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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Sunday, July 22, 2018

From Visual Basic to VBCS

History, Technology
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
10:24 am

Vb2pro

Yesterday’s blog post about a new version of Oracle’s Visual Builder Cloud Service reminded me of a little family story from days gone by.  Many years ago, when my oldest son was in seventh grade, he asked me, “What is Basic?” His school math book contained a few lines of Basic code at the end of each chapter.  With a bit of coaching, David soon had all those lines of code running on our IBM PC.

A few weeks later, before leaving on a business trip, I showed David how to use Microsoft Visual Basic. By the time I returned from my trip, he had given a GUI face to all those lines of code by wrapping them in a Visual Basic project.  And the rest is history … David got his first paid programming job at age 16 and is now CIO of Brock Supply, a leading wholesaler of aftermarket auto parts and supplies.  His LinkedIn profile highlights how far he had come from those first baby steps with VB: “Currently driving full ERP replacement (Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations), business intelligence, ESB integration, and security initiatives.”

VBCS

Of course Oracle’s VBCS is light years ahead of where Visual Basic was in 1993, but the principles are similar – a WYSIWIG developer interface with facilities for creating code behind the scenes. But now, the apps are created for mobile devices and cloud services, not just Windows PCs.

What will the next couple of decades bring?

 

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Do We Need a Mobile Strategy?

Identity, Mobile
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, May 8, 2015
11:44 am

It is quite amazing to me how many customers I visit who are really struggling with how to handle mobile devices, data and applications securely.  This week, the following cartoon came across my desk. the funny thing to me is that the cartoon was published in 2011.  Here is is 2015 and we still struggle!

Marketoonist

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Yellow Jeep Technology Convergence – Take 2

Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, March 6, 2014
9:21 am

Recently, I posted a diagram illustrating the convergence of technology for the Yellow Jeep Journey  After further thought, I believe the following diagram is a bit more accurate.  By separating Social Media and other services from the Yellow Jeep cloud, we can focus on what functions should exist within the Yellow Jeep cloud and what services will used from other sources.

Cloud02

 

Roll on Yellow Jeep Journey!

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Yellow Jeep Technology Convergence

Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
9:33 pm

Recently, I blogged about my interest in leveraging five major converging technologies (Identity, Internet of Things, Mobile, Social and Cloud) to transform my Yellow Jeep into a rolling laboratory, enabling me to experiment with and demonstrate how these important trends can enrich our lives.

This diagram will provide a framework for exploring my ideas:

Cloud01

The three big areas of exploration:

Instrumenting the Yellow Jeep – What sensors, actuators and control systems can be installed in the Yellow Jeep to monitor the vehicle, provide real time and historical data about its journeys and provide appropriate interaction with the driver and passengers?

Cloud functionality – What functions should exist in the cloud to receive and store data from the Yellow Jeep, provide appropriate supervisory control mechanisms and data analytics, and support user interface applications?

User Interface – What can users see and do via mobile or web applications to trace, interact with and analyze the Yellow Jeep and those who travel with me?

In the next few days, I’ll blog about my ideas in each of these areas.  If any of you would like to share your ideas, please let me know!

Roll on Yellow Jeep Journey!

 

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#YellowJeepJourney: Identity, IoT, Mobile, Social and Cloud

Internet of Things, Yellow Jeep Journey
Author: Mark Dixon
Saturday, March 1, 2014
9:48 pm

I recently launched a personal web site and blog, Yellow Jeep Journey,  to provide a personal canvas where I can document my efforts to reach an aggressive weight loss goal, and more importantly, share my experiences in finding personal freedom, light, power and joy along the way.

But the Yellow Jeep Journey and Discovering Identity blogs are now coming together in an exciting way.  I am exploring how to more effectively integrate my professional pursuits into my quest for personal improvement.  I will cross-post my ideas about this pursuit on both blogs. I hope to garner the insight and support of my professional colleagues and associates as I move forward on this exciting endeavor.

So, here we go …

If you were to take the journey of your lifetime in a Yellow Jeep, how would you customize the Jeep for the journey?  Tires? Lift? Engine? Lights?  Yep – an integral part of the Jeep Mystique is modifying your own vehicle to suite your individual taste.

However, crazy engineer that I am, I have been thinking deeply about equipping my Yellow Jeep in a different way.  Of course, the tires and lift will be there, but I can envision more.  Suppose I could make my Yellow Jeep into a rolling laboratory of sorts, to test, play with and demonstrate the convergence of some of the most important technology trends in the world today? 

I have been heavily involved for the last decade in Identity and Access Management technology.  It has been a great ride, but I want to explore how to apply that technology in new and different ways.  Our world is experiencing great growth and innovation in the areas of cloud computing, mobile technology, social media and the most exciting to me – the Internet of Things. What if my Yellow Jeep could go beyond the traditional Jeep configuration and be equipped with the latest computing equipment and electronics that leverage and even break new ground in these converging forces?

Converge

Over the next several weeks, I will use this blog to record and refine my thoughts about how to leverage these technology trends to make my Yellow Jeep a powerful and exciting example of how these trends can all be leveraged together to enrich and enlighten our lives like never before.

Hope you will come along for the ride!

Roll on Yellow Jeep Journey!

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Enabling Collaboration by with Social BPM

Identity
Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, May 16, 2013
10:15 am

Collaborate

This morning, I was read a recent Oracle White Paper entitled, “Transforming Customer Experience: The Convergence of Social, Mobile and   Business Process Management.”  It gave interesting perspective on the blending of emerging paradigms – mobile and social – with the older discipline of Business Process Management.

To stay ahead in today’s rapidly changing business environment, organizations need agile business processes that allow them to adapt quickly to evolving markets, customer needs, policies, regulations, and business models. … Social and mobile business models have already contributed important new frameworks for collaboration and information sharing in the enterprise. While these technologies are still in a nascent state, BPM and service oriented architecture (SOA) solutions are well established, providing a history of clear and complementary benefits.

The key is effectively leveraging the strengths of existing, proven architectures while taking advantage of new opportunities:

The term “Social BPM” is sometimes used to describe the use of social tools and techniques in business process improvement efforts. Social BPM helps eliminate barriers between decision makers and the people affected by their decisions. These tools facilitate communication that companies can leverage to improve business processes. Social BPM enables collaboration in the context of BPM and adds the richness of modern social communication tools.

… Social BPM increases business value by extracting information from enterprise systems and using it within social networks. Meanwhile, social technologies permit employees to utilize feedback from social networks to improve business processes.

I found one use case presented in the paper to be particularly instructive. As illustrated in the following diagram,

A claims management system assigns a task to an individual claims worker with the expectation that the user will complete the task to advance the process. Of course, to accomplish this type of knowledge-based task, the individual must often engage other people within the business .

Bpm1

However, Social BPM enables the use of social networking tools to extend collaboration beyond the traditional enterprise boundaries, as shown in the following diagram:

Bpm2

Not only can internal knowledge workers use social networking tools to find each other and share information, but also customers can interact with the process at specific steps, using mobile devices, to supply their own information into a business process. For example, a customer involved in an auto accident might upload photos taken with a cell phone into the process via a claims management app provided by the insurance company.

In order to make this all work, participants will need to use both enterprise and social identity credentials. Because they are using mobile devices, the IAM system must accommodate  mobile, social and cloud infrastructures in order to effectively use information.  This is very much in line with the principles set forth in the Gartner Nexus I addressed yesterday.

 

Gartner: The Nexus of Forces – Social, Mobile, Cloud and Information

Identity
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
3:58 pm

GartnerNexus

Today I read a year-old document published by Gartner, entitled, “The Nexus of Forces: Social, Mobile, Cloud and Information.”  It explains the interaction among these market forces better than any single document I have read:

Research over the past several years has identified the independent evolution of four powerful forces: social, mobile, cloud and information. As a result of consumerization and the ubiquity of connected smart devices, people’s behavior has caused a convergence of these forces.

In the Nexus of Forces, information is the context for delivering enhanced social and mobile experiences. Mobile devices are a platform for effective social networking and new ways of work. Social links people to their work and each other in new and unexpected ways. Cloud enables delivery of information and functionality to users and systems. The forces of the Nexus are intertwined to create a user-driven ecosystem of modern computing. (my emphasis added)

Excerpts from Gartner’s treatment of each of these areas include:

Social

Social is one of the most compelling examples of how consumerization drives enterprise IT practices. It’s hard to think of an activity that is more personal than sharing comments, links and recommendations with friends. Nonetheless, enterprises were quick to see the potential benefits. Comments and recommendations don’t have to be among friends about last night’s game or which shoes to buy; they can also be among colleagues about progress of a project or which supplier provides good value. Consumer vendors were even quicker to see the influence — for good or ill — of friends sharing recommendations on what to buy.

Mobile

Mobile computing is forcing the biggest change to the way people live since the automobile. And like the automotive revolution, there are many secondary impacts. It changes where people can work. It changes how they spend their day. Mass adoption forces new infrastructure. It spawns new businesses. And it threatens the status quo.

Cloud

Cloud computing represents the glue for all the forces of the Nexus. It is the model for delivery of whatever computing resources are needed and for activities that grow out of such delivery. Without cloud computing, social interactions would have no place to happen at scale, mobile access would fail to be able to connect to a wide variety of data and functions, and information would be still stuck inside internal systems.

Information

Developing a discipline of innovation through information enables organizations to respond to environmental, customer, employee or product changes as they occur. It will enable companies to leap ahead of their competition in operational or business performance.

Gartner’s conclusion offers this challenge:

The combination of pervasive mobility, near-ubiquitous connectivity, industrial compute services, and information access decreases the gap between idea and action. To take advantage of the Nexus of Forces and respond effectively, organizations must face the challenges of modernizing their systems, skills and mind-sets. Organizations that ignore the Nexus of Forces will be displaced by those that can move into the opportunity space more quickly — and the pace is accelerating.

So, what does this mean for Identity and Access Management?  Just a few thoughts:

  1. While “Social Identity” and “Enterprise Identity” are often now considered separately, I expect that there will be a convergence, or at least a close interoperation of, the two areas. The boundaries between work and personal life are being eroded, with work becoming more of an activity and less of a place.  The challenge of enabling and protecting the convergence of social and enterprise identities has huge security and privacy implications. 
  2. We cannot just focus on solving the IAM challenges of premised-based systems.  IAM strategies must accommodate cloud-based and premise-based systems as an integrated whole.  Addressing one without the other ignores the reality of the modern information landscape.
  3. Mobile devices, not desktop systems, comprise the new majority of user information tools. IAM systems must address the fact that a person may have multiple devices and provide uniform means for addressing things like authentication, authorization, entitlement provisioning, etc. for use across a wide variety of devices.
  4. We must improve our abilities to leverage the use of the huge amounts of information generated by mobile/social/cloud platforms, while protecting the privacy of users and the intellectual property rights of enterprises.
  5. Emerging new computing paradigms designed to accommodate these converging forces, such as personal clouds, will require built-in, scalable, secure IAM infrastructure.
  6. The Gartner Nexus doesn’t explicitly address the emergence of the Internet of Things, but IoT fits well within this overall structure.  The scope of IAM must expand to not only address the rapid growth of mobile computing devices, but the bigger virtual explosion of connected devices.

We live in an interesting time. The pace of technological and social change is accelerating. Wrestling with and resolving IAM challenges across this rapidly changing landscape is critical to efforts to not only cope with but leverage new opportunities caused by these transformative forces.

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