Business Layers Eases End-User Management

FRAMINGHAM (05/04/2000) - Business Layers is hoping to slip a layer into corporate directories that will help large companies efficiently manage the addition and deletion of users and the assignment of network resources.

The firm this week released eProvision Employees, the first in a planned line of directory-enabled applications. The software lets users create what Business Layers calls an "Active Digital Profile," including basic user information such as name, department and title.

The profile kicks off a series of workflows that assign company resources such as a laptop or PC, network and application access and e-mail addresses that become part of the profile. The profile then lets administrators log resource allocations, which can be used as a checklist when deleting users, and to create reports.

The eProvision software supports any Lightweight Directory Access Protocol that runs on Windows NT. The software ships with Novell's Directory Service.

The boon to IT is the automation of user management, which is often a tedious and unorganized process for companies with many domestic or international offices.

"With the emphasis on workflow, Business Layers is attacking administrator and management issues associated with streamlining user management," says Jonathan Penn, an analyst with Giga Information Group in Cambridge, Mass. "It reduces the overhead of dealing with the creation of users and assigning them resources."

Penn says the workflow engine separates Business Layers from companies such as Oblix, which has a number of directory-enabled applications, including one for user management.

The eProvision workflow engine triggers a number of jobs when a new user is created through the software's Web-based interface. The engine also has an escalation feature for when the workflow process stalls and human intervention is needed.

The workflow engine is coupled with a rules engine that is customized by the end user, and dictates how and what resources are allotted.

The software also has a series of connectors to enterprise systems, including one for Lucent PBX systems, that will automatically create a phone number and voice mail account. There also are connectors for Microsoft Exchange and Check Point's Firewall-1.

The eProvision Employees software is priced at $30,000. The connectors cost $9 per seat.

Business Layers: www.businesslayers.com.

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