Saturday, July 28, 2007

IdM Processes...Existing vs. Future

Corbin Links put together a thought provoking post the other day on identity management implementations, and how companies are looking for a magic tool that could resolve their identity management woes, when they should primarily be focusing on their processes.

"Don’t start with the tool. Don’t start with even thinking about vendors. Don’t think “gee, now that we have fully committed to Identity and Access Management we will just outsource the whole thing, and a third party will take care of our business process for us.” Instead, make the commitment to work through processes. Don’t worry yet about higher-level tasks such as “role engineering” and “compliance baselining.” If you start there, chances are it will not be worth the paper it’s printed on by the next fiscal quarter. Instead, collect processes. Start with “business snippets” and work up from there."

This got me thinking of a conversation I had with a few folks who are part of the professional services arm of an IdM vendor about this (although this may not be what Corbin was hinting at), and the individual was educating me on how they engage a client on an IdM project. His advice: don't waste too much time on their existing processes, because they are going to change anyway.

I suppose this advice works (even then, only partially) for a company that is willing to completely change existing processes based on advice given by a few individuals that probably know little to nothing about their business - which I can't imagine are many.

One notable exception are the companies in the SMB market. My definition for SMB companies from an identity perspective lie between 200 and 2000 (perhaps that's a little generous). There are many companies in this space that have the regulatory pressures, but are typically flexible to change their processes to "template processes".

Nonetheless, for companies that don't fall into this category, regardless of size, the question is - what are the inherent dangers of glossing over existing processes, and focusing most of the attention on future processes? Perhaps missing some of the "must-haves" in new processes, but not necessarily. With that being said, time for a movie...to be continued?

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