Tools: User Provisioning Made Simple

Creating new users is becoming more complex as we add more services to our IT environments.  Over the years, many enterprises have adopted Active Directory, Exchange and Lync, and more recently we've been adding cloud services like Office 365 and  The result is a user provisioning process that is more and more complex, error prone, and manually intensive.

What we need is a tool that allows us to enter the user's information once, and then, using pre-defined settings and formats, provision the user across multiple platforms, all in one consistent operation.  Later, when a user leaves the company, we need to be able to quickly and simply de-provision the user's accounts as well.

Any Active Directory administrator knows that creating a user account can be a chore, especially if you intend to be thorough, putting the user in the correct OU, populating all the miscellaneous fields like street address and organizational fields.  To do this by hand is a lot of work, and there's plenty of opportunity to get it wrong.  On top of all that, in many organizations, you have to switch tools, perhaps many times, to enable the user for Exchange, Lync, and external cloud services.

If you're doing administration for a global enterprise, you might have many sites with different standards: different street addresses, different Exchange servers, different naming conventions, the list goes on.  What we need is a tool that can define standard settings per site, per department, per user role, what ever we want to create, save, and reuse, to make user provisioning easier.

Zohno has created Z-HireTM and Z-TermTM for IT account lifecycle automation.  These tools let the administrator create multiple templates for user provisioning (Z-Hire) and de-provisioning (Z-Term).  Each template can contain default settings and user name formats for creating user accounts in Active Directory, Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and  Multiple templates can be used for different sites, departments, whatever you need.  The template can specify user settings in Active Directory and Office 365, Exchange mailbox settings, Lync policy settings, and much more.

There's also a section for specifying a custom script to run, passing user information as script arguments.  This allows additional custom provisioning tasks to be performed.

User naming conventions can be specified in the template by using variable names like %firstname%, %lastname%, %firstinitial%, etc.  Once the defaults have been saved to a template, the administrator can simply select the correct template, enter the user's name, and the tool will calculate the resulting information, based on the template, to use when provisioning the user across all of the selected services.

When a user leaves the company, it's time to de-provision the user's accounts.  Enter Z-Term.  Again, Z-Term allows the administrator to create templates, which determine what to do with the user's account.  You may want to disable the user's account, move it into a specific OU for terminated accounts, remove the user's group memberships, reset the password, etc.  Z-Term let's you specify what steps to take, and save them to a template.  You may want different templates for different sites, departments, etc.

Once the templates are setup, the administrator simply selects the correct template, enters the user to de-provision, and the tool performs all the necessary steps across all of the selected services.  The administrator can also define file operations to occur on termination, such as copying the user's home directory and roaming profile to a backup location, and again, run a custom script to do special things unique to your environment.

Z-Term and Z-Hire are a huge help for the busy administrator, reducing the time and effort required to manage user accounts, while improving accuracy and reducing errors.  It's "user provisioning made simple".  Z-Term and Z-Hire are licensed per the size of your organization.  You can download a 90-day trial, and buy a license at


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