Getting value from your IdM project

Many organizations attempt to solve their identity management (IdM) problems through technology deployments, and although an IdM implementation project may be successful from an IT point of view, such projects can encounter significant challenges when it comes to delivering value to the business.

In order to be truly successful for both IT and the business, IdM projects need to focus on the successful integration with applications and business processes.

For more than seven years, the Deloitte team has been involved in many aspects of IdM, ranging from strategy and planning to integration and process re-engineering.

Very often, we are asked, “How do we get the most business value out of an IdM project? What is the formula for success? How can we measure our success if it takes so long to see the benefits?”

Our experience provides the following answers:

Position the IdM project as a business initiative. As mentioned before, a big part of the IdM deployment should be focused on integration with business processes. This cannot be done successfully if the business is not engaged throughout the entire project lifecycle.

Identify an executive champion and establish business criteria for success. Many organizations have successfully implemented IdM technology but have failed to meet executive-level expectations. It is therefore important to identify a project champion at the executive level. The project champion must clearly communicate critical success factors in order to ensure the project delivers business value based on pre-established criteria. There are many ways to measure success, such as: user satisfaction, process efficiency and quality and return on investment (ROI) in six months due to cost reduction or cost avoidance.

Define the target-state vision. Any IdM project planning should start with defining the “business destination,” including enterprise-level architecture of services and a strategy to deliver the services. Without a defined vision, many organizations treat their IdM initiatives as tactical deployments and ultimately stall because they did not prepare to transition their project from a “silo” implementation to an enterprise service. While our experience has demonstrated that a project can be a tactical deployment, it must be aligned with the business vision in order to be successful.

Define a practical roadmap. It seems logical to deliver an IdM service as a whole, however most organizations cannot justify a large spend without seeing immediate and tangible value. To be successful, the IdM initiative should define a roadmap for delivering modular IdM components in phases, where each phase delivers discrete tangible business value.

Focus on business process integration. IdM projects often experience serious integration challenges because the project team does not have a good understanding of the existing business environment: technology, processes and people. IdM projects should focus on integration of the IdM technology into existing processes.

Engage end-users to ensure their adoption. IdM solutions deliver tremendous value to user administrators and support staff, however, the end-user experience contributes to the ultimate value of the overall solution. The IT industry learned many years ago the importance of user-friendly interfaces. For IdM projects, that translates into the requirement for seamless end-user experience, such as password self-service, self-registration and point-and-click approval workflow.

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– Romanovskiy, a designated Certified Information Systems Security Professional, is a Senior Manager for Deloitte Security Services.

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