. You can't teach people to be passionate or care. It's there or it's not, and with the support staff at OneLogin, you know they do.”

Why OneLogin?

OneLogin brings speed and integrity to the modern enterprise with an award-winning single sign-on and identity management platform. Our portfolio of solutions secure connections across all users, all devices and every application, helping enterprises drive new levels of business integrity and operational velocity across their entire app portfolios.

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