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Automating software access requests with Atom and Microsoft Entra

How Atom can intelligently automate and centralize software access provisioning process through Microsoft Entra.

Access provisioning is one of the most essential day-to-day tasks your IT team handles. Time and again, we’ve seen employees stranded and unproductive while they go through a time-consuming process when they request access to new software:

  1. The employee first needs to find out who they need to reach out to, or the portal URL to raise a request for new software
  2. The employee raises a ticket from the portal, after a long trip asking around for where they need to go.
  3. The employee waits for their manager to approve their request. Managers are typically busy and this approval request gets lost in their email inboxes.
  4. Multiple reminders to the approver later, the IT team gets notified
  5. If the IT team has admin access to the requested software, they click a couple of buttons, and all good, the employee is granted access.
  6. In some cases, we’ve seen that the IT team doesn’t actually have access to the requested software, and in turn, passes on the request to an administrator of the software and waits for them to add the employee. That’s just more hoops, and more wasted time.

Downside of not automating software access requests

1. Poor employee experience

Employees have to figure out where they need to go, to raise a request. Much of work collaboration today happens on Microsoft Teams and Slack, and having to remember and go to a portal to raise an access request feels like a sub-par experience.

2. Delayed service fulfillment because of approvals taking time

Because managers are also employees who primarily use Slack and Microsoft Teams, they tend to miss out on approval email notifications. As a result, they inadvertently cause higher wait times on fulfilling software requests, making employees less productive.

3. Decentralized access management, leading to data risk

When IT teams directly add users to the software itself, IT no longer can perform centralized user management, and this might lead to accounts remaining active even after offboarding.

4. IT team occupied by low-leverage activities

Manually adding and removing users to software is a low-leverage activity for IT teams that consumes a lot of time. This is stripping away IT’s ability to do higher-order process improvements within and outside IT that benefit the business.

5. Cost of admin licenses

In the last situation mentioned in the previous section, there’s an added cost for the extra license that the organization pays just to keep the IT agent on the software product to provision and de-provision users manually.

The productivity cost of not automating software access requests

If we quantify the time spent on this monetarily, we can really start seeing how much cost is being incurred on the IT team as a result of not automating this piece of work.

That’s 2,500 hours of time that the IT team can use on strategically important projects instead of doing an extremely mundane activity: clicking buttons and adding users to the software.

This estimate doesn’t even cover the cost of employees stranded unproductive 10,000 times in a year to get access to software that’s important to get their job done - the numbers would be much higher when we include this cost.

Guide to automating software access requests and getting IT to focus on more important projects

Atom, our Slack and Microsoft Teams AI assistant, can intelligently automate and centralize software access provisioning process through Microsoft Entra (formerly Azure AD).

By setting up MS Entra groups that automatically get access to your enterprise applications and plugging Atomicwork into MS Entra, you can exponentially decrease the time it takes to fulfill these requests.

Atom skills allow for automated user addition to AD groups, when they request for new software (after approvals). Let's take the example below, where a new member of a GTM team needs access to Salesforce:

As you can see, Atom

  • understands when users are requesting access to software used in your enterprise stack
  • presents available access options to end users automatically
  • notifies approvers through Microsoft Teams and Slack and reminds them periodically
  • automatically adds employees to the right AD group after approval
  • informs employees that they now have access to the software requested after adding them to the right groups

All of this saves time and cost for your IT team and eliminates the grunt work of coordination and clicking buttons over and over again! To make things even better, Atom can do all of this with nearly zero set-up effort. You don’t really require implementation engineers or several months to get this going. Things work out of the box, and you have control to configure which apps can be requested by employees.

Co-authored by Shankar Ganesh.

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