Allied Irish Bank (AIB) has announced the successful implementation of an identity framework based on Java and open source security products as a key part of its ongoing IT strategy.

The bank claims benefits from its investment in Novell’s eDirectory, Identity Manager and Audit products related to user provisioning, consistent identity data across connected systems, and faster deployment of applications are being realised as part of its identity strategy.

The deployments underpin AIB’s preference for choosing a mixed source technical architecture that includes Sun Java Desktop and browser based applications in the branches to proprietary software such as Oracle and SAP in the back office.

John Kennedy, AIB’s senior technical architect said: “The technology that AIB chooses must adhere to three basic principles – it must be fit for the purpose, exhibit the right characteristics and be commercially supported. Novell’s past acquisitions, including SuSE, gave credibility to the business case and comfort to the long-term support of open source technologies in AIB Group. We are firm believers in open standards and open architecture.”

AIB wanted to improve communications and embed an infrastructure that saw the removal of servers from branches and the progression towards a centralised identity management and role-based access controls.

From a business level operational efficiencies and cost savings drove this strategy along with the need to improve staff productivity. External forces, such as regulatory compliance and corporate governance, also played an important factor.

AIB chose Novell to provide them with a platform agnostic service in 2003, using Identity Manager as a standard way of integrating and synchronising their applications to the directory. Currently this underpins the role-based access control model, user provisioning and the desktop management framework that form critical elements in AIB’s new banking platform.

Ultimately the strategy will provide both user and network identity services including desktop configuration, build and deployment, user provisioning and access control services for over 6,000 users and desktops in more than 300 branch locations across Ireland and the UK by early 2007.