There is no there there

Pamela Dingle has an epiphany about IdM and channels Gertrude Stein:

So here we are, a little bit lost, I think. Certainly not “There” – but I think the expectation that anyone ever gets “There” is false anyway.  In the process of deciding that we’re lost, I had to sit and think about what exactly Enterprises expect to accomplish in buying Identity product;  I’ve come up with my own definition, in as concise a form as I can think to make it;  I’ll post it shortly and see how it stands up to scrutiny.

I eagerly await Pamela’s thoughts on this, but it the mean-time I would like to share a few of my own. First, as frustrating as IdM is, it’s really no different that the other kinds of management enterprises undertake. Change management, systems management, application management, security management, and network management all suffer from the same kinds of challenges as identity management.

These challenges arise out of a natural consequence of enterprises not considering manageability (identity or otherwise) when selecting or creating enterprise software. As a result enterprise software vendors give little thought or effort to implementing it.

Dave Kearns wants to get everyone together to talk it all out. Helpful, I suppose, but limited because of the absence of enterprise application vendors. Without application vendor buy in, identity management is going to continue to be a mess.

BTW, I talk a little about this here as well.

While I sympathize with Pamela on this, there is a big danger to the message that no one ever gets “there”. If IdM is seen as a never ending journey of discovery too many vendors will decide to just “stay here” rather than “go to a there that doesn’t exist”. It’s the identity architect’s job to articulate an achievable vision of identity management for a specific enterprise. The enterprise must then take that vision and decide what to implement and when. It’s frustratingly slow process, but it’s process that does slowly improve the situation.


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