Priority_One_IAM.jpgFrom startups to established brands, organizations are recognizing that customer identity management is a critical part of digital business. Symphony Communications, a secure messaging startup, is an example of the growing number of companies making identity management a key element in their go-to-market strategy. During a presentation at the Gartner Identity and Access Management Summit, CMO Barry Castle explained why identity management was one of the company’s first initiatives. “We think identity services are important to get right from the ground up, not added on later in a robot-wars type of approach, assembling bits and pieces as you go,” he says.

Symphony Communications is not alone in this philosophy. Other companies are embarking on digital transformation initiatives, and entrepeneurs are launching new companies in the face of unprecedented digital opportunities. They are discovering how important secure, reliable and efficient identity management is in engaging online and mobile workforces and customers. Here are five reasons these organizations are making identity management a top priority:

  • 1. Customers Expect Personalized Engagement
    Individual relationships with customers are not only possible in the digital world, they are now a neccessity in improving customer experiences. The days of marketing to customers as large masses are long gone. They want personalized brand relationships. Customers are willing to share their identity and preference data in exchange for relevant, tailored communications and offers. They also expect conveniences such as social login and control over their data with self-managed account capabilities.
  • 2. Security Is Not an Option
    Data breaches are a nightmare for customers, employees and organizations. Companies understand that data security is a vitally important part of protecting valuable personal data, brand equity, customer loyalty and the bottom line. Securing the perimeter of data centers is no longer effective as a wider range of mobile technologies and apps require data services in far flung locations. Security policies should accompany the data no matter where it is used, requiring identity data management solutions that support best data security practices.
  • 3. Regulations Are Increasing In Response to Privacy Concerns
    Concern over who can access personal data and how data is used is growing among customers and the workforce. As a result, governments and privacy organizations are responding with strigent data privacy regulations. Identity management solutions that can manage individual preferences and policies regarding how data can be used are increasingly critical to business strategies. Having consistently enforceable privacy controls across multiple devices and channels enables organizations to use data more confidently to engage with customers appropriately and respectfully.
  • 4. Business Agility Enables Competitive Strategies
    Digital business moves fast, and the pace is only accelerating. Being able to respond to market needs quickly is crucial to remaining competitive. Most customer engagement innovations, from mobile apps and online services to Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as fitness trackers and smart refrigerators, require identity data to function. Organizations need identity management infrastructures that deliver APIs and flexible on-prem or cloud deployment options to rapidly and securely provide identity services to a growing number of devices, apps and endpoints.
  • 5. Identity Data Is Growing Exponentially
    Identity data is no longer limited to name and email address. Today’s technology is capable of capturing infinitely more data about each individual. Identity profiles can now include information such as purchase histories, website page visits, age, location data and much more. Plus, these profiles continue to grow with each interaction a customer has with your brand. An identity management platform capable of handling this increasing scale will help companies realize the full value of customer identity data.

These five dynamics are shifting the priority that companies place on identity management. What was once a back-end function of managing employee data has expanded into an important customer-facing function and in a growing number of cases, a key enabler of business strategies. Bolting modern identity management capabilities onto legacy systems does not work. Today, organizations are implementing identity management solutions as part of executing on new and updated business models.

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