Your Can’t Fix Modern Customer Access Challenges with Traditional IAM

May 31, 2016

We all know that digital transformation is imminent. But we can probably also agree that getting there feels far from easy. The journey is fraught with challenges, and customer access is one of the biggest. Choosing the right solution to fill the gap isn't a choice any more.


But the right solution isn't always the obvious choice. When it comes to addressing customer access, traditional enterprise identity and access management (IAM) may seem like the logical place to start. After all, you've used it to manage employee identity for years. How much different can customer identity really be?


Answering that question can feel like forcing a square peg into a round hole. And taking that approach? Well, how many square pegs have you seen fit well into round holes?


The acronym is the same, but managing IAM for customers is entirely different than for employees. For starters, customer IAM demands usability--providing a great user experience is a make-or-break aspect. If your customers think your process is too tedious, too demanding or too risky, they can and will opt out. Period.


By 2018, 50% of IT/IAM programs will be responsible for both enterprise and consumer infrastructure, more than double today's number.

Source: Gartner Finding the Right Consumer IAM Products, Gregg Kreizman, Felix Gaehtgens and Brian Iverson, April 8, 2015.


Then there's scalability. Traditional IAM solutions may be able to support thousands of employees at relatively predictable times, but few are able to meet the elastic demands of customer-facing applications.


Combine these requirements with different expectations surrounding security and privacy (plus the need for a consistent experience across many channels) and the delta widens further.


Just as the requirements are different, so is the approach to defining and implementing a solution. Typically, IT teams are responsible for the technology, but customer IAM can't be siloed. It has to address the considerations of other areas of the business including sales and marketing and business analytics, and it must integrate with the systems they manage.


Customer IAM is no longer just IT's concern. It has line of business implications and involves the interests of other functional business areas. Taken a step further, it also has direct revenue impact.


Your employees may grudgingly put up with a clunky identity management process, but your customers have a choice. They can and will abandon the process if it becomes too complex, too time consuming or doesn't provide the right level of security. You need to provide a frictionless user experience to consumers, or you may risk losing them to competitors that do.


Because of its impact on the top line, your customer IAM solution can't be solely focused on the bottom line. You must seek to create business value, knowing that doing so can ultimately drive revenue. A tailored customer IAM solution can create this value.


You simply can't ignore customer IAM. And you can't fix it with a traditional enterprise approach or tools. Learn more about customer IAM and how to implement it successfully in your enterprise, hear Steve Wilson of Constellation Research, Ping Identity's Patrick Harding, CTO, and Brian Bell, CMO as they tackle these topics in our webinar, Consumerization Killed the Identity Paradigm.