Catholic Education Network Innovates With Boomi as an Identity Management Platform

August 6, 2020
DANALYNNE MENEGUS
Catholic Education Network Innovates With Boomi as an Identity Management Platform

Boomi customers are using integration technology in a variety of innovative ways. One great example is the Catholic Education Network (CEnet), a nonprofit organization serving 770 diocesan schools in eastern Australia with services that support a prosperous learning environment.

CEnet, founded in 2007, has inventively deployed Boomi as an identity management platform for provisioning, management, reporting, and application access across 300,000 K-12 students and 30,000 teachers and staff, spanning 16 member dioceses.

“What our team has achieved using Boomi for end-to-end identity lifecycle integration is nothing short of remarkable," says Ian Gregory, lead enterprise architect at CEnet. "It’s not a typical use case for Boomi, but it’s worked really, really well for us and our goals of being incredibly agile with our applications.”

The organization had initially selected the cloud-native Boomi Platform to standardize integration across an ever-growing array of systems for learning management, student information, HR, web-based collaboration, HR, video services, and more. The identity management use case resulted from internal brainstorming, resulting in the creative use of Boomi Integration and Boomi API Management to enhance CEnet’s identity capabilities while reducing IT overhead.

“Boomi was not intended to be solely an identity management platform – there’s a much broader Boomi roadmap here,” Gregory says. “We have other applications that we integrate with Boomi, and a lot of disparate applications at schools and dioceses that also require integration and automation.”

Through its creative use of Boomi, CEnet has seamless, event-driven, real-time identity lifecycle management across 30 systems. The system is visible to member dioceses, with remediation of issues possible at the diocesan level.

Eliminating a Need for Specialized Skills and Duplicate Integration

Previously, CEnet used a traditional best-of-breed identity and access management (IAM) platform. Gregory says that legacy system was “incredibly capable," but CEnet had difficulty finding and retaining developers with the specialized integration skills needed in the identity management space.

In addition, CEnet was using separate integration technologies to pull the same data sets. For example, it used Microsoft SQL Integration Services (SSIS) to move data from a Compass student information system (SIS) into a data warehouse. And it used the identity management platform’s built-in integration tools to connect that system with the SIS, warehouse, and other applications.

“We were duplicating integration — same data sets, but using two different technologies,” Gregory says. “So we asked, do we need to do that? Can’t we just use a standard integration platform to achieve the same goal?”

CEnet began exploring data standards to evolve its IAM function, with SCIM (system for cross-domain identity management) emerging as its preferred data standard. With Boomi, CEnet was able to build a proprietary SCIM-based data standard that includes a unique and persistent identifier for students and staff.

“It's a lifelong identifier, and it's an incredibly important data asset for us because it enables us to do longitudinal reporting across state boundaries that have otherwise been uncharted from a longitudinal data perspective within the Australian education market," Gregory says.

Real-Time Identity Management Across 30 Systems

CEnet has successfully replaced its traditional IAM platform with functionality from Boomi and Okta. Boomi now handles the identity management function, and CEnet rolled out an Okta system for access management.

The diverse, flexible capabilities Boomi provides support CENet's goal of agility and align with its enterprising approach to development.

“We’re seen as thought leaders within our membership, and we have maybe a pedigree of sorts of being on the bleeding edge with a lot of things," Gregory says. “We're empowered to be agile with Boomi, which was difficult for us in the past. We’re not afraid to experiment – the Boomi Platform lends itself to that."

With its creative use of Boomi, CEnet has seamless, event-driven, real-time identity lifecycle management across 30 systems. The system is visible to member dioceses, with remediation of issues possible at the diocesan level.

Plus, CEnet has eliminated identity data anomalies that cropped up in the past, dramatically reducing the need for troubleshooting. Benefits include:

  • Less reliance on specialist integration skills needed in identity management
  • Better enterprise agility and collaboration with IT teams at individual dioceses
  • Seamless single sign-on application access and improved productivity for students and staff
  • Scalability to handle 300,000 identity attribute changes for students and staff each year

“Boomi's biggest test was the student rollover period where 300,000 identities were processed and ready for the first day of term — Boomi worked like a charm, not skipping a single beat despite the spike,” Gregory says.

Minimizing an ‘Integration Hairball'

Beyond the identity management use case, CEnet is using Boomi to replace an "integration hairball” of point-to-point connections across a complex IT environment comprised mostly of best-of-breed cloud applications.

Boomi is central to a project called Enterprise Data Access, which improves data accessibility for member dioceses. CEnet also uses Boomi to move data into a data warehouse, support a central log aggregation system, and in the near future, replace point-to-point integrations between the Compass SIS and instances of a TechnologyOne finance platform centrally and for its 16 member dioceses.

“Boomi has really helped us minimize the integration hairball and point-to-point connections we used to deal with,” says Joshua Kofod, CEnet integration specialist. “We're developing integrations three to five times faster with Boomi, especially in areas where we didn't have skill sets before.”

CEnet has created an integration center of excellence (IcoE) that makes reusable integration resources accessible to IT personnel at the 16 individual dioceses. Boomi’s multi-tenant architecture lets CEnet extend Boomi to the member dioceses to do their own integrations as needed.

“One diocese now does all their own integrations inside Boomi – they no longer custom code," Gregory says. “Boomi allows us to be collaborative, so that an integration process can be viewed and repeatable across the membership with Boomi's multi-tenant model.”

Read our CEnet customer success story and news release to learn more about how the nonprofit is innovating with Boomi.

About the Author

Danalynne Wheeler Menegus is a contributing writer and content marketer for Boomi. She has an extensive background in B2B technology marketing and communications, with companies including Dell, Enstratius, Sybase/SAP and IONA Technologies.