Helping Ping Identity Connect their Global Workforce in a Remote World

Ping Identity, a leading customer identity and access management organization, is known for keeping one thing at their core as an organization. Feel like guessing? Take a close look at their name. For this organization, it’s all about identity. Building identity security for their clients, yes, but also in celebrating the unique identity of their employees. The organization needed a solution that would reveal the unique skills, experience, and interests of their employees, and this need became urgent with the transition to fully-remote work. Sift came in to make this vision a reality. Learn about Ping’s story, what challenges they’ve faced as a global workforce, and how Sift has helped them meet their unique challenges

Before Sift

Founded in 2002, Ping Identity is a leader in customer identity and access management and has been recognized for their excellence, innovation, and leadership in information security. Understandable because over half of the Fortune 100 has chosen them for their identity expertise, open standards, and leadership. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, now Ping Identity has around 1,000 employees in 11 locations across 8 countries.

To put it in their words, Ping Identity “builds identity security for the global enterprise.” Their mission is to support the unique identity of enterprises by ensuring that they provide a secure and seamless digital experience for their workforce and customers. They help companies achieve Zero Trust identity-defined security with their platform: The Ping Intelligent Identity™. This platform provides employees, customers, and partners with access to cloud, mobile, SaaS, and on-premises applications and APIs.

Not only does Ping champion the identity of their clients, they have a unique identity of their own. To Ping, “identity is [their] business”. One testament to that is the language they use in their day to day. Ping employees aren’t team members or colleagues but Identians. Not just a clever nickname, the term expresses Ping’s belief that their success comes from understanding “that each identity is unique in its own individual way”. This commitment to their people and understanding that people are more than their job title, sparked a growing gap that they saw in their company – the ability for people to find, discover, and connect to one another in a modern, fast, and simple way.

This need ultimately brought them to Sift, but let’s start from the very beginning. When Ping didn’t have Sift.

Prior to having Sift, Ping Identity learned about their people by using a combination of a barebones directory that was out-of-date, clunky, and manual, and UltiPro’s org chart tool.

Take it from Erin Farrell, an HR business partner at Ping, she explains:

“Our previous directory tool was always outdated and looked like it was from the 1970’s. We didn’t know who people worked for, which department they were in, or even how long they worked at Ping. Without this information, it slowed people down and limited our ability to connect. Senior leadership recognized the impact not having an active directory was having on Ping which ultimately led us to get funding to find a tool.”

According to Identians, to find anyone you needed to know exactly who you were looking for to get a result. If you needed to find someone whose name you didn’t know, it was nearly impossible. The system inhibited rather than accelerated collaboration in Ping’s teams. Their Senior HR Specialist, Jake Pappas, explains why UltiPro wasn’t working as a standalone solution: “UltiPro’s org chart tool is clunky, tough to use and outdated.” When a team member needed to find and connect to someone to help them get their jobs done, they were relying on word-of-mouth. The process wasn’t keeping up with Ping’s growth over the past few years and the challenges that came with that:

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Problem #1
Managing rapid growth
Ping started in Denver and has now expanded all over the U.S., Canada, EMEA, and APAC. This rapid growth has brought its challenges. Erin explains, “When I started at Ping we had just over 200 employees, now we have nearly 1,000. With that growth, we experienced challenges connecting with employees across several time zones and making quick business decisions.”
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Problem #2
Connecting their workforce
Additionally, as a high-growth company, it became harder and harder to know people beyond their job titles. To understand their skills, interests, experience, etc. There was a lack of opportunity for Identians to connect, learn more about their fellow Identians, and to find information they needed to do their job.
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Problem #3
Transitioning to remote work
Not only that, the sudden shift to remote work in the past year has exacerbated existing challenges. Michelle Jenkins, Ping’s HR Director, identifies new employee onboarding as a challenge that immediately came to mind as Ping started to transition to remote work. She says, “It’s easy to build relationships with your immediate team. You work with them every day, and, at the time, you probably sat next to them. When we transitioned to work from home due to COVID-19, I remember immediately thinking about new employee onboarding [as a challenge].”

Integrating Sift

Now, almost all Identians are remote and only a few offices are open. Like many companies, Ping is trying to rapidly adjust to this remote culture – staying productive while maintaining their connected and dynamic culture.

These challenges only highlighted the urgent need they had for a tool like Sift. Compared to their previous solutions, Sift filled Ping’s need – a way for Identians to better know and connect to one another. Erin and Jake break it down well. Erin illustrates, “First, we needed a directory that was accurate and updated regularly. The previous system was very clunky and the search function was so frustrating. We were hopeful that a new tool would create an opportunity for our employees to connect, learn more about their coworkers and to find information they needed to do their job. UltiPro has these capabilities but it's only available to administrators.  Employees could use the org structure function within UltiPro but even then, the function is not intuitive.”

Sift became that for Ping. Jake sums it up well in a phrase: “Sift helped bring a modern look and feel to our organization and better aligned with our focus on keeping things simple.”

Choosing Sift as their solution was easy: “They stood head and shoulders above the competition and hit the mark on every priority on our list – functionality, usability, ease of implementation, and a great partnership. It was really a no-brainer. ” Upon choosing Sift as a solution, Alex Román-Wensing, Ping’s IT Systems Administrator, describes the implementation process as “fantastic”. Ping worked with Sift’s customer success team to ensure all their necessary people data was being fed into Sift Profiles smoothly. Alex expresses,

“We were happy with being able to set up the instance the way we wanted to and then have [Sift’s] team come in and validate that it was all clear to open up company-wide. We wanted Sift to be as maintenance-free as possible, and I feel like our implementation strategy supported that vision.”

Beyond that, Sift’s team ensured a seamless and consistent update process for Ping. For example, transferring them from a CSV upload to LDAP – a solution that allows Ping to plug in customized solutions that update Sift on the fly with accurate user information. According to Jake, the Sift team’s “willingness to chat through questions and problems and problem-solver mindset” was incredibly valued.

Beyond the implementation process, Sift has helped answer Ping’s specific challenges by...

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Outcome #1
Managing rapid growth
Being a one stop shop for Identians to know more about each other and to use that information to work better, together. Erin identifies Sift’s main value-add which is “helping people find and connect with their colleagues.” While that sounds simple, according to Erin, “finding the right people to work with and connecting with them is the basis to getting work done efficiently.”
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Outcome #2
Connecting their workforce
Enabling people to connect beyond faces on an org chart. According to Jake, “Being able to pull up anyone in your company and see their skills, understand their experiences, and go beyond their job title is a valuable tool to help new hires and tenured employees alike in their journey to feel more connected with their teams.”

This information is even more imperative when onboarding new hires. Erin utilizes Sift in all of her new hire check-ins. She explains: “Whenever I need to find information about an employee, I’m going to Sift. The information that I look at first is the employee’s title, who they report to, what department they are in, and how long they have been at Ping. Those are my quick hitters.
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Outcome #3
Transitioning to remote work
Keeping Ping productive and connected during their transition. John Cannava, CIO at Ping, explains that “the rapid migration to distributed work has created an engagement gap between employees and their companies. People need solutions that let them orient themselves in an organization, not just a display of a reporting structure. That sort of understanding is business critical. We implemented Sift shortly before the COVID-19 shutdown, and the platform allowed us to maintain, and in some cases improve, our productivity.”

Curious how Identians are using Sift? We have the numbers to back it up.

Using Sift

As Ping Identity continues to grow, maintaining their identity of collaboration and connection is imperative to their business and the success of their Identians. Sift made a big splash in the organization upon implementation, reaching 70% profile completion after only a couple months. Now, almost 85% of Ping Identity’s workforce has used Sift, and in an average month, 50% of their workforce is actively using Sift. Michelle agrees that Sift has become a great partner for Ping. She emphasizes, “I know that we made the right decision.”

Specifically, Ping plans to continue leveraging Sift Profiles to highlight the uniqueness of each Identian. As Sift grows as a product, Ping plans to take full advantage. Erin raves, “The newest features including name pronunciation and time zones are going to be amazing! I can’t wait to announce these changes to the rest of Ping.”

As a global workforce, Ping faces three main challenges that Sift continues to help with: managing rapid growth, transitioning to remote work, and ultimately connecting their workforce. Sift has led to greater connection amongst Ping’s Identians and above all has supercharged a key element of their success – the ability to find and connect with the right people to work better, together.

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Ping Identity builds identity security for the global enterprise.
Denver, CO
IT Software & Services
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