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The role of Consumer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) is still massively undervalued by many organizations. Both drop-off and churn rates are heavily impacted by cumbersome registration and outdated authentication options. Despite this fact, CIAM still is frequently treated as a side-show by the teams creating digital experiences. This also leads to disparate approaches across digital services, and in consequence to a negative user experience. CIOs must put close collaboration of software engineers and DevOps teams high on their agenda. CTOs need the right tools for rapidly delivering digital services. CISOs request unified security architectures. CDOs and CMOs care for customer experience. Thus, CIAM must become a standard architecture component and service in every organization. This integrated perspective is fundamental for success in the digital age.

1 Executive Summary

We are in the digital age. Connecting to consumers, business customers, and citizens via digital services has become the norm for many organizations. The digital relationship always starts with onboarding, with creating an account, and continues with recurring authentication. As the saying goes, “There is no second chance to make a first impression” – and there is rarely a second chance when your login experience does not deliver on customer expectations.

Unfortunately, it frequently goes wrong. Most consumers already have had negative experiences and are frustrated by cumbersome form fills, organizations asking for too much data, and the login experience. Passwords are the most frustrating element of all. Consumers are annoyed by having to create complex passwords again and again, for virtually every digital service they are consuming. While passwords are known to be insecure, and many consumers already benefit from modern, passwordless MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) in their working lives, username and password are still the norm for authenticating to eCommerce sites.

This all leads to drop-off rates, i.e., consumers dropping off during registration, and churn rates, i.e., consumers not returning, e.g., due to lost passwords, that are way too high. Moreover, recreating registration and login processes again and again, for each digital service, increases the attack surface, while hindering a positive digital experience.

The good news is that this all can be fixed by utilizing Identity API Platforms for CIAM (Consumer Identity and Access Management), which deliver identity and security as a service to the developers. Developers can work towards stable, comprehensive APIs, and just request the registration, the authentication, or other services when needed for their apps. Such platforms allow organizations to add and change authenticators, without requiring code changes. They provide central security services such as fraud monitoring and security analytics, across all digital services. Finally, they also help in speeding up development and thus reducing the time-to-value when developing digital services.

It is time for CIOs and their CISOs and CDOs to foster communication and collaboration between the DevOps teams on one hand, and the identity and security teams on the other. CIAM delivers to many different teams, from the CIO and CDO delivering digital services on time to the CISOs enforcing security based on common architectures and components, the CTOs and Engineering leads by efficiency gains, and the CMOs in delivering a modern and unified customer experience. By working closely hand in hand, all groups will benefit in their domains. Even more important, the entire organization will benefit from better and more secure digital services that are more agile and delivered faster, while the customers benefit from improvements in their digital experience.

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