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University of Massachusetts Amherst

InCommon Collaboration Success Program Case Study
(September 2023)

Executive summary

University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass Amherst) participated in two different cohorts of the InCommon Collaboration Success Program (CSP) in 2021 and 2023. The primary impetus for the university’s participation was finding a replacement for its15-year-old, heavily customized core identity management (IDM) system, which wasn’t serving the institution’s needs. Through the CSP, UMass Amherst gained an understanding of the identity and access management (IAM) landscape, vetted additional IAM solutions, and began development of a long-term roadmap for improvement.

Collaboration Success Program logo

Solution summary

UMass Amherst originally joined the CSP with the intention of finding a replacement for its15-year-old core IDM system. This heavily customized legacy system isn’t serving the institution’s needs. In addition, UMass Amherst hoped to increase training for current IT staff and add some members to the IAM team. The university’s first CSP in 2021 gave UMass Amherst an understanding of the IAM landscape, while the second in 2023 inspired a long-term roadmap for improvement.

Trusted Access Platform features supported

The problem

Below is a diagram of the state of IAM at UMass Amherst as of September 2023. The middle square was still uncertain as of the writing of this document.

Graphic for UMASS IAM displaying flow chart

UMass Amherst’s custom IAM solution doesn’t meet the institution’s current needs for governance, business, operations, or compliance. The custom integration code is in many different languages with many different servers and different platforms. 

Provisions were in place to many different systems, but with little access management to those services.

CSP Goals

UMass Amherst originally joined CSP hoping to start a rebuild of its Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) team and reduce significant technical debt. Specific goals included:


The IGA team recognized, through the CSP, a number of issues necessary for UMass Amherst to address before tackling main IGA restructure goals:

The solution

The CSP program allowed the UMass Amherst team to refine its original goals in a more realistic way. Resources for the team were limited and would remain so for an undetermined time. With this realization, the team created a long-term plan (three to five years) for a restructured IAM team with some dedicated members and a prioritized list of necessary actions:

The result

The program raised awareness of the larger need to build an IGA team, beginning the process of garnering support from stakeholders, which would drive all other changes.

Key Activities:

Lessons learned


About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst is the largest public research university in New England. The institution has approximately 23,000 undergraduate students and more than 1,400 full-time faculty. The university’s IGA team manages 95,000 active accounts within a customized person and entity registry, including students, employees, retirees, guests, and contractors.

UMass Amherst Project Team 

Matthew Dalton, chief information security officer (CISO)
Stephen Battisti, architect
Jeoffrey Pooser & Garnett Martin, information and risk compliance analysts
Mayumi Fraser, Longfei Wu, & Elliott McClinton, IAM software engineers
Elliott McClinton, Brandon Hartshorn, & Mark Scarbrough, Shibboleth engineers
Ross Kellogg, IAM project manager
Scott Szajna, IAM liaison to president’s office

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