Novell has finally released its Identity Manager 3.6 with integrated role management. There are two points of view on this new feature: In comparison to the integrated role management functionalities of other provisioning solutions.

  • In comparison to the role management products out of the greater GRC market segment, including the business role specialists, GRC apps like SAP GRC Access Control or Identity Risk Management solutions.
  • Both are valid approaches, like I’ve written in my other post from today. But it has to be kept in mind that you can’t solve every requirement with one solution – there are some which are best tackled with integrated role management and others which require a solution on top.
The implementation of Novell is pretty good in several areas, but there are also some missing elements. To start with the shortcomings: For example attestation isn’t really solved (by the way attestation is something which requires multiple levels), there are only a few standard reports and defining new approval workflows and making other more fundamental changes requires the not-that-easy-to-use Designer for Identity Manager. Designer for Identity Manager definitely is a great tool, but you really need to invest some time to understand the tool and its concepts.

The positive things are a flexible role model, integrated SoD rules (Segregation of Duties), a flexible concept with roles, policies and workflows which can be easily combined (given that you use the standard workflows or have managed to create new ones with the Designer), and an improved self-service interface, the user application which now is much more mature than for example in Identity Manager 3.0-days.

Thus, Novell has, with its first release, created a role management module which is good while there are better solutions in some (few) other provisioning products. But there is still a lot of work to do for Novell to become leading-edge in the provisioning quadrant. Compared to the GRC tools the dependency to a technical provisioning tool, even with the pretty easy user application, will always be a hurdle. Thus, Novell is competitive in the provisioning segment – but you still have to consider whether that is the right place for your role management (like with any other provisioning product).