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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Thursday, April 25, 2024

Convergent Identity

Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, June 1, 2005
5:55 am

At one time in my life, I had six individual accounts with

– long distance, personal calling card, corporate calling card, mobile phone, ISP and credit card. Yet Mother AT&T had no idea that the six Mark Dixons from Arizona were all one in the same guy.

At the time, I held a business development position with

telecommunications vertical business sector. We preached the gospel of Convergent Services, where traditional business boundaries and IT system silos could be bridged, ostensibly enabled by Oracle’s application and database products. In its simplest form, Convergent Services would allow all services provided by one company to be invoiced on a single bill. In its utopian form, Convergent Services would deliver all possible telecommunications services in an interoperable way (e.g. long distance for home and mobile phone on the same infrastructure; music, video, personal services on a mobile phone.)

The benefits to customers would be richer service offerings, ease of use, better customer service and simplified bill paying. Carrier benefits would include lower costs, new market penetration and “stickiness” – that elusive art of getting customers to stay with the same carrier.

Well, I didn’t stick around. I don’t think AT&T ever figured out that all those multiple accounts belonged to one person. I’m now down to one AT&T account. I’m just a lingering example of a forgotten customer in a churn-happy telecom world.

A similar issue persists within enterprises. A single employee’s Identity information may be represented in different ways on many different systems, with scant manual correlation between them. The duplicity of effort to maintain these multiple identity stores costs precious administrative time, can lead to security breaches, and frequently results in user incovenience and support headaches.

At the heart of the solution to both enterprise identity and convergent services is Identity Management. Implementing a system like the

Sun Identity Manager
product can provide centralized control of Identities – for employees or customers. As Identities converge, better customer/user service can surely follow. After all, Identities represent people, and people do the work of enterprises and make the buying decisions in the marketplace.

Are you listening, AT&T?


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