There are perhaps hundreds of Agile PLM customers that are quite content with the state of their Agile systems. It’s a tried and true product that has reached a level of maturity that doesn’t warrant significant feature enhancements. Many of those customers are getting by with early versions of Agile 9.3.6, 9.3.5 and often even older versions. While IT managers may call for upgrades to replace aging infrastructure, business managers and users are often left asking, “What’s in it for me?” For several major and minor releases now, there have not been compelling reasons to upgrade in the eyes of many customers. Platform support doesn’t mean much to an end user, and with many feature enhancements coming to modules that users may not use, upgrades haven’t been justifiable. And lastly, while there have been lengthy bug fix lists with every release, customers often look right past those if they haven’t experienced the problems that were fixed.
Despite the general reluctance to upgrade, Oracle recently provided a reason that may compel more customers to consider upgrade. Agile 9.3.6 Release Update Pack (RUP) 9 was released in April 2019 and includes a feature that may not have gotten much attention, but it should. RUP 9 introduced support for SAML 2.0 Authentication.
SAML is an abbreviation for Security Assertion Markup Language and without getting too technical, it’s an XML-based framework for passing authentication credentials. With the explosion of cloud services, it’s become the standard for authenticating users for SaaS applications. And with so many companies moving parts of their business to cloud applications, SAML is almost an imperative, allowing the customer to manage application access while the SaaS provider can do what they do best without worrying about managing user account databases. When a user attempts to access a cloud application, their request is forwarded to an Identity Provider (IdP) to confirm their identity and level of access; and only if everything checks out are they granted access to the application.
Agile PLM, while typically an on-premise application, can benefit from the popularity of SAML for identity management and authentication. With a minimum amount of effort, Agile can be configured to authenticate via the same Identity Provider that a company is already using for all their cloud services. And for those customers that have struggled with Single Sign On (SSO) configuration in the past using web servers like IIS, they should be happy to know that additional front-end web servers are not needed to enable SAML 2.0 support in Agile.
With SAML support enabled in Agile 9.3.6 RUP 9, Agile customers can control access to Agile via their corporate directory service, eliminate Agile-only user accounts and password management headaches, and let users use the same account credentials they use for other enterprise on-premise and cloud based applications. And for those customers that have intranet launch pages, users will welcome the ease of single sign, an often-requested feature that many customers elected not to implement because of the additional infrastructure required.
PointPLM has implemented SAML 2.0 authentication in Oracle Agile PLM 9.3.6 RUP 9 and would be happy to discuss your use case. For any customer that has not already upgraded to RUP 9 we can help make that happen and even if you are already there, we’d be happy to talk to you about enabling SAML support for your Agile PLM environment.