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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
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Asking for your Feedback: Identity Management Success/Failure Factors

Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, May 21, 2007
3:56 pm

Now that I’m able to devote some more quality time to my blog, I will respond to comments offered to my April 18th post.

The first comment was from James McGovern: “Could you in your next blog entry talk about what percentage of enterprises have been wildly successful in IDM, why the masses have only achieved mediocrity and what percentage have simply failed along with the characteristics of each demographic…”

The second was from Mark McCauley, who prompted my April 18th post in the first place: “Thanks for quoting my great great uncle, Mark Twain. I would love to see us set up a conference call/dial in discussion that we podcast discussing IDM deployments, what’s worked, what hasn’t and why. Thoughts?”

I was unable to find any statistics about what deployments reach success, mediocrity or failure. I wish I had access to such valuable information.

In the absence of definitive data, here are the major factors which I think are the primary contributors to relative success or failure of Identity Management projects:

  1. Executive support and governance. Identity management projects require executive sponsorship because they touch so many parts of an organization. Because of this wide reach, governance over an Identity Management initiative must include representatives from all stakeholder groups.
  2. Strategic vs. tactical approach. Unless an Identity Management project is part of a longer term Identity Management strategy, an organization may give up early or lose executive support before realizing real business value. Implementation projects need to be designed as building blocks to achieve a longer term strategy.
  3. Progressive implementation rather than “big bang” expectations. Initial Identity Management projects should do two things: a) provide a “quick win” business benefit and b) establish a foundation for futher expansion in size and functionality. The biggest killer of Identity Management projects is trying to do too much too soon.
  4. Qualified systems integrator involvement. Nothing beats implementing a system with someone who knows what they are doing. Organizations who try to do it themselves usually fail.
  5. Effective project management. These complex projects demand effective managers who can not only track schedule and budget, but effectively communicate with a diverse set of stakeholders and make sure everyone is pulling in the same direction.

Notice that I didn’t mention any technology in my list? Good technology is important (and we’ll always do our best to show you why Sun products are best), but I think the factors I listed are essential to success.

Now, here is my Ask

Please send me your list of the five most important factors that contribute to the success or failure of Identity Management projects.

… and my Offer.

I will post a composite list on my blog. If I receive lists from five people, I will sponsor a conference call to discuss those factors. We will record and podcast that session.

Thanks in advance for your participation.

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One Response to “Asking for your Feedback: Identity Management Success/Failure Factors”

    Great question. I only wonder if the same project dynamic will remain as Identity is consumed more and more by the core enterprise infrastructure. Anyway, based on what I’ve seen, here’s my list.

    Comment by Matt Flynn on May 23, 2007 at 8:10 pm

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