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NetIQ Customer Success Story: NRG


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With its expansion into the retail energy market, NRG significantly increased their customer base. The larger workload combined with flat IT resources created a host of new issues around managing and securing information assets. Serious changes were needed to address how IT provisioned and managed its internal and external users – and these changes were needed sooner rather than later. This Customer Success Story outlines how NetIQ helped NRG Energy reach their goal and achieve greater customer satisfaction and immediately save hundreds of hours of monthly manual work.

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NetIQ Customer Success Story: NRG

  1. 1. SUCCESS STORY NetIQ Directory and Resource Administrator Powers NRG Energy with Automated Active Directory ManagementExecutive SummaryIndustry DescriptionPrinceton, New Jersey-based NRG Energyis a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companythat owns and operates one of the largest,most geographically diverse powergeneration portfolios worldwide. In 2009and 2010, NRG acquired two Texas retailenergy companies.Business SituationWith its expansion into the retail energymarket, NRG significantly increased theircustomer base. The larger workloadcombined with flat IT resources created a The NetIQ Solution customers to about 2 million and sixhost of new issues around managing and almost overnight, because prior tosecuring information assets. Prior to 2009, NRG Energy was a that, we were basically dealing with theThe NetIQ Difference wholesale power generation company regional power grid and had maybe sixNRG leveraged NetIQ® Directory and primarily engaged in owning and customers total that we interfaced with.”Resource Administrator™ and NetIQ operating power generation facilities inAegis®, along with the expertise of the United States, Europe, and Australia. The Business ChallengeNetIQ Professional Services, to automate With a net power generation of 25,749identified tasks, and to audit and report megawatts at its 50 facilities, NRG was Louis Klubenspies knew seriouson administrative activity. In doing so, a serious but relatively small player. Its changes were needed to address howthe company not only improved its IT staff was challenged with meeting IT provisioned and managed its internalsecurity posture, but managed business multiple regulatory compliance mandates and external users – and these changesproductivity more efficiently and but was otherwise able to keep up with were needed sooner rather than later.streamlined the evidencing required to the demands of the business. To be successful, Louis realized that hedemonstrate regulatory compliance – allwhile freeing up valuable resources for needed to solve a common problemadditional projects. In 2009 and 2010, NRG acquired two among businesses immersed in sudden Texas-based companies, Reliant Energy high-growth initiatives: How do we getNetIQ Products and Services and Green Mountain Energy, signaling more work done with the same amount ofNetIQ Directory and Resource NRG’s entrance into the retail energy resources without compromising customer Administrator market. Seemingly overnight, NRG service?NetIQ Aegis added almost 2 million retail customersNetIQ Professional Services and three new call centers, and NRG’s For NRG, part of the answer was already IT department had to quickly adhere to in place with NetIQ® Directory and additional industry regulations without Resource Administrator®. By introducing significant staffing growth. NetIQ Aegis®, an IT process automation platform, NRG had a complete solution According to NRG’s project engineering that resolved a host of new needs. Using lead, Louis Klubenspies, “We like to NetIQ Aegis to automate the capabilities say internally that we went from six provided by NetIQ Directory and Resource
  2. 2. The NetIQ Solution In addition, NRG’s rapid growth led Louis consulted with a number of to a dramatic increase in new user accounts. To begin with, the three retail“In talking to the Help internal stakeholders to determine the call centers typically experienced 100 potential areas for automation basedDesk team, I was able on resource impact, time constraints, percent annual employee turnover. In addition, 1,500-plus contractor accountsto determine the NetIQ and overall business value. This analysis require review every 90 days. led him to focus on several key NetIQsolution was saving them capabilities, including: Using the automation capabilities ofa full week’s worth of NetIQ Aegis combined with NetIQ > Continuous, automated updatingmanual work per quarter of Active Directory from an Directory and Resource Administrator, Louis was able to automate policyonce the automated HR source that ensured all required fields were > A self-service portal that allowsattestation process began users to request changes through populated and all the values were validated. A customized templaterolling out.” a Web-based console further streamlined the process and > Automatic query-based group management enabled secure data input – ensuring Louis Klubenspies, > Automated cleanup to keep the integrity and availability of the data Project Engineer Lead, NRG Energy stale users and computers from in Active Directory. accumulating > Group attestations reviews “In talking with the Help Desk team, I was able to determine the NetIQ Compliance with standards set by the solution was saving them a full week’s North American Electric Reliability worth of manual work per quarter once Corporation (NERC), a utility industry the automated attestation process watchdog group, was top of mind began rolling out,“ Louis said. subsequent to the Reliant and GreenAdministrator, NRG was able to quickly Mountain acquisitions. Some of NERC’s The labor-intensive task of de-scale its IT organization, achieve service, advisories come with short deadlines – provisioning was made much easiercompliance, and security control 24 hours or less – for response and through a custom Web portal used byrequirements in a timely fashion – all remediation. Human Resources. The HR contact canwithout incurring additional system simply select a name and disable theadministrative costs. Here again, Louis looked to leverage account. A work order is automatically the powerful automation capabilities generated to remove the user fromNot only did this approach help meet of NetIQ Aegis combined with NetIQ downstream systems once the accountnew demands on the IT staff, it also Directory and Resource Administrator. is disabled. The automation tool alsoreduced the potential for human He was able to send bulletins to all plant sends confirmation to the Securityerror while freeing up NRG system supervisors and collate data from all group for follow-up and remediation.administrators to take on more e-mail responses into one master Excelimportant tasks. spreadsheet. Within eight hours, an Another issue the NRG teams needed to interim report was sent to the legal and overcome was how to protect sensitive regulatory department for review.
  3. 3. Active Directory security groups against NRG in the Spotlight: Secure, NRG immediately saved hundreds of changes – a process which may require Compliant, Efficient hours of monthly manual work through documentation on request, or to meet Mergers and acquisitions can place efficiencies gained by leveraging IT regulatory requirements. a great deal of strain on existing IT process automation with NetIQ Aegis. resources, particularly during the It also discovered improved – and NRG was able to leverage the rich transition to a new or expanded demonstrable – compliance with auditing and reporting capabilities company. The key for any organization regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley and of NetIQ Directory and Resource is to intelligently realign resources to NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection Administrator to generate reports meet new demands, including granting (CIP) standards. whenever an administrator modified a the proper permissions and privileges group object. The software blocks the to users coming online or changing In addition, people within the change if a group is flagged as critical roles. Such was the case for the small IT enterprise began to notice the and notifies the group owner to get team at NRG when it bought two retail improvements and IT found itself better approval to proceed. If granted, the energy companies, both thousands of aligned with the business at large. group is modified and a confirmation miles from its headquarters, and went Ultimately, the new and improved way is e-mailed to the requestor and the from less than a dozen to millions of of working led to greater customer group. customers almost overnight. satisfaction. “To say it’s a paradigm shift is not an understatement,” Louis said, The combination of NetIQ Aegis NRG needed a solution that would scale “at least not for us.” and NetIQ Directory and Resource quickly and saw an immediate return Administrator creates a comprehensive on its investment with NetIQ Directory Learn more today by contacting your audit trail that clearly identifies the and Resource Administrator combined NetIQ partner or a local NetIQ sales administrator; what actions he or she with NetIQ Aegis. representative, or by visiting took including before and after values; for contact and when the action was performed. information in your area.Worldwide Headquarters For a complete list of our offices1233 West Loop South, Suite 810 in North America, Europe, theHouston, Texas 77027 USA Middle East, Africa, Asia-PacificWorldwide: +1 713.548.1700 and Latin America, please visitU.S. / Canada Toll Free: 888.323.6768 Follow us:NetIQ, the NetIQ logo, Directory and Resource Administrator and Aegis are trademarks or registered trademarks ofNetIQ Corporation in the USA. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective companies.© 2012 NetIQ Corporation and its affilitates. All Rights Reserved. CSS900012NRG PO 05/12 F