Katerra achieves 90% cost reduction in employee onboarding to support its aggressive growth
Fully automated employee life cycle and role based access management creates significant cost saving and risk avoidance
Katerra is a new class of silicon valley companies which is a construction company but it's actually a technology company. It has taken a different approach, "A technology company at heart, we're applying tested systems approaches from other industries to design and construction", spells out Katerra's vision. A vertically integrated end-to-end building service startup founded in Feb, 2015 has $1.3 billions in bookings and has raised $1.1B including $865 million investment by Softbank in 2018. In 2017, Katerra was listed in "LinkedIn Top Companies | Startups: The 50 industry disruptors you need to know now".
Katerra is following backward vertical integration strategy of integrating technology, design, procurement, manufacturing, and construction under a single management removing the middleman and speeding up the construction process. It is creating a global supply chain by acquiring companies and building its own factories and facilities. All of this means a fast growing employee base through integration of acquired companies. From this growth, comes challenges of onboarding new hires and merged employees.
“RoboMQ has reduced the work required to manage employee life cycle and onboarding by 90% or more. Katerra has grown aggressively by adding new facilities and acquiring related businesses. Imagine the work needed to setup new employees, organizations and role based access for 3,500 employees. All this manual, tedious, and error prone work is fully automated with RoboMQ, making our life easy and our employees happy.”
- Art Rios, Senior Manager Infrastructure engineering, Katerra
Katerra has been a fast growing company since its founding in 2015. It had 650 employees in 2017, distributed across US and international locations. Katerra is continuing to acquire companies in its space and creating facilities and factories following its strategy of consolidating supply chains for the construction industry.
For the IT operations, it means increased workload of onboarding new employees, creating organization structures and providing and controlling role based access (RBAC) through security groups. Katerra also wanted to create a welcoming environment to newly acquired employees through smooth onboarding, access setup, and a welcoming communication process.
With aggressive growth and the desire to provide an environment to its employees that encourages innovation, creativity, and collaboration, Katerra was facing resource challenges to perform routine, tedious and costly, yet very important job of onboarding employees, setting up their accounts, email, security groups and distribution lists. It all mattered to make a new hire part of the company. IT operations also had to make sure that the organizational changes and realignments were smooth for existing employees.
For a typical new hire, the manual process will involve the following steps:
- HR hires, updates or terminates an employee in ADP
- HR creates a service desk ticket for AD and Office 365 account creation or update
- The ticket would sit in a queue to be processed by already overloaded IT sysadmins
- IT sysadmin creates AD account, provide role based access (security groups) and assign Office 365 licenses
- Sysadmin notifies HR, employee and her manager and updates the ticket
These set of steps will typically take at least 2 hours or more of productive sysadmin and HR time. There were unavoidable delays in response since sysadmin had other more critical tasks to attend to. These repetitive and tedious tasks were neither appealing nor justified use of time spent by highly skilled sysadmins. The fallouts from manual process would create an unpleasant employee experience as well as causing a back and forth and last minute fire fighting and escalations. In addition, any delay in new hire account creation was lost productive work time.
Delay in removing access for terminated employees meant security and compliance issues in addition to potential reputation risks in case of sensitive terminations.
Katerra engaged RoboMQ for its Employee Lifecycle management which is offered as a fully managed Software as a Service(SaaS). RoboMQ fully automates employee onboarding, life cycle management, role based access and memberships for internal communication lists. It automated all aspects of employee life cycle to provide smooth and engaging work environment for new hires and acquired employees from the first hour.
- Automated hire, rehire, change of roles and termination from ADP to AD in near real time
- Active Directory (AD) and Office 365 account creation
- Rule based assignment of security groups for role based access to sensitive enterprise systems
- Distribution lists and Office 365 group membership management
- Welcome email to new employee, their manager, and HR
- Setup internal communication list and sharepoint profiles
- All of above was executed in near real time, triggered by changes made in the ADP HR system
The integration ran on auto pilot and notified of any exception via email and creation of a case in service desk so that IT operations can react to issues. The amount of work previously done by sysadmins was literally reduced to zero. Imagine the direct cost savings of 2 hours of sysadmin time for Katerra that grew from 650 employees in 2017 to 3500 employees in a year in 2018. At $80 per hours sysadmin cost it adds up to $456,000 in direct cost savings. Add to it, indirect benefits and risk mitigation through:
- Streamlined employee life cycle management & RBAC (role based access control)
- Full automation leading to higher employee satisfaction and goodwill among merged employees
- Tighter rule based management of privileged access
- Avoidance of privilege violations, and risk associated with sensitive terminations
- Compliance & control and effective audit tracking
Headquartered in Menlo Park, Katerra is a technology company optimizing the way we develop, design, and construct buildings. We are ushering in an era of design and construction that moves beyond compromise: Better, faster, cheaper – we believe you can have it all.