Single sign-on allows seamless access to on-premises and cloud apps.
Robust mobile identity security offers anytime, anywhere access.
Students have automated provisioning and de-provisioning.
Academy of Art University Paints a New Vision for Student-centric IT
Universities that really care about their students seek ways to improve the experience at all touchpoints. For the Academy of Art University, that “student-centric” approach meant finding a way to serve a large-scale, highly dynamic user population with diverse access needs throughout its 21 colleges, 45 buildings, and the cloud.
As the largest accredited private art and design school in the United States, the Academy of Art University numbers more than 18,000 students, 70,000 alumni, and 3,000 employees, 1,800 of whom are instructors. Based in San Francisco, this urban university holds its courses and programs in dozens of buildings and online. A key objective was to update its IT infrastructure to enable unified identity management, single sign-on (SSO), and student-centric accessibility.
The university’s needs are complex. Identities and credentials must be shared across 21 colleges. Students must be provisioned and re-provisioned to a multitude of applications and services throughout their time at the school. Students and faculty need to use on-premises and cloud applications from within—and in many cases, across—the colleges. The school’s 1,500 staff members need access to a variety of on-premises and cloud-based line-of-business applications. Finally, whether in the classroom, workplace, dorm, or shuttle bus, everyone expects seamless access to all resources at all times.
After considering solutions from Oracle, Atlassian, and identity-as-a-service provider Okta, Erik Viens, Executive VP of Technology and CIO, and his team chose PingFederate.
“We decided early that we wanted an on-premises solution that would help us ramp up fast, right out of the box, and keep custom development at a minimum,” Viens said. “Ping met all our needs. They provided pre-built integration kits and SaaS connectors for most of our core components. Plus, they built a proprietary connector for our homegrown LMS, which was key to our implementation.”
Viens was enthusiastic about mobile solutions from Ping Identity, as they addressed the major challenge of providing service to students as they moved from building to building. PingFederate offers a secure bridge from PeopleSoft to Salesforce to the mobile app on the student’s mobile device, creating seamless, uninterrupted service throughout the campus. PingFederate provides unmatched capabilities for complicated enterprise use cases. It readily enables SSO, federated identity management, mobile identity security, automated provisioning, and more.
The system also includes advanced administrative dashboards that give the team detailed insight into system operations, helping them make better decisions to improve performance and efficiently use resources. Simple yet comprehensive scripting capabilities allow them to automate self-tuning and audit logging of all admin commands. They can also automate advanced command line (CLI) and interactive menu-driven interfaces. This efficiency allows many tasks to be accomplished in hours instead of days or weeks.
Improved stability and performance enable the team to confidently utilize advanced features they were reluctant to implement on the aging DSEE system. They can better support users with features such as persistent search, which allows real-time access to data.
The numbers tell the story. More than 27,000 student records are now unified through Salesforce.com, and the Salesforce CRM capabilities are used to assemble a unified record from the first interest in the university through enrollment and beyond. Roughly 25,000 users have simple, secure SSO access. Also, 9,000 new students and grads are provisioned and de-provisioned per year. This occurs across multiple applications throughout the student lifecycle. In addition, 21 colleges have seamless and secure mobile access, which takes place across a highly distributed campus covering 45 buildings and the cloud.
Ping has been an important partner in moving us from where we were in 2011 to where we are now—and to where we hope to be in the next few years. Ping is providing the backbone across our whole university.
Executive VP of Technology and CIO
More About Academy of Art University
Founded in 1929 by artists for artists, Academy of Art University is a for-profit, family-owned university located in San Francisco. It is the largest accredited private art and design school in the United States, with an enrollment of more than 18,000 students. The university offers 36 on-campus and online degree and certificate programs across 21 fine arts colleges.