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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Saturday, May 25, 2024

Simplicity, Complexity and Identity Management

Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, March 10, 2011
8:47 pm

I have been concerned for some time that Information Technology systems in general and Identity Management systems in general have become so complex that it takes rocket scientists to understand them, implement them, and take care of them.  Because of the relative scarcity of rocket scientists, many companies become overwhelmed by the complexity of the their IAM systems and either don’t implement them correctly or reap the benefit that could be realized.

Today I stumbled across an intriguing article, Simplicity: A New Model, by Jurgen Appelo, that explored the issues of simplicity and complexity. I liked the definition of simplicity Jurgen used:

Simplicity usually relates to the burden which a thing puts on someone trying to explain or understand it. Something which is easy to understand or explain is simple, in contrast to something complicated. (Wikipedia)

But he went further, explaining simplicity and complexity with the aid of a visual model:


I encourage you to read Jurgen’s article to understand the significance of each visual image.

This made me this made think, “Is there a way to map IAM systems onto a model like this?”

I don’t know the answer, but it is an issue worth exploring.  I’ll let you know if I come up with some brilliant ideas.

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