Self-Service Automation for Identity and Access Management Unlocks Productivity

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Case study - Self-Service Automation for Identity and Access Management Unlocks Productivity

About the Client

NatWest Group is the largest business and commercial bank in the UK. It offers market-leading digital capabilities combined with expert human support for personal customers. And it provides banking services for around one in four businesses in the UK and Ireland.

When NatWest Group’s Identity and Access Management (IAM) team were unable to keep pace with the demand for application onboarding, we set up an automated self-service solution. It transformed Identity and Access Management (IAM) into a critical enabler for digital innovation at the bank.

Challenge: Locked in a Lengthy Onboarding Process

NatWest Group’s IAM team provides authentication and authorisation capabilities for colleagues building the bank’s digital applications. After introducing a modern platform for IAM, the team faced difficulties with the process of application onboarding. As well as involving multiple handoffs and dependencies, temporary project structures and silos of information, each onboarding required manual deployment and configuration testing.

Lead times for onboarding applications exceeded 90 days, and the backlog was increasing at a rate IAM could not keep pace with. It was also impossible for the team to prioritise continuous improvements, such as automating configuration deployments.

Recognising that DevOps engineering could break this self-perpetuating cycle, the IAM team partnered with us to develop a new onboarding process.

“We knew there had to be a way to overcome the challenges we were facing. [This collaboration] meant we got there faster. This positive introduction to DevOps engineering has empowered our IAM engineers, and will deliver long term benefits.”

Sergio Pereira-Lopes
IAM Platform Lead, NatWest Group

Solution: Automated Self-service Breaks the Cycle

We developed a self-service solution with automation at its core so that application teams could onboard themselves with minimal intervention from IAM. Testing, governance and deployment of applications was also automated. The approach involved standardised patterns and processes which were brought to life using technology such as Ansible, TeamCity and Python.

To maximise the benefits, IAM also transitioned to a product-based operating model, which was better suited to the new technology and practices being developed. Our engineering squad worked with IAM specialists to implement this, while our consultants provided support in upskilling the team.

By codifying the IAM onboarding patterns, we unlocked faster feedback loops and change the cadence for both the IAM team and its consumers. As an additional benefit, we used the existing platform’s API, so consumers and platform management teams didn’t need to schedule downtime to deploy configurations.

The future strategy is to create more standard patterns for onboarding, and the extendibility of the solution makes this easy to achieve.

Outcome: From Innovation Barrier to Critical Enabler

The implementation of automated self-service has repositioned IAM as an enabler of digital innovation at NatWest Group. There has been a 50% increase in deployments into production and a 50% decrease in wait times for consumers. Time spent by the IAM team onboarding each application has been reduced by 70%.

IAM engineers now take advantage of pair programming and a pull request-based branching model as well as automated pipelines to facilitate feedback and avoid single points of failure. With the shift to a product-based approach, the team is now increasing its capabilities to visualise and organise for the end-to-end flow of consumer value.

These improvements have had a positive impact on the IAM team’s ability to prioritise positive change. It now works proactively to enhance service offerings while keeping pace with innovation at the bank.

“The IAM team is now at the forefront of self-service adoption and delivery within NatWest Group’s enterprise engineering division. [The collaboration] helped us achieve this by changing the team’s mindset and enabling us to make the most of new technologies.”

Sergio Pereira-Lopes
IAM Platform Lead, NatWest Group

This case study is based on work completed by DevOpsGroup before the team joined forces with Sourced Group, an Amdocs company.