October 10, 2018
Establishing a Roadmap for Your Identity Management Solution
Identity Management is not the Next > Next > Finish world that many perceive it to be; it is a very complex organism in any organization. Constructing a single digital “Identity” for each employee based on data from multiple systems, spread across many different platforms, repositories, directories, and databases can be very overwhelming. We’ve worked with many organizations to look at their Identity Management roadmaps, and countless times we are presented with a diagram of at least a dozen disparate systems. Typically, organizations underestimate the complexity and ask us to connect ALL these together at once within a short timeline. In order to streamline the process, we first ask to focus on two key areas:
- Limiting the number of data elements to focus in two systems.
- Build out complex implementation of this core infrastructure.
After you have identified key elements of what really represents the organization and its functions, adding systems to the mix becomes much easier.
From “Clean Data” to Roadmaps
Many organizations think they have “clean data” and all their processes are well documented and followed. The reality is, we have yet to see this be true in any organization. Workflow, business rules, processes, administration practices, toolsets, and documentation are the key to Identity Management implementations. Technology cannot handle or fix things that are already broken. In many cases, the processes and functions may not be broken, but the organization would like them to be altered or handled in a different way. Without knowing what is really desired for an implementation, things can get messy in a hurry.
The CxOs, directors, and managers of IT in most of these organizations are quite accustomed to a large project in their arena surfacing every 2 to 3 years. Whether it be a migration, upgrade, or implementation, in most cases a budget/project plan is derived. Over a few weeks, everything gets done, things come crashing to a halt and over the next few weeks/months/years the issues are slowly but surely resolved. For Identity Management we need to reverse this thinking. By setting up a 2 to 3-year roadmap/plan and focusing on the low hanging fruit/easy wins, largest recognition/visibility, and largest ROI, things can start to evolve for more systems and complex scenarios.
Taking the Time to Test
We cannot convey a stronger message than testing, testing, and more testing. The time that is spent on a normal IT project of fixing the issues over weeks/months/years or waiting for the next project is not acceptable with an Identity Management project. You need to spend all your time, ahead of time, making sure things do what you would like them to do. Then it’s just like flipping a light switch at implementation time, and hopefully, you did your due diligence, everything works, and the light turns on. The alternative is having 20,000 user accounts/identities disappear from your environment in a matter of seconds. This is not a laughing matter, we have had this happen in a test environment. Spend the time to make sure this never happens in production!
The bottom line is before you go grab your ISO/OVAs and run that setup program to implement your Identity Management solution, take the time to understand the organization, what the desired product of these efforts should be, etc. If you feel you are at the Next > Next > Finish point, make it happen in the test lab. Otherwise, you’re probably in too deep and the damage is already done. Spend time understanding your desired outcome and establish a roadmap that prepares you to meet it.