IBM yesterday has announced its Tivoli Identity Manager 5.1. If you read the list of new features you might end up with the same question like me: Why is it only version 5.1, e.g. a minor (.1) release instead of TIM 6? Amongst the new features are fundamental things like Role Management, SoD support, attestation and, last not least, support for some Privileged Account Management (or Privileged Identity Management, the term IBM is using). With other words: IBM has significantly expanded the feature set of its product, mainly adding a lot of IAM-GRC features to what TIM delivers. Given that they have some other interesting solutions in the GRC space, especially for analytics and dashboards, IBM definitely improves its positioning in that emerging market segment.

So the GRC stuff is one of the new areas in TIM 5.1. That's nice, but we have seen that before. Many vendors have either added such features to their products or have released separate GRC platforms - with advantages and disadvantages in both approaches. IBM in fact has tied in that area.

Much more interesting is the addition of PIM capabilities to a provisioning solution. Even while not every aspect of PIM will be solved by what TIM 5.1 delivers, that fulfills my expectations of PIM becoming more and more part of provisioning tools - which is just logical, given that it is about managing accounts. IBM is the first vendor in the market who delivers an integration in that area. Novell might become a close follower given that they have recently acquired a PIM vendor.

With these additions, IBM would have gould reasons to name the release of TIM as version 6.0 instead of 5.1. But understanding the reasons for version numbers is definitely amongst the hardest things in IT.

However, IBM shows that they are intensively acting to improve their positioning in the IAM and GRC market space. Being one of the first big companies which had entered that market, there hasn't been that much evolution for some time. But now IBM is definitely back and moving forward significantly, acting as a strong competitor for the other players in the market. And once they deliver on full GRC solutions, beyond IAM-GRC and access controls (and IBM is amongst the ones who might deliver on that given their strengths in areas like SIEM, ITSM, and others...) IBM might even further improve its positioning.