Table of contents

Rippling helped tech startup Appcues automate IT processes for better security

Appcues’ IT leader felt stymied by inadequate, error-prone integrations and tedious manual work that created security risks. With Rippling, he teed up time-saving automations that helped him manage employee devices with ease.


people on this extra-lean IT team


IT tools consolidated into one (Rippling)


United States





about the company

Read More

Pain Points

Faulty integrations: IT tools like Okta and Blissfully failed to de-provision accounts for offboarding employees and get laptops to new hires.

Manual IT: The lack of reliable automations meant Appcues’ two-person IT team had to manually manage employee devices, leaving room for human error.

Reactive, not proactive: Mistakes from during onboarding meant Appcues IT managers had to scramble to configure devices and conduct access audits.

The Challenge

Ensuring customers' security is Priority 1 for Sean Edwards, Appcues's Head of Security, but he was held back by reliance on checklists and other manual processes. Integrating Okta with their HRIS was supposed to automate everything, but in reality, he still had to reconcile data between systems. That manual work left lots of room for human error, which created security risks.

Sean said IT and HR systems were like “one hand not talking to the other,” and said it often left him and his team scrambling. Sean was frustrated by the lack of solutions that he could trust to work smoothly and the looming potential of security problems.

“The big problem is just inconsistency,” he said. “The industry as a whole talks a lot about integrations between platforms, but it's always a little bit off. You have concepts in one platform that don't quite perfectly map to the other. I don't think that ever gets better because they're just fundamentally different platforms that have slightly different views of the world, and you're only ever going to be able to do the best you can to match them up and patch the holes along the way.”

What Sean actually needed, he would come to find out, wasn't an integration. It was HR and IT existing in the same system.

The Solution

Appcues originally adopted Rippling for HR, and Sean became familiar with the platform as the company's system of record for its employees, which he used during his SOC 2 audits. Then he learned about Rippling IT Cloud, and once it became clear that Appcues was ready to make a long-term investment in Rippling for HR, he decided to invest in its IT products, too.

Because Rippling's IT and HR products are both powered by the platform's native cloud directory, Sean can replace manual work with automation—resulting in stronger security for Appcues. Instead of spending time maintaining integrations, he can focus on more strategic security initiatives.


Two-person IT

True to startup life, Sean wears many hats, but he's primarily responsible for building the security culture at Appcues and bridging the security gap between customers and the Appcues team.

In the process, he finds himself overseeing IT, including mobile device management, managing third-party systems, shipping and receiving computer equipment, and more. He shares these responsibilities with just one other colleague, Cailin Sullivan, while supporting over 90 employees.

"We don't have a formal IT department—that's really where Rippling comes in,” he said.

Before Appcues used Rippling, Sean and his team followed manual IT processes that relied on HR and ever-growing checklists. This left room for human error that Sean knew needed to be eliminated if Appcues was going to be able to scale successfully while remaining as secure as possible.


Time-saving automations

Sean explained that having Rippling be both the IdP and HRIS for Appcues streamlined the process in ways Okta couldn't offer. 

“We had been longtime Okta users, but being able to have that automatic provisioning and de-provisioning—we thought, ‘That's an easy choice, let's set that up,’” he said.

Rippling automations now handle processes that Sean doesn’t have to pay any mind to, freeing up his calendar for more strategic projects. “When HR processes offboarding, I don't have to take action to disable any accounts, like their email, which is fantastic. That's exactly how I want it. HR enters the person's last day, and then Rippling turns off their email and SSO at the appropriate time," Sean said. 

“For onboarding, it's the same thing: As soon as they sign their acceptance paperwork, they automatically get access to their new work email account. No person has to be involved in that process, which means it's always a great user experience.”

Sean also noted that Rippling has taken a lot of things off his team's plate—and for a team of two, that's invaluable.

“I just don't think about onboarding and offboarding nearly as much,” he explained. “Everyone knows when people get their email accounts. Everyone knows they get set up on Slack on day one. That stuff just happens, and nobody has to think about it.”

These automated processes boost security, too.

“We get built-in provisioning and de-provisioning reports, and we can use those for our SOC 2 evidence,” he explained. “Everything’s automated: i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, and everything’s just spic and span, so that’s awesome.”

Rippling Inventory Management presented an opportunity for Sean to solve another problem for Appcues. With a global, remote-first workforce, managing and shipping workstations to team members around the world was a serious logistical struggle.

“The Rippling Inventory and Device Management have been huge for us,” he said. “It is an absolute dream to be able to order systems and have them shipped and not ever have to think about customs and international shipping and all that stuff. It works great for all the same reasons. When HR is processing an offboarding, they just select a button, return the workstation, and everything else is handled. It works great.”

Rippling Inventory and Device Management have been huge for us. It is an absolute dream to be able to order systems and have them shipped and not ever have to think about customs and shipping and all that stuff.

Sean Edwards,

Head of Security at Appcues


 A culture of people-first security

Sean says it's hard to quantify the amount of time Rippling has helped him save because it isn't just about the manual processes that are now automated.

“The biggest change is not necessarily the amount of time it takes, but rather the confidence we have in the process and that the process is working correctly,” he said. “A lot of time, in the 'before Rippling' era, would be spent conducting—and re-conducting—access audits. It was the constant background noise of that kind of stuff, of discovering, oh, so-and-so didn't get their laptop, let's quickly scramble and figure that out.”

He added, “Bringing consistency to the process is as valuable as any amount of time that it saved. In IT, surprises are not actually a good thing. Rippling takes away all the surprises.”

“There's a lot of different areas where it's hard to keep everything on the radar at the same time, so we rely on automated reporting and automated alerting so that we get the information we need—when we need it. We don't have to go looking for it or supervise logs to see if things happen.”

That means Sean has more confidence in Appcues’s company-wide security than he ever could with “integrated” HR and IT systems that were actually two completely separate software solutions.

“When our customers ask me about Appcues’s security and our onboarding and offboarding process, I can feel really good about the answers that I'm giving them,” he said. “It's just automatic.”

The result is that Sean and Cailin can spend time doing what they love about their work. Freed up from manual IT processes, Sean can continue building a people-first security culture at Appcues.

So what would Sean say to other IT professionals considering Rippling? That's easy, “It automates all the boring parts of IT.”

The Impact

  • Staying lean:  Appcues manages devices and security for nearly 100 employees with a two-person IT team—thanks to Rippling’s unified platform.
  • Saved costs: Appcues used to work with a third-party IT firm to help manage its workforce. Now, it can solely rely on Rippling. 
  • Freed time: Crisp integrations and reliable automations mean less hours spent double-checking data entry, reconciling mistakes, and conducting access audits.

See Rippling in action

Discover how Rippling can help you manage all of your employee data and operations in one place.

See RipplingWatch Tour Video