Multiple OSIsoft SSO accounts—an identity crisis

Blog Post created by Kenneth_Barber Champion on Sep 5, 2020

Bryan Klosiewicz posted a suggestion that, in my opinion, is very important. It is the highest-voted suggestion for myOSIsoft. This is the suggestion (paraphrased):


Currently, each user must have a separate OSIsoft SSO account and a separate email address for each OSIsoft customer company that they work for. This especially impacts PI consultants.


Can we have just 1 account per user and track users' association with customer companies in a different way? At the very least, allow the same email address to be used across multiple OSIsoft SSO accounts.


Of course, lots of votes means lots of outrage. Are we just making a mountain out of a molehill, or is this actually a problem, and if so, how big is it? Continue reading to learn the answer…





Let's be more specific. We want to know:

  • How many users have multiple accounts?
  • How many additional ("duplicate") accounts do users have?


We will need a list of all accounts and their owners, which we can get from PI Square's people search. When you are logged in, you can see the first name and last name associated with each account. To count the number of accounts that a user has, we just need to count the number of accounts that have the same first name and last name. I collected the data from 2020-09-04 to 2020-09-05.


Sources of error:

  • I don't know if all users that have an OSIsoft SSO account necessarily appear on PI Square, but regardless, the list of PI Square accounts should suffice.
  • While it is definitely possible for multiple users to have the same first and last name, I expect this to be infrequent enough that it will not significantly exaggerate the problem of multiple accounts.
  • Some users with multiple accounts might use a slightly different name across each account. For example, they might add the company in parentheses as part of their last name. This would help mask the problem of multiple accounts, but hopefully, there are not too many cases like this.
  • I probably missed a few users in my analysis, but I definitely captured well over 99% of all users at the time.





All accounts


Below is a graph that shows how many users have 1 account, how many have 2, how many have 3, etc.:


We can zoom in if we exclude the first 2 bars:


We can more easily visualize the number of users with each number of accounts if we plot the logarithm of the number of users instead. The logarithm of a number is, very roughly, how many digits it has.



  • 54911 users were analyzed
  • 4148 users, which is 8% of all users, manage multiple accounts
  • 5384 accounts, which is 10% of all accounts, are duplicates
  • 11 is the highest number of accounts that any user is currently managing


These results include the accounts of OSIsoft employees. OSIsoft employees have some good reasons for having multiple accounts:

  • Perhaps they were a customer first and then become an employee or vice versa.
  • They use a different account in front of students, in presentations, or in videos.
  • They have multiple accounts for testing purposes. Some of these may be used to simulate customers.


To get a more accurate picture of the problem of multiple accounts, we need to exclude these.


Accounts of never-employees only


Most (but, for some reason, not all) OSIsoft employees have a tiny OSIsoft logo Employee next to their name. However, it is not enough to simply exclude these accounts. Remember my last point above: some employees may create accounts to simulate customers. An employee can have their main employee account and several "customer" accounts, and if we exclude only their employee account, it will look like a poor customer is managing several accounts even though they are not a customer, which exaggerates the problem.


We need to take it a step further. To be on the safe side, we must exclude all accounts of anybody that has at least one employee account. That is, if a person has ever worked for OSIsoft, all of their accounts are excluded. We are analyzing only "never-employees" or "pure customers". Below are the results, which are mostly the same as before.


Below is a graph that shows the number of never-employee users for each number of accounts:


The same graph as above but without the first 2 bars:


The logarithm graph:



  • 1369 users, which is 3% of all users, currently have an employee account. 1379 accounts are marked with the OSIsoft logo. 1662 accounts, which is 3% of all accounts, belong to users that have been an employee at some point.
  • 53249 accounts belong to never-employees
  • 3938 never-employee users, which is 8% of all never-employee users, manage multiple accounts
  • 5091 never-employee accounts, which is 10% of all never-employee accounts, are duplicates
  • 11 is the highest number of accounts that any never-employee user is currently managing



Concluding remarks


8% of users. 10% of accounts. As many as 11 accounts.


This is not the majority of users or accounts by any means, but these are still big numbers!


As OSIsoft gains more customers and users, especially after its acquisition by AVEVA, we can expect more users to become PI consultants and work with multiple customer companies. While the percentages above will likely stay the same, the number of users that have multiple accounts and the number of duplicate accounts will only grow unless OSIsoft changes how users are associated with different customer companies.


If you are now convinced that this is a problem, please vote for the suggestion here.