Most organizations are collecting increasing volumes of information about external stakeholders including consumers, prospects, customers and partners. The challenge most face is that the identities associated with this information are often stored in silos with minimal integration or correlation between these silos. In fact, the lack of coherence between systems can lead to customer frustration and lost opportunities for the organization. Stronger data protection and privacy regulations creates an additional incentive for better managing and protecting personal customer identity data. Holding large volumes of poorly managed customer data is not only an administrative headache, but is also becoming a significant risk to businesses and their brands.

Many enterprises find themselves unable to properly identify and engage current and prospective customers since IAM services have traditionally focused on managing the identities of employees and contractors, not consumers or customers. Over the past several years, organizations have tried to “bolt on” customer/prospect identity data into their existing internally focused IAM systems. Or they have tried to use the same IAM systems they use for workforce management and develop a separate silo specifically focused on external data.

Using traditional on-premise IAM solutions to support customer identities isn’t an optimal approach for most large enterprises. There is a newer category of Identity and Access Management called Customer IAM or CIAM that most large organizations should be considering. The following table should shed some light as to why CIAM solutions should be considered in support of digital customer engagement:

Most of our enterprise clients plan to physically or logically separate and manage customer/consumer identities from employee/workforce IAM. A few key areas to focus on in the above table are major deltas in scalability, velocity, the enrollment process, personalization, access governance and privacy.

So if you buy into the premise that CIAM should be an area of focus in driving digital customer engagement, how should you proceed? We’ll start with a short-list of vendors we recommend in this space and offer a link to a TechVision Research report excerpt written by David Goodman that provides far greater detail on how CIAM can support better customer engagement. A summary of out vendor recommendations in this space follows:

In characterizing how and why vendors are on this shortlist, our primary considerations are how information is integrated (connectors, synchronization, meta-directories, virtualization), how effectively contextual information is used, the ability to scale to millions of objects, the sophistication of the relationships that are being managed and the accessibility of information to users.

Gigya and Janrain have an advantage in having developed products specifically with CIAM in mind. Likewise, Ping Identity who would have been a candidate for inclusion anyway recently acquired UnboundID, who for some time had focused on CIAM. Microsoft, whose Azure cloud service is used by most enterprises, is included because of the depth of its supporting product portfolio and its extensive customer base and support services. ForgeRock’s claim is to having focused a holistic identity relationship management strategy across the whole enterprise ecosystem from employees to customers to devices. Although iWelcome primarily serves the European market, the company has focused on developing a CIAM solution with broad and diverse functionality.

We do believe that most large organizations should be considering CIAM as part of their portfolio. TechVision’s Principal Consulting Analyst team has literally worked with hundreds of large end-user organizations in helping to develop/refine overall IAM strategies, support architecture decisions, determine vendor selection (including RFI/RFP development and evaluation) and develop deployment plans.

Good luck in leveraging CIAM to better engage your prospects and clients. A link to our research excerpt follows: TechVision CIAM Research Report Excerpt

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