Do You Need An IAM Strategy?
There is a well-known management book titled “What got you here, won’t get you there”. The basic premise is that future success begins with a commitment to continuous improvement, especially for those people who have already achieved an initial level of success. The central imperative is to challenge the status quo and move beyond the limitations that come with thinking “Why change if it’s working?”
As organizations grow, they become more complex, which makes it more difficult to manage people, processes, and systems to achieve business objectives. Manual user administration across diverse systems eventually breaks down, leaves huge security holes, and becomes expensive to manage (diseconomies of scale). Organizations that want to continue their growth trajectory and stay competitive have a compelling reason to change and improve: They recognize that the processes and systems that have taken them this far may not be right to take them to the next level.
Moving from manual, or semi-automated, identity management processes to a new, automated identity management solution requires a re-alignment of systems and processes. Investing a few weeks of time up front to assess the current situation, identify core challenges and gaps, and then lay out an implementation plan in the form of an IAM roadmap, dramatically improves the chances that your program will be a success.
Benefits of Thinking Strategically
One of the benefits of an IAM Strategy is that organizations can channel their team’s time and energy into a discrete set of meaningful activities. Once executives agree on the IAM strategy areas (i.e., key capabilities) that drive value, they can also agree on a relatively small set of initiatives corresponding to those defined areas. For the initial phase of the program, senior executives are likely to agree that building a solid Identity Management foundation should be their focal strategy area before developing initiatives to improve workflows or provide self-service capabilities.
Linking specific initiatives to strategic objectives/capabilities and critical execution helps all personnel focus and sequence their activities. In order to create these linkages, the business must do the following in its identity management strategy:
- Identify Opportunities: An IAM strategy identifies future opportunities available to the organization to provide new services, bridge operational gaps, and automate administrative tasks. Strategy examines the current state of business processes and technology as well as the needs of partners and customers. Once these opportunities are identified, they are prioritized by their business impact against the technical complexity to implement, which aligns the program tactics accordingly to optimize the time to value.
- Provide Direction and an Actionable Implementation Roadmap: A strategy organizes opportunities based on business value and technical dependencies. The implementation roadmap lays out the right direction that needs to be followed to attain operational objectives and deliver value to the organization.
- Define Accountabilities: A successful strategy will clearly define the lines of accountability within the business units and IT department. It will also set the timelines for attaining desired results on the identified IAM initiatives.
- Improve Communication and Commitment: It enhances the overall level of communication and commitment within the organization by clarifying the program vision and mission. A proper strategic plan aligns activities between the business and IT, and also promotes commitment to projects and timelines.
- Allocate Resources: Resources are limited and an IAM strategy decides where the company will invest for the future and what opportunities should be deferred or avoided altogether. By prioritizing opportunities and identifying resourcing requirements, an IAM roadmap ensures that resources are deployed efficiently providing maximum output for the organization.
- Provide Framework for Decision Making: The strategy and roadmap provide a well-defined framework for decision making. It gives a reference point for decisions to support the IAM strategy and allows the business to change direction if needed and understand the tradeoffs.
Chart Your IAM Course
An IAM strategy sets a general direction for the company and its Identity Management program to achieve a desired future end state. Strategy results from a detailed analysis and planning process to assess the current state of the organization, identify opportunities and challenges, prioritize those opportunities, and lay out a cohesive plan to build a solution identity foundation.
Idenhaus is ready to help your organization work on a new strategy, or revise an older plan to bring it to present day capabilities. By going to work quickly to solve the most challenging cybersecurity and identity management problems, Idenhaus takes the pain out of securing corporate information and assets for companies that aspire to maximize their potential in this digital age. Click here to contact us.