The changing role of identity management in business

Businesses are now understanding their identity is reflected through user-centric platforms, and positive customer experience is vital

Simon Moffatt, Director of Advanced Customer Engineering, ForgeRock

Historically, identity management focused on internal users – those that a business can control – be it employees, contractors or those within the supply chain, and delivering correct levels of IT and physical access to them.

Today however, the ability to understand and harness the power of external digital identity is pivotal to digital transformation. Once achieved effectively, a business can transform the way it interacts with its customers, providing personalised interaction and security for millions of users on devices, in the cloud, via mobile, and across the internet of things (IoT).

As a result, smart businesses are increasingly focusing on external user-centric identity platforms that provide the tools to build comprehensive customer profiles across these multiple channels and touchpoints. In doing so, they can develop a digital picture of each customer and their habits, helping to guide the development of new, more meaningful products and services. Customers receive instantaneous, relevant delivery of digital and physical services. Importantly, they also benefit from intelligent security, based on dynamic characteristics such as location, device, time of day and familiarity.

Symptoms of a failing identity management strategy

Many organisations may think their current identity management strategy is sufficient. However, there are a number of tell-tale signs that a change in approach is required. These include:

  • An increasingly ineffective identity strategy for modern user demands – too inwardly focused or leveraging home grown solutions that no longer scale
  • Multiple siloes within the organisation not sharing or collaborating on user data effectively
  • Poor end user experience – exacerbated by IoT and growing number of devices/platforms
  • A need for better data security and user privacy

Effective transformation brings a wealth of business benefits

A more effective identity management solution will provide a wide platform of features, delivered via modular services and accessible using modern and rapid deployment approaches. This approach can provide near instant RoI when it comes to customer and device identity management across a number of key areas including:

A smooth, secure IoT – By securely unifying disparate digital identities, businesses are able to create consistent, personalised user experiences. User interactions with connected devices can help businesses to bridge the physical and digital worlds on any scale.

Contextual security – With billions of IoT devices going online and new digital relationships being formed, all identities in the digital ecosystem must be continuously authenticated. Credentials (username and password) are no longer enough to ensure effective security.

Privacy empowerment – Building secure, trusted and transparent digital relationships that prioritise user privacy is key. Doing so helps organisations deliver personalised services across all channels, while maintaining user trust.

Personalising the customer experience – By building user-centric digital ecosystems, businesses can exceed user expectations with dynamic experiences.

By re-examining traditional thinking and changing approach to identity management, businesses and organisations can quickly reap significant benefits from it. Many of the key battlegrounds in modern business such as security, privacy, customer experience and the IoT can all be transformed through a more effective identity management, meaning those who rest on their laurels risk being left behind.

  • Organisations need to have an effective identity transformation project in place in order to deliver modern digital services
  • A strong consumer identity foundation can lead to service improvement, improved customer experience and ultimately more revenue
  • Organisations need to future proof their approach to identity – to cover omni-channel devices, IoT and consent based data sharing

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