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The Early Bird Gets the Benefits
The Early Bird Gets the Benefits

How a single identity solution allows ODJFS to recognize increased workforce productivity

The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) was among the first state agencies to go “all in” in its adoption of Ohio Digital Experience (ODX) products and capabilities.

Even before ODX emerged as a program, ODJFS recognized the need to consolidate identity accounts for employees, contractors, and external workers within their organization. A single identity solution would be key to solving agency pain points associated with its identity onboarding and account management processes.  With security and account provisioning as drivers, ODJFS and ODX partnered to deliver Phase 1 of Enterprise Identity Management (EIDM) - decentralized identity provisioning and password management - in May, 2018.

Prior to on-boarding to ODX, ODJFS had a manual, centralized provisioning process for creating new user accounts and granting access to the agency’s applications and systems. While there were benefits to centralizing this work, upstream dependencies and high request volume resulted in delayed productivity for the agency’s new workers.

Now, with decentralized, automated account provisioning and password management through ODX, accounts are created within minutes, allowing new employees, contractors, and external workers to start learning their jobs on the day they start.  Multiple self-service portals were combined into one externally available portal for all Workforce, reducing confusion and allowing 24x7 access to manage their account and password.

Corey Sines, ODJFS’ Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), stated that enhanced security was another driving force for on-boarding to ODX products. Prior to ODX, the agency had multiple accounts and processes to maintain and authenticate, making it difficult to validate authentication and identity from a security perspective. “When you have one identity, it’s much easier to maintain security controls and stay in compliance.” He added, “When you stack up the benefits and the security embedded in the ODX platform, it sells itself and is the right thing to do from both the user experience and security perspectives.” Consolidating to one source for authentication allows ODJFS to focus on maximizing the security for that identity.

By working with ODX, the agency was able to realize its vision more quickly because the funding mechanism and contract vehicle is in place and available to the enterprise. As an early partner and adopter, ODJFS shared a few lessons learned too. Mr. Sines stressed the importance of starting identity data rationalization and clean-up as early as possible – even before the start of an identity management project.  Most importantly, he encourages agencies to focus heavily on user experience through change management and inclusion of business users into iterative feedback cycles and testing activities.  Mr. Sines highlighted the importance of change management with projects of this magnitude, stating that “even a project with perfect technical execution will not be seen as successful without considering the user experience and incorporating effective change management.”  

For questions related to on-boarding to OH|ID and ODX, please contact Derek Bridges at derek.j.bridges@das.ohio.gov or Elizabeth Robinson at elizabeth.robinson@das.ohio.gov. For general inquiries, please contact the ODX mailbox at ohio.digital.experience@das.ohio.gov.