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Case Study

IAM as the cornerstone for digitized processes and greater user experience at SD Worx

SD Worx is a without a doubt one of the leaders in the European HR services market. The company was among the first to steer its customers on the path of digital, giving the employees of its customers online access to documents and applications. SD Worx chose TrustBuilder as its preferred partner for Identity and Access Management.

“SD Worx is a European frontrunner when it comes to digitizing HR services,” says Wim Adam, Web System Engineer at the Antwerp-based HR services company. “As a big player, we are at the forefront of new developments.” He has witnessed the evolution from paper to digital interactions, first with classic websites, later through mobile apps and the use of APIs for applications that exchange information amongst them. A system that guards access to all sources is key in making this digital transformation successful, especially with the latest trend where SD Worx even offers access to an ecosystem of applications that belong to third parties. To drive more traffic to its mobile app, myworkandme, SD Worx uses a user friendly Multi-factor Authentication solution, lowering the threshold to user access.

Over the years, SD Worx has grown by acquisitions in Belgium and the rest of Europe. In different countries, it uses different portals and different applications. “Our main aim is to set up an authentication component that can authenticate all types of applications from every country. We use TrustBuilder ID Hub as an international Access Management platform to let customers start up any SD Worx application, using advanced features such as Single Sign-on (SSO), adaptive and personalized access management, Multi Factor Authentication (MFA), etc.

 
Wim Adam

“The flexibility of TrustBuilder Identity Hub is a major bonus for us. It supports not only standard protocols, but proprietary protocols too. That is rare in other tools, which are sometimes SAML-only, and allow no editing. We can authenticate all our applications, even the legacy ones.”

– Wim Adam, Web System Engineer at SD Worx.

Scalability to support growth

In all, TrustBuilder authenticates users for close to 300 applications. “This ranges from just consulting pay slips to requesting vacation or even evaluating applicants.” TrustBuilder Identity Hub is used by some 4,000 SD Worx employees (who log in in the same way as external customers do) and over a million users at SD Worx customers. “In the coming years, we will migrate more of our international customers to the same platform.” Of course, they don’t all authenticate at the same moment, but there are definite peaks in traffic, explains Serge Van Kampen, Product Owner at SD Worx: “Every month there is such a peak when the HR department calculates the wages, followed by customers’ employees consulting their pay slips. And there is a huge yearly peak when calculations for taxes are made and all employees want to view their tax statement.”

Unlocking legacy applications

SD Worx regularly evaluates the IAM market, but TrustBuilder Identity Hub remains the preferred IAM solution, for many reasons. “Its flexibility is a major bonus for us,” said Adam. “TrustBuilder Identity Hub acts as an identity proxy for us, translating an identity from any protocol to any other protocol. Not only standard protocols, but proprietary protocols too. That is rare in other tools, which are sometimes SAML-only, and allow no editing. We can authenticate all our applications, even the legacy ones.” SD Worx appreciates the fact that exotic protocols can be configured by their own team, while often used or standard protocols are easy to implement thanks to the Graphical User Interface (GUI). “Whenever we ask TrustBuilder ‘can TrustBuilder ID Hub support this?’ – we have never gotten no for an answer. That is most impressive.”

TrustBuilder Identity Hub is completely transparent to users. “TrustBuilder allows us to build branding pages, so the entire system has an SD Worx look and feel. For the user, authentication is part of our portal.”

Customer story MFA

Improving Employee experience through MFA

TrustBuilder does not only work in the backend, SD Worx also uses TrustBuilder’s MFA solution to drive traffic to its mobile app, Myworkandme. “Digital will be the main channel to deliver HR interactions in the future,” says Michael Custers, CMO at SD Worx. By bundling a host of HR applications in one place, SD Worx makes life easier for both specialized HR staff and employees.

Over 5 million people use SD Worx’s HR applications. Either on a daily basis (HR professionals at the SD Worx customers) or less regularly, for instance customer employees who want to consult pay slips, request leave, approve expenses, … The information stored in HR applications is highly confidential and personal, so access is protected using Multi-factor authentication. Traditionally, SD Worx used username and password combinations complemented by hardware token devices, one-time passwords sent by SMS (SMS OTP) and mobile authenticators such as Google or Microsoft Authenticator. “We wanted to get rid of the username-password combination,” says Gert Beeckmans, Chief Risk & Security Officer at SD Worx Group. “Improving the overall employee experience was our priority. Keying in extra codes to authenticate on top of having to manage your passwords is a considerable burden and creates friction. What we were looking for was a solution that was even simpler than a user/password combination. Something that is so easy to use that users wished they had this system for every app they need to authenticate for. For us, as an organization, there is a second benefit: sending SMS OTP is expensive if you have high volumes of users using numerous online services.”

After scanning the market for a solution with a good customer experience that eliminates any usability hurdles for their customers, SD Worx chose TrustBuilder Mobile Authenticator. It is a strong authentication solution for mobile devices combining the world’s safest authentication method with the best user login experience.

TrustBuilder Mobile Authenticator caters to the mobile user who wants to get rid of passwords and adds strong authentication for mobile as well as for web-based applications. Once users have onboarded to an application, they can access that application by requesting a push notification to their smartphone. Just a fingerprint or a PIN is enough to access the application. If TrustBuilder Mobile Authenticator is integrated into a mobile app, even the push notification is not necessary.

“Whenever we ask TrustBuilder ‘can TrustBuilder Identity Hub support this?’ – we have never gotten no for an answer. That is most impressive, along with the fact that TrustBuilder does not force you to have all users in its own identity store. Some vendors obligate you to perform a user conversion. Our users reside in four different user stores and TrustBuilder can perfectly handle that.”

– Wim Adam, Web System Engineer at SD Worx.

Seamless integration

“What really attracted us to TrustBuilder Mobile Authenticator was the user-friendliness of the solution, plus the ability to seamlessly integrate it into our own mobile application,” said Michael Custers. “It is great that we can combine access to information and a user-friendly tool to secure that access in one single application. Integrating TrustBuilder Mobile Authenticator into our mobile app Myworkandme will certainly help drive adoption of it.” Users of the SD Worx app get an integrated solution and do not need to swap from the SD Worx app to an authentication app or messaging app. A Proof of Concept demonstrated how easy the integration was and delivered on the promise of easy onboarding and authentication. “Onboarding to a new application is sometimes a hassle,” said Gert Beeckmans. “With TrustBuilder Mobile Authenticator, the entire flow is intuitive.”

Flexibility and open communication

SD Worx also praises the flexibility of the company and its staff and the open communication. “Our internal TrustBuilder specialists do all the basic configurations and troubleshooting. For more complex customization or for large projects, we call on TrustBuilder. They are always ready for us,” said Van Kampen. And whenever problems occur – software will be software – TrustBuilder is quick to help fix those issues.

“TrustBuilder also listens to our requests and builds new features into its roadmap and products. Seeing our requests appear in new versions of a product is remarkable. This allows us to stay ahead of the pack and differentiates us from our competitors who work with IAM vendors”. Adam cites OpenID Connect as an example. “TrustBuilder already supported OpenID Connect, but we requested specific features such as hybrid flow. TrustBuilder accommodated our requests. The product team saw the added value and went for it.”

Challenges

  • SD Worx was looking for an IAM solution that can authenticate all types of HR applications.
  • SD Worx wanted to let its users authenticate seamlessly.
  • SD Worx wanted do drive greater adoption of its mobile app through an easy-to-use MFA solution
  • SD Worx required a solution that supported both standard protocols and proprietary protocols.

Results

  • TrustBuilder.io acts as the single gateway to all applications, allowing centralized security management and providing SD Worx with a scalable platform and the required business agility to quickly launch new digital services.
  • TrustBuilder.io provides the end user with a secure and very user-friendly solution for passwordless authentication, increasing the usage of the mobile application and customer engagement.
  • TrustBuilder.io accelerates that digital transformation by integrating HR Tech apps and SD Worx apps, including legacy applications, avoiding bottlenecks in that transformation.

About

SD Worx delivers a full range of quality services in the areas of payroll, HR and Tax & Legal. Active in ten countries, SD Worx is the number 2 in HR services in Europe and is in the top 5 worldwide. Its customer base includes more than 65,000 large and small organizations that are active in a range of industries. In 2019, SD Worx increased its revenue to €768 million.

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