User Experience is the Name of the Customer IAM Game

July 15, 2016

If you're just joining in, this blog is the third in a four-part series on digital transformation. I'm sharing expert insights from a video interview I recently conducted with Gartner's Mary Ruddy and Ping CTO Patrick Harding.


If you missed the first article, Mary and Patrick shared their perspectives on digital transformation and the future of access management. The second article took a deeper look at secure access for employees and the specific requirements and considerations of employee IAM.


Today, we dive into customer IAM (CIAM). It's one of the more challenging pieces of the digital transformation puzzle, but providing secure access to customers can be a total game changer.


Mary and Patrick agree that providing a good customer experience is the key to success. Starting with the registration process, Mary stresses the importance of nailing each aspect of the customer journey. Your branding needs to be tight, and your workflow must be well planned. And you need to ask for just enough information at the beginning of the relationship to keep the customer engaged and prevent drop-off.


Mary says that progress profiling is the way to ensure first-time registration. As she explains, it allows you to ask for just enough information up front to complete registration. Then, as the customer engages with you over time and the relationship builds, you can collect additional data.


Also, the experts agree that your customer should have a seamless experience across devices and browsers. Whether a customer logs in from a mobile device or a desktop, Mary explains that you need to "pull that data together and treat the customer like you know them as a whole."


We call this a single or 360-degree view of the customer. Gaining visibility into your customers' online behavior and how they're engaging with you has direct top-line implications. And it's where the line between IT and other business areas, like marketing, begins to blur.


CIAM is about more than just providing secure access. It also allows you to collect data about your customers and their buying behavior. As you learn more about your customers, you can identify new ways to market to them and meet their needs. You also gain insights into additional services that are relevant to them and that improve their overall experience with your company and brand.


Patrick cites Chick-fil-A as an example. They developed a native mobile app that allows customers to place mobile orders for pickup. This application is strategic to their business with the potential to improve customer experience, decrease customer wait times and increase store revenue during peak times. The key is onboarding customers quickly and easily with minimal overhead while providing a rich experience through a set of third-party services.


He also sees mobile-based multi-factor authentication as a means of improving user experience. He gave the example of reloading a retail card, such as a Starbucks card, from your mobile device. To complete the transaction, you can be sent a notification to your smartphone that opens the company's native application and allows you to approve the transfer of funds. This type of technology provides a convenient, simple and secure customer experience.


You've heard it before, but user experience really is the name of the CIAM game. From a traditional IAM perspective, that means providing users with a simple and secure means of accessing the information they want and need. But in the CIAM world, the definition of user experience has a broader scope and bigger implications. It's not just about one-way access. It provides a two-way street where you can deliver apps and other services that increase brand loyalty and enhance the customer experience with your company.


Learn more about customer IAM and how it fits into the bigger picture of digital transformation. And be sure to join me for the last blog in the series, where I'll wrap up by providing the experts' insights on partner identity and access management.