Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More on IdM in the Economic Downturn

Over lunch with an NYC VC, conversations inevitably turned to the economy and it's impact on startups. A telling takeaway was that cost cutting in IT budgets is going to be deeper than previously expected. Gartner and Forrester until just last week stated that IT spend will grow less than expected (Gartner placed it at at 2.3% and Forrester at 6.1%). On the other hand, the gentleman I had lunch with stated that those predictions will most likely be changed dramatically, and that the number on the street is that cuts will be in the ballpark of 20%. Now given that typically 65% of IT budgets are dedicated to maintenance and upkeep, that leaves about 15% on the table for new initiatives. Ouch is right!

In my opinion, if IdM projects are to survive these cuts, it has to be positioned around 2 areas simultaneously: 1. The project has to be linked to core business and 2. Cost cutting capabilities. If the project can't rally around both, it's probably a gonner.

A good case in point is how made it through the 2000-01 scenario. It provided an easier way to do CRM (critical to core business) in a more cost effective way.

So the question is...who's going to be the of the identity world? Or from a project perspective, which initiatives will be able to survive?

A few random thoughts: I like SSO/Context Management in healthcare. Great impact on the business (especially for clinicians) and cuts cost. Password Management is pretty good, except impact on the business in most cases is negligible. The same goes for provisioning and role projects, although a better case could be made for impact on core business. Unfortunately, I think the new kid on the block, privileged access management is in trouble because of its positioning as primarily a security play. I'm still noodling this, but I'm sure this scenario will bring about some interesting innovations in our space in the coming year. Nonetheless, the forecast is pretty cloudy from where I stand.