Delivering packages to customers in a timely fashion takes more than a good shipping label.\n \n In the case of FedEx, employees often need special IDs to make deliveries, such as the Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) badges required to access restricted airport areas. For years, FedEx relied on 121 security administrators to manually provision and deprovision SIDA badges as well as proximity cards for parking-lot access and photo IDs for building access.\n \n The system helped prevent security breaches, but FedEx\u2019s process for retrieving badges and disabling access for inactive or terminated employees \u201cwasn\u2019t centralized and easy to audit,\u201d says Denise Wood, FedEx\u2019s CISO. The result, she says, were gaps in deprovisioning that not only posed a security threat, but could have required FedEx to re-badge approximately 60,000 employees in the event of an audit.\n \n \u201cWhen people leave a large company, it can be difficult to get all of their accounts closed in a timely fashion,\u201d says James Quin, a lead analyst with Info-Tech Research Group. \u201cIn a lot of cases, you end up with ghost accounts\u2014accounts that exist on the system that nobody is assigned to anymore, and those are big security holes.\u201d\n \n So FedEx developed an identity management (IdM) intranet application that automates the badge-management process, boosts regulatory compliance and cuts costs, all with a single card.\n \n An employee simply submits a request to obtain a badge and, depending on the person\u2019s job function, the system automatically selects from 12 badge designs, puts the individual\u2019s photo on the badge and then forwards it to FedEx\u2019s human resources department, where it\u2019s printed and shipped to the employee. Managers are automatically notified of the need to review or approve an employee request, and approvals are logged for seven years, in compliance with government regulations.\n \n By using a single card, FedEx\u2019s IdM system has reduced processing time for facility-access requests from three weeks to real time and eliminated more than 23,000 annual man hours, or $1.2 million, in card-administration cost. Within six months of deployment, Wood says, FedEx \u201ccompletely eliminated an outsourced provider for password management,\u201d a third-party contract worth $500,000.\n \n An IdM system \u201cisn\u2019t an easy solution to implement,\u201d warns Quin. The project came with a $277,000 price tag and must combine databases from multiple departments with competing priorities. To foster teamwork, Wood held monthly meetings with senior-level executives from affected departments to pinpoint mutually beneficial opportunities and ensure transparency. The meetings helped Wood build a strong business case for the project. Offering refreshments didn\u2019t hurt either.\n The Company: FedEx Memphis, Tenn.\n \n \n \n A $35.5 billion logistics-services company with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. The company boasts more than 275,000 employees and contractors.\n \n How they saved: By combining three cards into one, the identity management (IdM) system reduces the time it takes to issue badges from three weeks to real time. Automating badge requests has also eliminated 23,000 annual man hours, or $1.2 million, worth of administrative tasks.\n \n Tools used: FedEx\u2019s IdM system. The facility-access portion of the system debuted in September 2007. The badge-management component followed in January 2009.\n \n Group Development: \n Rather than burden IT with creating thousands of new badge-management applications, FedEx set up a brand new infrastructure integrating the databases of disparate departments\u2014including corporate security, human resources and information security\u2014to ensure a seamless, single card-provisioning process.\n \n Build a Business Case: \n To justify the nearly $277,000 project, FedEx developed a value scorecard that tracks productivity gains and cost savings, such as eliminated third-party contracts.\n \n Cindy Waxer is a freelance writer based in Canada.