Christian Sundell (Finland) - Managing Users and their Entitlements Centrally - When, How and Where to Start?

According to corporate CxO's, entitlement management is of the highest criticality, together with software as a service. Interestingly, the relevant CxO varies from company to company, depending of the real business driver and goal existence.

The real business goal for entitlement management is to have confidence, that a business stakeholder with a single identity only has access to the business resources for the tasks they have been assigned to and for which they are legally entitled to. This is the ground and core system for which the other major parts in the Identity and Access Management systems directly or indirectly rely on.

Each organization - one a way or another - has more or less the same value chains: enterprise domain - business to production, life-cycle domain - design to support, value chain domain - from suppliers to customers together with all-embracing collaborative infrastructure. Across these value chains business is being planned and managed in several business domain like enterprise resource planning, human resources, finance & accounting, product life-cycle, production automation, logistics, supplier relationship and customer relationship management.

Each of these domains contains one or more information systems. Thus even a small to mid size company can easily have dozens of business information systems in which one has to be able manage entitlements, i.e., who has access to what. Prevailing practice is to do it in each of the system individually and separately. So each new user or change in entitlements has to be updated separately into each of the relevant system. This leads to duplicate activities, laborious processes, quality problems and higher costs.

With Entitlement Management you can centrally manage users and their entitlements for different business applications, e-services as well as non-it resources. This improves organization's access governance, enhances risk management and can be a key system in achieving compliance with applicable regulations. The drivers for entitlement management vary however. Mostly they originate from corporate governance, risk management, compliance, process improvement and business agility.

So what are company's go-on options? Do nothing is practically no option for any modern company. Improve current is worth considering if one can achieve goals by refining existing policies, responsibilities and procedures together with improving current entitlement management information systems. But this can be hard especially as a few companies have an entitlement management system. Now more and more companies are looking for a new solution.

Choosing a solution is always difficult and it is highly correlated to business use case. If the focus is on internal users one can succeed with more basic solution. But if the focus is on external users things are often more complicated. Traditional two dimensional role based solutions have great difficulties in coping with complex use cases and changing business needs. A next generation's entitlement management solution brings a new business centric approach, multi-dimensional model and process-enabled business level services. Those are also needed if the business use case is an industry cluster. This is a multi-service provider and multi-service customer business case. Here multiple independent, but business related companies provide services to multiple customers with shared, over-lapping users, processes and information systems.

As Entitlement Management is one of the most urgent IAM issue each organization should start preparing them for the new era. Or combine that with software as a service and make a perfect case. Remember - the two highest critical items on the CxO plates at the moment: Entitlement Management and the Cloud Computing/SaaS.

Christian Sundell is a Global Sales, Marketing and Product VP at RM5 Software, a Software company specialized in entitlement management. RM5 software enables companies to unify entitlement processes for it-systems, applications and physical elements.



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