One of the most laborious processes of any IT department is creating new accounts. Different users have differing requirements but before you've reached this point, system admin needs to ensure that a consistent standard is applied to account. Things are all the more difficult if the system you are using does not permit any form of scripting or automatic account creation process. Things get more difficult for those organizations with regular intakes of large numbers of new users, such as schools, and it seems Google have realized that this is the case and improved the account set up for new users. The new service, "Account provisioning for Google Apps," is available for both Google Apps for Education and Google Apps for Work customers. It should make the process considerably easier for system administrators as it allows Apps accounts to be created based on configurable patterns.
What does this mean? Imagine that your organization's account naming process is along the lines of [email protected], where "c" is the first letter of the individual's name and "smith" is the surname, with "epiccorp" being your domain name. Using the new Google provisioning for Google Apps process, system admin could create a pattern something like [C1_firstname].[lastname]. Next, all of the users' names do need to be entered into the system but then Google would automatically format these to fit the naming convention. System admin can use the service to generate multiple available usernames and pick the one that they prefer. Google tell us that additional custom fields may be defined and the example given is [student_ID] and the code caches existing usernames, so it prevents duplication and helps prevent reaching certain account limits.
The code behind Google provisioning for Google Apps is being made available on Google's GitHub account so that anybody can incorporate this into their own applications by installing as a RESTful service or Java library and can be used in a website where users create their own accounts or in a script that creates accounts in bulk. This is a small, but welcome, improvement to the account creation process behind Google Apps.