Many businesses and public sector organizations are finding that they need to collect, store, and analyze more information about the consumers who use their services to provide better digital experiences, create new sales opportunities, and increase brand loyalty.

In addition, organizations, particularly in the financial sector, need to verify the identity of their customers to help fight fraud, corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing, and comply with a growing number of laws and regulations, commonly known as Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements.

All these needs are helping to drive the growing market for Consumer or Customer Identity & Access Management (CIAM) technology solutions that are designed to meet the evolving technical requirements for businesses and other organizations that deal directly with consumers and citizens.

CIAM has developed as a specialized form of IAM and typically includes functionality for analyzing consumer behavior, collecting consent for using personal data, and integrating into CRM systems, connected devices such as smartphones, and marketing automation systems.

CIAM systems are increasingly used by consumer-facing organizations in the retail, media, finance, healthcare, and public sectors. These systems focus on the connectivity with the consumer when accessing all consumer-facing systems, from registration onwards.

Like traditional IAM, CIAM systems are designed to provision, authenticate, authorize, collect, and store personal information. But unlike IAM systems, the data is about consumers and is typically provided and maintained by consumers. Therefore, there is often the need to connect to identity proofing services to strengthen the veracity of the consumer attributes.

Also, unlike traditional IAM, CIAM systems must be able to manage millions of identities and process potentially billions of logins and other transactions on a daily basis. Therefore, the IAM needs of consumer-facing organizations are not easily met by traditional IAM systems, and it is important for these organizations to ensure they have the right systems they need to support the business as well as meet regulatory requirements.

The Customer Data Platform (CDP) is a related product/service offering designed to aggregate and analyze various sources of customer information for the purpose of enhancing marketing strategies and efficiency.

As such, CDPs can consolidate customer and/or consumer identity data, purchase history, product searches and reviews, social media activities, and more. Robust marketing analytics, reporting, and integrations with marketing automation solutions are core features.

KuppingerCole is planning focused research on CDPs in 2022.

IT departments should welcome CIAM initiatives, as they provide an opportunity for IT, usually considered a “cost center”, to closely team with Marketing, a revenue producing center. 

— John Tolbert, Lead Analyst at KuppingerCole

Because we understand how the value of CIAM, and because we are committed to helping your business succeed, KuppingerCole has a great deal of content in a variety of formats available.


For a concise perspective on various aspects of CIAM have a look at these blog posts:

Audio & Video

If you would like to hear what our analysts have to say on the topic of CIAM, have a listen to this Analyst Chat on Consent Management Done Right for a conversation about what Consent means for identity professionals, service providers or lawyers, and how to reconcile all those different views in modern IAM environments.

For CIAM-related video content, have a look at this presentation on Consumer-Focused Identity Management that explores how CIAM can deliver opportunities to build deep, engaging relationships with customers, and this presentation on the Five Pillars of Consumer IAM, which looks at the key CIAM components required to deliver deeper online relationships with consumers and turn customer data into valuable business insights.


Companies and organizations have strategic decisions to make about CIAM such as where to start if they don’t have a CIAM solution, whether to invest in a dedicated CIAM solution or to build on existing infrastructure, and what the next step should be in building a mature CIAM strategy. For a discussion of these issues and how to ensure that applications, systems, and identities are cohesive and well-integrated to enable the company to provide a superior customer experience, have a look at this webinar on The Role of Customer Identity & Access Management in Digital Transformation.

To learn more about the business challenges introduced by GDPR and PSD2, to discover how customer consent can be a business driver rather than a liability, to understand the legal and compliance aspects of consent management, and find out how to make the right decisions about your future Consent Management Lifecycle Management, have a look at this webinar entitled: Consent Lifecycle Management: Consumer IAM’s Core Capability?

Given the widely varied level of trustworthiness of various customer-generated data, the importance of identity assurance increases dramatically. Depending on the industry and area of operation, integration with external assurance providers may even be an essential feature of your IAM infrastructure. For an in-depth discussion of these issues, have a look at this webinar on Knowing Your Customer Well: The Importance of Assurance and Identity Governance for CIAM.

Staying with the topic of identity assurance, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased digital interaction. But this has increased the incidence of fraud during the account creation process. As a result, businesses now face the challenge of verifying customer identity and verifying that those entities interacting with their brand are human and who they claim to be. For a discussion on how to tackle these challenges without adding unnecessary friction to the user experience, have a look at this webinar entitled: Identity Verification: Why It Is Needed and How It Can Benefit the Business.


Privacy regulations are changing the way organizations handle personal information and typically require the collection of consumer consent. As a result, many Consumer Identity platforms have added in consent management features. For a discussion of various approaches taken to address evolving business scenarios, have a look at this whitepaper on Technical Approaches to Consent Management and Dynamic Access Management.

CIAM systems and services provide new technical capabilities for organizations to know their customers better. For a discussion on how Pirean’s solutions for IAM and CIAM can help companies deploy a single solution to meet both sets of business objectives, have a look this whitepaper on Orchestrated Identity for Meeting IAM & CIAM Requirements.

Tech Investment

For organizations looking to make initial or further investments in CIAM, for an examination of the market segment, vendor products and service functionality, market share, and innovative approaches to CIAM, have a look at this Leadership Compass on CIAM Platforms.

Moving on from there, there are several related Leadership Compasses to have a look at. These include the reports on:

As mentioned earlier, identity verification is important in the context of CIAM, therefore it could be useful to familiarize yourself with vendors who support this requirement by having a look at his Market Compass on Providers of Verified Identity. You may also find it useful to have a look at the Market Compass on Decentralized Identity: Blockchain ID & Self-Sovereign Identity Solutions, although this market currently does not address all aspects of CIAM.

Guidance on questions to ask vendors, criteria to select your vendor and requirements for successful deployments can be found in this Buyer’s Compass on Consumer Identity and Access Management Solutions.

Organizations investing in technologies to support CIAM capabilities, can also have a look at some of the related technology solutions that we have evaluated: