SailPoint and BMC - how to move forward?

There has been a lot of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) regarding Control-SA. The product has been moved from BMC to SailPoint in spring 2011. But communication about the impact for customers has been weak (to use a positive term...). After several talks with both SailPoint and BMC I'd like to provide some information. First of all, SailPoint now owns Control-SA, including the support team and other related human resources. There even is a roadmap for Control-SA and support for the newer releases (ESS 7.5.x) will be provided for several years from now.

On the other hand, SailPoint IdentityIQ now is on the price list of BMC. It can be bought with BMC contracts, BMC 1st level support, and so on. It is the strategic solution for Access Governance and Identity/Access Management offered by BMC. BMC itself only focuses on BIRM (BMC Identity Request Management), not to be mixed up with BRIM (BMC Remedy Identity Management), which is no longer sold through BMC (but the relevant parts are either BIRM or SailPoint products (ex Control-SA) now.

SailPoint will soon provide its own provisioning engine, which is sort of a lightweight implementation, being controlled by the Access Governance (and Lifecycle Management) components of IdentityIQ and which uses the existing connectors of Control-SA. SailPoint additionally plans to release new connectors.

This gives customers a lot of choices to move forward. They can use Control-SA for quite a while, at least if they use ESS 7.5.x and higher. They might move to the SailPoint provisioning engine, using IdentityIQ on top and the existing connectors. They might migrate to other provisioning tools, and so on. But the most important thing is: Control-SA isn't dead and customers can take their time to consider their options. And my advice is: take your time and think about how your IAM, Access Governance, and Service Request Management should look like in the future.

I've written a research note on "Access Governance Architectures" some 15 months ago. I talk about different architectural approaches for Access Governance - and many of them are relevant when rethinking your strategy and architecture around the three topics mentioned above. The most important point is: it is not about having exactly one central provisioning tool anymore. Provisioning tools are an important element, but a lot of companies struggle with standardizing on one tool. There might be tools in use for quite a while for specific environments, sometimes with a lot of customization - think about mainframe connectors. There are mergers and acquisitions, bringing in new tools. There are lobbies pushing specific solutions for the Microsoft Active Directory environment or the SAP infrastructure. There might be too complex IT infrastructures in large organizations, divided across many organization divisions.

That's were integrating layers like Access Governance and/or Service Request Management come into play. They might become the glue for different provisioning systems. And they even enable you to easier make changes at the provisioning layer. Modular architectures are somewhat more complex architecture-wise and from the integration perspective, but they provide you more flexibility for changes.

Looking at Control-SA environments, putting such a layer on top (which might be Sailpoint IdentityIQ but could be another Access Governance tool, SRM tool, or portal as well) allows you to migrate Control-SA at your own pace to whatever you want - or to add other provisioning tools if required. This provides you the flexibility. And in most cases it is the better choice than just replacing one monolith with another one. By the way: that is true for all the other provisioning systems, which might have to be migrated at some point of time as well.

Thus: evaluate your options first. Build a future-proof architecture (as future-proof as one could be based on what is there today). Then decide on what to do with Control-SA when. This will give you more time for your decisions and you most likely will end up with a better solution. If you then end up with a pure SailPoint or a mixed SailPoint/BMC (BIRM) solution or with a mixed vendor solution or a solution purely provided by another vendor, depends on your requirements. But it should be a well-thought decision, not something done in a hurry.

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