Users_to_Identities.pngImproving digital customer experience is fundamentally an identity problem, yet many organizations are still operating with an outdated approach that revolves around the concept of “technology users” instead of customer identities.

Moving from a focus on “users” to “identities” may seem like a slight adjustment, but it’s a powerful paradigm shift that reshapes your entire infrastructure, and ultimately transforms the quality of your customers’ experiences. Delivering seamless consumer engagement across multiple channels requires an identity-centric approach built on a single customer profile instead of separate databases of users created for each new application or service.

Once businesses embrace the idea that customer identities fuel their digital business initiatives, the challenge often becomes an Identity and Access Management (IAM) priority. As IAM pros shift to supporting digital transformations, one of the first things to understand is Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) is fundamentally different than the workforce IAM they have managed for the last several decades. A goal of workforce IAM is to reduce the risk and cost associated with onboarding and off-boarding new employees; the purpose of CIAM is to help drive revenue growth by leveraging identity data to acquire and retain customers.

Managing customer identities is not easy. A CIAM platform should have several key capabilities in order to successfully address the multi-faceted, complex tenets of managing and securing identity data:

  • Link customer accounts and sync data platforms
    A CIAM solution should be able to map various data schema and attribute types. Bi-directional sync capabilities are important as well as support for different connection methods and protocols.
  • Unified view of customers across channels
    The right CIAM platform will provide virtual views of data across disparate data sources. It will be able to aggregate a unified profile that includes both structured and unstructured customer identity data generated across all channels, apps and devices.
  • Self-service preference and privacy management
    Explicit data is more accurate and actionable than implicit customer data. Provide customers with a way to specify what they like, how they want to receive communications and designate opt in and out preferences for different services. Also the ability to capture customer consent and privacy choices is an increasingly important aspect of privacy regulation compliance.
  • Govern and control access to customer data
    Privacy regulations are evolving and changing rapidly. Customer identity management must be flexible and support complex policy-based controls across all channels and third party data use points.
  • Secure and encrypt data to protect it from a data breach
    The importance of data security can’t be overstated. It must be built into the foundation of any CIAM implementation. Capabilities such as end-to-end encryption are critical to keeping customer identity data safe from theft and misuse.
  • Extensible authentication methods
    While security is critically important, it needs to be balanced with frictionless customer experiences. Advanced authentication capabilities that support multiple authentication methods, including social login, SMS texts, biometric login and others, allow brands to offer their customers a choice. It enables companies to both protect data and offer a positive customer experience.
  • APIs and prebuilt assets to speed time-to-market
    In the digital business world, the demand for customer identity services escalates. Every new app, service and channel launch requires secure access to customer data. This reusable identity service problem can be resolved with APIs that consistently leverage common customer identities.

These CIAM capabilities help execute the shift from a user-centric multichannel customer engagement philosophy driven by new app and service launches to an identity-centric approach driven by digital business strategy. Putting the customer at center of your technology infrastructure is key to successfully delivering customer experience excellence in the always-connected world.

Discover three critical challenges CMOs face and how Identity and Access Management (IAM) teams can resolve them.