Identity Is not a Cloud Storage

I had the interesting opportunity to discuss enterprise adoption of Software+Services (SaaS red.) the other day – the 17.900 employee company actually had a real business policy for services oriented outsourcing. If you are an enterprise company, I really encourage you to do one – contact me for insight or key learning.

While following the discussions around the table, however disappointing it was to me – the common barrier for adopting service based computing, was the control and management of identity. It seems to me that this is becoming a major priority and concern for enterprise customer, as the SaaS service model suit their needs and buying model very fine, in these times of economic opportunities. While vendors like Salesforce, Google and Netsuite– often supported by third-party vendors like PingIdentity – have a great value proposition for SOHO and non-professional companies, enterprises with healthcare, professional services and manufacturing deal with a huge pain in information lifecycle management(ILM) and therefore Identity Management.

For these types of organizations identity BELONG to the corporate environment, and will not live as storage in the cloud. It is simply to unsecure, and too hard to implement though these added services often help SMBs envision the model.

The only model to suite enterprise opportunities is claims and forwarded federation. Microsoft solves this by implementation of the Geneva project & Sun OpenSSO Enterprise federation solution, but very few Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) adopt this model, as this is becoming very complicated and required major skills within the ISV organization. I see implementations like OpenID discuss and investigate these opportunities. On the other hand I asked the enterprise customer – what the value of single sign-on (SSO), where to them. And although the technology and business object in hand of SSO was known, they never did investigate the cost or actually the reduction of cost and therefore the valid value proposition for these time. In a later article we will focus on these cost optimizing parameters, but I would like to conclude as couple of valid take-aways:

If you are an ISV, consider your business model and consider implementing the right identity model or supporting for this. If you are going for the enterprise, you cannot rely on synchronized or old-fashion user-stores for credentials.

If you are an enterprise customer – get numbers to help ISV vendors, platform service providers (PSS’s) and service providers the right understanding for your environment. Make a business policy for SaaS adoption, and make identity a part of it.

Models are right – SaaS is in demand! Change your business and connect with new segments for high margins and profit.