A Checklist for Customer IAM Success

June 27, 2016

As consumers increasingly make purchases online--and from new devices and applications--the companies they do business with are tasked with a whole new set of identity and access management (IAM) challenges.


Your company needs information about your customers (like payment types and shipping addresses), but there are deeper insights that you also want to know (like buying behavior and psychographics). In today's digital world, what you know and understand about your customers is second only to giving them an easy and seamless experience with your company.


But managing customer identities can seem like anything but easy or seamless. Too often, the right approach for IT raises eyebrows with the customer experience team--and vice versa.


While the "I" and "A" in IAM are the same for enterprise and customer identity, the requirements are rarely the same. For customers, IAM requires usability, scalability and functionality beyond traditional enterprise (employee) IAM. Unlike your employees, your customers have a choice when engaging with your company. They can abandon the process--and your company--if you make their experience too complex or time consuming, or they don't like the level of security provided.


Functional Requirements of Customer IAM

When it comes to customer IAM (CIAM), usability isn't the only consideration--although it may be the most important issue. This list isn't intended to be comprehensive, but these are the seven primary requirements of CIAM:

You've heard it a thousand times, but providing a great user experience is a make-or-break aspect of customer IAM. Your customers can choose to do business with you or not. If your process is too tedious, demanding or risky, they can and will opt out.


Customer identity solutions handle infrequent, unpredictable usage. But they must also be able to scale up for increased traffic. 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.


As consumers interact with your brand across web and mobile browsers, in apps or through in-store kiosks, they expect a consistent experience. Your CIAM solution plays a key role in delivering a fluid experience across multiple channels, making it easy for your customers to stay engaged.


The success of your CIAM solution directly impacts your bottom line. Get it right, and conversion and adoption rates will improve. Get it wrong, and the opposite occurs. If you minimize friction points and simplify everything from initial touchpoint through the password recovery process and everything in between, you'll maximize conversion rates.


When your company bolts new channels or offerings onto your legacy platform (like acquired brands or products), a single customer may exist in multiple properties and directories. The right CIAM solution will provide a unified view of the customer across all of it, giving deeper insights that can drive revenue-generating opportunities and more effective marketing strategies.


Consumers are increasingly protective of their personal data. Headlines publicizing the latest breach further highlight the potential threats to their security and your company's reputation. CIAM is the core of a strong security posture, allowing you to proactively manage risk and provide a higher degree of customer confidence.


Customers are increasingly concerned about how their personal data is used and shared. These fears are fueling the introduction of new regulations to enforce privacy. Your CIAM solution plays a critical role in building confidence, as well as ensuring compliance with privacy regulations around the globe.


The demands of CIAM are primarily driven by users--and often cross-functional. It's no longer just IT's responsibility to define an IAM solution. It involves the interests of other functional business areas and has very real business implications. And until recently, there's been a clear lack of standard requirements.


So, how do you evaluate CIAM solutions to ensure success?


Check out this five-minute reference guide. You'll learn the eight stages of customer engagement and the best practices at each stage for defining and evaluating the right CIAM solution for your enterprise and your customers.