Sunday, July 18, 2010

IAM Failures...Product or Services?

Jackson Shaw put up a few interesting posts last week regarding IAM Project Failures. The first was a company that sank $7M into an IAM Initiative that never took off. The second was an informal survey of 9 IAM projects (6 used Sun, 3 used Novell). Jackson concludes:

This was a great illustration to me of how far our little industry segment needs to improve. None of these customers were trying to do anything fancy. They had fancy plans originally but they were failing on basic provisioning or password management and were never able to progress further. It also further reinforced my view that there’s a great opportunity for a solution that doesn’t require a couple of busloads of consultants to get it (and keep it) running. A solution that delivers immediate value. A solution that customers are happy to have. A solution that is my dream

The question that I'd like to pose is, where does the cause of the failure lie? Is it a lack of IAM product capabilities or IAM services?

In my take, IAM products have evolved (and continue to evolve) quite rapidly. Due to my profession, I am present when customers are shown IAM products from vendors and even when they get to test-drive them. Some of the stuff out there now is downright impressive...from visual drag-n-drop workflow capabilities to wizard-like setup of connectors, all in all, the innovation I've seen on the product side is impressive. Furthermore, most IAM project failures that I've seen occur are rarely due to the lack of a product feature.

I think the problem lies in the services side of the IAM house. I suppose that statement is a confession of sorts, since that's the industry I've lived in for the past however long. Anyhow, the IAM services game is anything but impressive. To pull from one of Brad Feld's quotes, IAM services companies typically win deals because 'they suck less' than the next guy. Definitely nothing to be proud of! The services models are pretty much stagnant with limited innovation over the past decade. Every consulting firm has roughly the same implementation model (discovery, design, implement, test, blah blah blah). Replace those words using a thesaurus and you have the next System Integrator's methodology. That's why I believe there needs to be a shift in the IAM services paradigm.

What's your take? What's the culprit? IAM Product or Services?