Friday, May 21, 2010

Conflicting Views on IdM Acceptance

Within a span of a couple of days I saw an interesting contradiction regarding the adoption rate of Identity related technologies, particularly in Europe. This contradiction came through a couple of articles I found on Identity Management through my trusty Google Search agent.

The first article, basically states that adoption rates have not been as high as they should be since everyone is acknowledging their importance. Additionally the prevalence of cloud technology brings about a new wrinkle in managing Identity which has yet to be properly addressed and might be a way of pushing acceptance of IdM. It also states that the inherent complexity in IdM creates additional acceptance and execution barriers.

The second article, takes a more positive approach to the acceptance of IdM technologies. Particularly when considering Privileged User Management.

Interestingly enough, both articles referenced the same Forrester report, Identity and access management adoption in Europe.

What should we take away from these article?
  1. While both articles mentioned that the Cloud could be a great IdM enabler, there was not much mentioned in the way of Architecture models by which this could be addressed. Guess you have to engage Forrester for that information.
  2. Looking for IT and IS goals such as Privileged User Management can be a great way to gain additional acceptance for an IdM project.
  3. Another issue that the articles do not mention is that acceptance can be promoted by leveraging established ERP application. Both Oracle and SAP now have Identity Management Systems that have specific functionality to provision in their respective internal landscapes as well as to the Enterprise in general. IBM also features similar tools for their infrastructure. Seems to me that along with Privileged User Management as discussed above, this could be another tool to gain IdM project acceptance (and more importantly, budget dollars) Quite a few project proposals I've come across lately are adopting this methodology.
Finally, I'd like to comment on the complexity issue. IdM is made complex when organizations do not execute from an agreed upon game plan. This plan does not need to be all that complex, and briefly consists of the following:
  • Understanding the Identity related needs of the organization
  • Prioritizing those needs based on potential return which could be based on, time savings, monetary return (ROI through reduced Help Desk calls) or consolidation of workflow, portals and other IT infrastructure, and ability / time needed to design and develop the parts of the solution
  • Executing a Project Plan based on these criteria
Like I said it does not need to be complex, but does require a certain amount of Project Management and, perhaps more importantly, buy in from the various project sponsors. Avoiding complexity in determining objectives, results in lower complexity of the finished product.

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