Evacuate the Area

Recent gossip has it that HP and BMC are leaving the Identity Management arena. Interesting. It doesn't look like there is a business decline in the Identity Management segment. Rather it looks like a slow continual growth (disturbed only the the Identity Superheros that claim to solve all the problems). Then why are these two companies pulling back?

I can only speculate here. And my speculation is that the reasons may be related to the hidden complexity of Identity Management deployments. It is trivial to Identity Management software and do some basic configuration. But that's only the beginning of the real Enterprise Identity Management project. The real fun follows after that: using organizational structure, aligning the processes, building up roles, ...

The Identity Management project is a multi-year venture. It is not only the deployment of software. It is rather an architectural change. A paradigm shift. Whatever you slice the project to fit into a year's budget, you cannot change the very nature of it.

That may be the reason why usual quick-turnaround sell-install-invoice integration-wannabe project approaches fail. The IdM project executed in the proper way is not really a high-profit business opportunity for software vendors. Unless they sell expensive professional services along with the solution, which usually makes the cost unjustifiable and the results inconclusive. The reason is in motivation. Vendor's motivation is to sell the product, not to solve customer's problem. My opinion is that vendors by themselves cannot solve practical problems of Identity Management.

My solution? Find a proper partner for the project. Either a big consultation company or a small specialized company (Note: I have vested interest in this option). The big company may already know a lot about your system and can approach the problem from several angles. Therefore it can solve a lot of related problems, both technical and business. They have the manpower. But the cost is invariably high (or the solution invariably poor). Small specialized company will focus on a small set of problems, usually providing good results in a specific area. But the scope of the small company's solution is always limited.

... I wonder what will be the approach of IBM, Oracle, Sun and other IdM vendors. Will they make the same mistake?