CIM_EcosystemEmeka Obianwu leads partner, channel and related market expansion initiatives for UnboundID. He is a seasoned executive in enterprise software and strategy consulting, and holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.

UnboundID: How is consumer identity management evolving in terms of enterprise demand and new capabilities?

Obianwu: The category has blossomed in the last couple of years. It wasn’t that long ago that UnboundID was alone in vocalizing the divergence of requirements between traditional enterprise (workforce-centric use cases such as privileged access, audit, etc.) and consumer identity management. We felt very strongly that a set of market forces were going to lead brands to look at identity management through the lens of their externally facing digital transformation initiatives. That conviction has proven to be well placed given current market sentiments.

Consumer identity management is now being recognized as encompassing a dedicated set of disciplines and architectures. It is no longer viable for a vendor or advisory firm to promote one-size-fits-all identity management across workforce and consumer requirements. One thing is really at the center of the evolution of consumer identity: customer data. Brands are in a race to better leverage consumer data to deliver a more compelling brand experience. Consumer identity management has a big role to play in effectively balancing the risks and rewards of using this data.

UnboundID: Is there an emerging ecosystem of service providers and technologies?

Obianwu: The market is hungry to understand the role of CIAM, especially for customer engagement and digital transformation. This demand is fueling the emergence of a CIAM ecosystem that is distinct from the traditional IAM ecosystem. The CIAM ecosystem encompasses a broader set of disciplines ranging from security, to information management, to marketing automation, to data privacy and protection. Also, this ecosystem is more conscious of the specific industry dynamics that need to shape use cases across telecommunications, healthcare, banking, consumer products, travel and hospitality.

The digital engagement use cases, data privacy regulations, and customer sentiments can differ dramatically across B2C industries. UnboundID is working with a range of companies including “Big 5” consultancies, boutique integrators, and best-of-breed technology platform companies. Our investment in fostering the community around CIAM is rooted in the recognition that a thriving ecosystem is required to fulfill the promise of consumer identity management.

UnboundID: Any advice for companies when developing a consumer ID management strategy, regarding selecting the best partners?

Obianwu: Push your consultancy of choice to drive fresh thinking around strategy and the resulting business and technological architecture for CIAM. Ask them, “What is the role of identity management in helping my brand achieve, accelerate or de-risk my consumer facing digital transformation initiatives?” Advisory firms need to bring thought leadership to the table and understand the unique requirements being placed on identity management to acquire, engage and retain customers.

Advisory firms should also help you facilitate requirements across organizational stakeholders including marketing, security and IT. Regarding a technology platform to power CIAM, demand more from your existing and prospective suppliers. Ask them, “How much of your product roadmap is dedicated to consumer facing requirements versus workface requirements?”

The biggest advice I have for consumer-facing enterprises is to NOT accept the status quo from the industry they have traditionally turned to for help addressing identity management. There is a purposeful ecosystem emerging so don’t find yourself being forced to rely on misplaced advisory or technology services.

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