- Weight Watchers (WW) was primarily a Microsoft shop when it began breaking free from the legacy provider's services, said Paul de Graaff, senior director of Identity and Directory Services at Weight Watchers International, while speaking at the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo in Orlando, Florida on Monday.
- Microsoft's Active Directory (AD) no longer fit the weight loss company's needs. According to de Graaff, the company's network management platform had exhaustive updates, insufficient standards for remote workers, lacked an identity hub, and encouraged vendor lock-in to Microsoft services.
- WW adopted identity and access management company Okta's services more than a year ago, initially migrating from SailPoint's internalized domain name single sign-on (SSO) to Okta's SSO.
WW, an international service provider, was challenged by Microsoft AD's limitations.
"We have a lot of, what we call, creative people in our organization," said de Graaff, making it difficult to manage AD. WW also "had a CTO that really hated Microsoft."
Originally, WW used AD as the source for its Okta account creation, so it's pursuing a full "disconnect" from ties to Microsoft's AD, according to de Graaff.
Printer management was an unlikely benefit from the move "that came out of nowhere," said de Graaff. Because everyone was talking to solutions under one directory, anyone could do their printing from anywhere.
Right now Okta is for WW's internal users with "birth-rights" access to basic tools, like Google email, said de Graaff.
There are plans, however, to roll out its benefits to customers. Previous WW leadership believed in open source's benefits without factoring the additional costs it carries, said de Graaff.
Consulting fees and skills needed to support open source solutions included about $400 per hour sessions. Now the company is embracing automated solutions from vendors.
WW uses Google's G-suite for email and document sharing. It moved more than 18,000 people from Office 365 to the platform. It uses Workplace by Facebook, where employees can communicate through various channels, including "WW pets," said de Graaff.
The company is also a Slack and Zoom customer, to round out its collaboration needs.
Clarification: This headline has been updated to reflect the statement regarding Microsoft was made by a former WW CTO.