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In our factory we have a "Big Machine" which runs 24/7 and requires input and monitoring from different operators across various shifts. Every operator needs to be able to stop/start/control all processes (which may have been started by another operator) and this involves seeing status-bars etc. on the GUI provided by MegaCorp and installed on the Big Machine (i.e. not something I can readily architecturally change).

Currently this is managed by a having shared account on the Big Machine, which all operators know the username+password for. The password is long and secure, however since everyone always forgets it, it is written on a sticky note attached to the screen of the Big Machine, which is far from ideal. Operators do have their own accounts (used elsewhere in the factory) with passwords they do remember and are not shared.

This feels like a scenario played out in a lot of places (factories, hospitals, etc.), is there an Obvious Way to manage this so that all operators can work "like one user" but without actually having a shared account? Is there a better way to manage this without requiring MegaCorp to change their software to enable the same GUI to be accessed from multiple user accounts?

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  • Why does the software not allow you to use multiple accounts? Have you asked the vendor if they do support it? It could be an obscure feature. Also, does your environment run on Active Directory? Does the software support Active Directory or LDAP? – Saustin Sep 22 '20 at 16:11
  • @Saustin - I can log into the computer with multiple accounts; but things like seeing the status of other users jobs is often non-trivial. For example in Windows copying a large number of folders from one place to another bring up a progress/status-bar. I think that would be hard to monitor from another account without substantial extra work. For this question I'm interested in strategies to cope with this common problem, as the "sticky note on the monitor" seems depressingly universal. – David258 Sep 22 '20 at 16:38
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    You cannot magically change an arbitrary software which supports only one user to support multiple users. All you could do (apart from requesting a software change) is to add an additional authentication layer in front of the original one and support multiple users there. How this can be realized depends a lot on the software which should be protected, i.e. web based is easy but other things not that much. – Steffen Ullrich Sep 22 '20 at 17:33

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