In these days the industry talks a lot about IT GRC, Risk Management, Access Governance, Identity for the Cloud, and so on. However, we should keep in mind that the vast majority of organizations still have to do a lot of homework around basic Identity and Access Management.  And, even more: That's the foundation for many of the other things like Access Governance, because it's not only about auditing but as well about managing (and, honestly, it's much more about managing and enforcing preventive controls than of auditing in a reactive way, isn't it?).

Thus, you shouldn't ignore Identity Provisioning, Virtual Directory Services (still one of the most valuable technologies in IAM and one of the best hidden secrets at the same time), or Enterprise SSO. You will find a lot of Podcasts of Webinar recordings at our website. Thus, I won't analyze everything around that but focus on some few points why we still should consider the core IAM market as relevant:

  • Provisioning tools have matured over the past years - and they support many of the "new" features like access certification frequently. Thus you can do a lot of things relying only on these "basic" tools instead of adding too much on top of them. Not all, but a lot. That has to be carefully analyzed but in several cases, one tool definitely is the better solution than multiple tools. That's like in real life: There are advantages for the multi-tool, there are advantages for the specialized tools.
  • If you look at the market, than there are relatively few really big organizations. Most of them have some IAM. But, correctly, most of them have more than one IAM approach and implementation. Thus, they have integration issues which is an important market, with many architectural options to solve this. And, beyond that, in these large organizations you frequently can observe a tendendy to implement some point solutions in some areas - for example an additional provisioning tool for some specific systems. Given that, there is still a lot of work to do and a lot of potential, for example in providing the provisioning tool which integrates other provisioning tools.
  • The medium-sized businesses frequently don't have much provisioning and other IAM solutions in place. Thus, there is a huge market opportunity, as well for on-premise as cloud-based solutions.
  • Some implementations might be worth a review with respect to today's requirements and solutions. There is always room for updates and even replacements.
The reason why there is somewhat fewer attention of the marketing departments of vendors on that segment (at list when looking at some vendors which have not only provisioning) is simple: Provisioning is hard to sell. E-SSO is easier to sell. Access Governance might be even easier than that. Thus, looking at the low-hanging fruits instead of focusing on products with a long sales-cycle and a lot of competition, appears to be logical from a sales perspective. However, that leaves a large portion of the market blank and it doesn't fill the pipeline sufficiently for a time where the low-hanging fruits might have been picked.

It's not up to me to judge about vendor marketing and sales strategies. But it is interesting to observe what is happening in the market. And that might be one reason for the relative success of several of the smaller vendors in many markets (by the way: some large vendors are very active in the "classical" segments - innovative, focused,...).

From a customer perspective, the buzz and fuzz around the new topics might divert the focus from the things which have to be done as a foundation, on which other things can be built. Thus customers always should keep in mind that they can't be successful without doing their homework. And that includes to provide a solid foundation for provisioning - with an adequate architecture for the customer's requirements. I'll blog about these architectures soon but you might as well look here - I've touched the topic in this webinar.

Don't miss the European Identity Conference 2010 and its Best Practice presentations to learn more about this. See you in Munich, May 4th to 7th.