Why IAM is Notoriously Difficult to Implement

What are the Challenges in Implementing IAM

Companies around the world are taking Identity and Access Management (IAM) very seriously. What was before a luxury from a niche market has today become a ‘must have’ thing from a $15 Billion industry (which is growing rapidly to an expected $35 Billion by 2028 at a CAGR of 14.5%.)

Security aside, IAM also offers other benefits like ease of use and access, improved user experience, and cost reduction through automation.

But while the technology is widely being adopted today, implementation has always been notoriously difficult, and unfortunately remains so.

There are a variety of reasons for this.

  • An inconveniently large number of stakeholders to coordinate the entire project:

    IAM implementation is a manifold process. Application owners need to be involved to provide application information and coordinate application downtime during the process. This is so that whole systems are not down for long periods of time during implementation. Then admins who manage servers need to be available. The HR department whose entire function is morphed by the adoption of an IAM system needs to be onboard for the changes coming.

    IAM implementation also has a critical need to be driven by executives and other high level business stakeholders. This is because employees and departments so far have had their own ways of signing-in to applications, requesting application access, resetting passwords, etc., and in many cases will resist the change. Top level executives need to create directives and mandates and run an enterprise program to educate employees on the necessities of IAM to drive better adoption.

    Finally, employees themselves need to be trained and coaxed into using the new systems.
    It is an enormous, combined effort of the entire organization that is required. But the benefits are sweet: vastly improved security, lowered costs like helpdesk related costs and delayed new-hire productivity, and significantly improved user experience.

  • IAM applies not just to employees within the organization, but to contractors, suppliers, and partners as well.

    Where technology like CRM or Marketing Automation only involves immediate employees of an organization, IAM has stakeholders outside the company. They too need to be trained and educated on the use and importance of the technology.

  • A successful IAM implementation typically requires a competent program manager.

    The manager must organize and build the entire project before implementation. This includes coordinating admins, application owners, and other technical leads to cooperate with the requirements of the process. It also means the entire organization, including all the stakeholders, must be aware and onboard to welcome and assist the project and the changes it brings.

    A reputed IAM company noted a recent failure of a customer to adopt the technology properly. The deal was done, but when the company went to the customer to integrate SAP, they found that the customer did not have buy-in from their SAP business managers; the employees did not want to use IAM to sign-on to and provision SAP access. The project had to be abandoned. This is an example where failure occurred not at a technological level, but because of a lack of a high-level enterprise adoption program.

These are 3 big challenges in implementing IAM is difficult. Note that these are not technological in nature. Successful implementation relies on buy-in from the large variety of stakeholders, a competent program manager with an organization-wide plan, and an organized and aware enterprise program.

Now you know the challenges. Would you like to know some possible solutions?

Register for our upcoming webinar on this topic. You will be well advised by industry veteran and respect IAM thought leader: Binod Singh (Chairman of Ilantus Technologies and Ilantus Products).

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