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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
 

Identity Management Strategy

Identity
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
6:37 am

Setting a goal is imagining where you want to be at a particular time, and then, from that future vantage point, looking back to where you are now and answering the question, ‘How can I get from where I am now to where I want to be?’” – Royden G. Derrick.


Strategy
: An elaborate and systematic plan of action.


Tactic
: An expedient for achieving a goal; a maneuver.

I heard of a company yesterday that had launched competing Identity Management projects. Two different project teams. Two different technologies. Neither team knew about the other.

Does this sound like the company had “an elaborate and systematic plan of action?” Or does this sound like two factions of the same company were conducting little “maneuvers” to gain political advantage?

Too often, enterprises launch identity management projects tactically, rather than stepping back and determining a course of action that would solve enterprise-wide issues. Such short-sighted actions can lead to confusion, unnecessary expense and delay of beneficial results.

A cohesive Identity Management strategy should be prepared to give guidance to the individual projects or project phases that will be executed within the strategy. Different components of the strategy (e.g. user provisioning, password management, access control, directory consolidation) will then be seen as supporting elements to a unified scheme, rather than isolated projects.

The strategy should clearly state what is to be achieved, in measurable terms, so progress can be demonstrated as the strategy is implemented. Without this cohesive overall view, individual projects may not integrate well with each other, sponsorship can be fragmented and expensive re-work may be required later on.

It will be interesting to see how the competing tactics are resolved in the company I mentioned. It is more interesting, and certainly more fruitful, to watch companies who set strategy first and achieve results by executing meaningful tactics within that strategic framework.

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