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Most identity management software vendors will rationalise their service enablement capability as so:

  1. Identity and access management has traditionally focused on managing user accounts in the form of directory service entries – the traditional IAM/IdM view
  2. it has seldom involved managing identities, let alone multiple types. They might digress slightly here on the history of Master Data Management which has had to grow to the side of identity management but often within the organisation so has never been able to support an identity type discovery service.
  3. Identity and access management (IAM) has traditionally focused on managing user information technology accounts in the enterprise. The rise of different types of accounts and identities such as cloud, mobile and other devices, e-commerce, and social networks has asymmetrically complicated things. – So far so good
  4. Furthermore the internet of things requires identity management for devices, embedded SIMs and network connections all of which require tying back to potentially enterprise, family or personal accounts. – Note about licence costs likely at this point
  5. The increase in user and device accounts will require IAM providers to offer more flexible solutions but in all likelihood enterprise will continue to confine their IAM capabilities according to their directory service. – Product pitch coming here…

Depending on the organisations existing IAM capabilities and embedded technologies the software vendor will generally pitch a service enablement capability that sits on top of legacy directory services.  This should be an intelligent Master Data Management capability but often is a lightweight OAuth & SAML cloud enabling layer and an upgraded 2FA/3FA service for external authentication & possible BYOD.

As these a vendor driven pitches they do not seek to solve enterprise’s more fundamental issue of how to consolidate all those existing directory services and to support multiple identities.  A strategic architecture is needed for that first…