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28 July 2022 News Product Update Autoform DM Private Sector Interview

Autoform DM's Introduction of Single Sign-On

Ben StockIn case you missed it, the latest version of Formpipe’s powerful digital archiving tool, Autoform DM 10.2, was released earlier this month! The updates include simplified document imports, a slicker UI and the introduction of single-sign-on, making the platform even more accessible, flexible, and simple to use. Managing, sorting and retrieving your documents has never easier.

Ben Stock is a Senior Developer at Formpipe and he’s been responsible for building and delivering the ‘Single Sign On’ feature for DM 10.2, streamlining user access. We caught up with him to understand more about what ‘Single Sign On’ means for DM and how it will benefit users.

Hey Ben! Before we kick off, can you talk us through your role here at Formpipe and what you’re responsible for?

Hey, of course. I’m a Developer on the DM team. My day-to-day is mostly around building features for the DM product along with the accompanying products that we've developed over time. So things like BPM and Temenos interfaces etc. I'm also the Tech Lead managing the integrations primarily with Temenos, but that's also broadening out to as we interface with other companies like Thought Machine. Amongst that, I have also been doing a reasonable amount with the SaaS team to support their operations as well.

You’ve been managing the development of Single Sign On for DM 10.2. Can you tell us about your involvement in this?

So I do have some background in Security and Access Management, so naturally at Formpipe I’m responsible for a lot of this sort of work as it’s something I’m very interested in.  But yeah in terms of the actual feature itself, I've pretty much been solely responsible for it - which could be good or it could be bad!

I’m sure that’s definitely a good thing! So what exactly is Single Sign On and what does it mean for DM 10.2?

So, we used to have to sign in multiple times now we just have to sign in once! And I guess that's it. You don't need to know anything else. Just kidding!

So, previously, the primary modes of authentication have always been either local accounts or LDAP integration. This means, as a user, you would come along with your existing app account, you’d put that username in, and you’d log in using your password. You would then get into DM and the administrator would assign you permissions, applications groups, etc, to govern what you can and can't do in the application.

Now, that's fine, but it's still not ideal in the sense that you’re still having to manage a lot of that configuration yourself. You’re still having to put your username and password into DM whenever you want to use it.

So then, we get to the notion of single-sign-on. This allows you to sign-in once, and then when you wish to navigate to different applications, you can just access them without needing to sign-in again. At the most, you might see an initial page where you just have to say, yes, I want access, but you don't have to enter your password. You just simply click a button and you’re in. And so that's really the core concept of single sign on - you get that integrated user experience where your account allows you access across all the applications within that corporate environment.

What are the core benefits of the SSO feature?

So from a corporate perspective, the core benefit is that it centralises the concerns around use and management and permissions, saving time and administration costs.

But it also then means for the user, that it's that more of a seamless integrated experience. So, when they’re within that corporate environment, they won’t have to login to every application and they won’t have to re-sign in when they return to their desk after lunch. Saving time and hassle, yet still remaining secure within the internal environment.

Where did the idea to launch single-sign-on come from?

There were a number of factors. There was a bit of a drive for it here internally, again from a SaaS perspective as we are moving more and more towards that  model (for customers who choose to go in that direction). There's also the fact it’s saving some overhead internally,  because if it's not integrated, we’re having to set up separate accounts for every instance.

So from an internal point of view, it should eventually lead to a real win there in terms of simplification. But also sticking with SaaS, it should enable us to allow customers and internal users to access the same DRM across multiple Azure dimensions.

And then from a customer standpoint, we are starting to see a bit more interest for this in the market. We've got a couple of customers who have asked about it and they're showing interest in implementing this. So it's very much one of these things that I think people will buy into and see the advantages and value of this to this feature going forward.

What have been your highlights of this process?

I guess it would be getting down to the nitty gritty and wrestling with some fairly complex problems in terms of how to how to build this solution around the existing product and make that work without breaking what we currently have.

But also, you know, there's nothing quite as fun as doing on the wire network analysis of packets for our OIDC flows and things like that. So it’s the hands on techy stuff which is quite fun – pulling it apart, seeing where the bolts and screws are, taking them apart, moving them around and putting them back in.

How about challenges?

Well when I started this process, I had a full head of hair, just saying! Haha, no, it’s been a great experience from start to finish and we’re all very happy with the end product.


Want to know more about Autoform DM 10.2? Click here to see further info and book a demo!