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A few weeks ago, I visited KuppingerCole’s European Identity and Cloud Conference, the leading Identity conference in Europe with 1.000 (!) attendees. The wide variety of the program and the conversations I had were clear about one thing: Identity Management is more and more about enabling business rather than supporting internal IT, and therefore also more and more fun. These are the most important trends that I spotted:
Martin Kuppinger’s keynote was very clear. Through the ages of System, Internal, Federated and Consumer Identity we are now in the age of Shared Identities. I couldn’t agree more. We’ve seen the rise of CIAM in the past years, and, more recently, the growing diversity in C’s, that are not just connected to online services anymore, but also to each other, to things, and many more.
These new connected ‘customers’ can have all types of shapes, but one of the trends is the evaluation towards B2B. A multitude of identity types is the norm here, where contractors, business partners, brokers, dealers and customers are offered the best customer experience possible, with Identity Management as the foundation. Due to the specific processes, lifecycle, interactions and relationships that each of these Identity types involves, a CIAM platform is way more suited than a traditional employee framework. “The ‘C’ in CIAM can sometimes be a ‘B’,” is one of the literal quotes I heard in one of the panel discussions at EIC, referring to the consumerised identity of these business partners.
This diversification of users, that are all connected in various ways, asks for a new approach in technology and architecture. A standard IAM system with connectors is no longer enough. Everything needs to be customisable and integrable with all kinds of applications, connecting dots and data across a digital ecosystem. Microservices deliver the agility and foundation for a future-ready IAM solution. Proof delivered by the number of sessions at EIC that involved the topic of Microservices.
Self-Souvereign Identity is becoming key for B2B and B2C – it is all about self-service, privacy, sharing (public) identities and identity proofing. There are all kinds of initiatives going on (Meeco, Dappre, Yoti…), very often blockchain based. So far, they do not really seem to take off. Luckily, other types of shared identities are upcoming. It’s no longer just social identities like Facebook, but we see the rise of identity providers like IDIN (NL), FranceConnect (FR), Verimi (DE) and Itsme (BE). It will be interesting to see how these will be adopted.
What happened to Blockchain? While it was still the talk of the town during the last two years of EIC, it seemed to have almost disappeared from the stage this year. Tech visionairies still hope Blockchain is going to play a big role in the development of Self-Sovereign Identity. In practice, I would see this happening in a private blockchain structure, but even then: who wants to bear the costs, who will be accountable if things go wrong? It’s nice to discuss and dream about it, but I don’t really see new ideas taking the stage.
Is Artificial Intelligence the new Blockchain? It did take its place as the new topic of conversation this year, and KuppingerCole is even organising a totally new event around it. AI is another technological trend that is hot and happening. I do agree that it offers lots of possibilities, but I’m always a bit sceptical when the reference point is the technique. “It’s here and we need to do cool stuff with it,” opposed to “This is our business case, and AI would be of great help in these areas…” The purposes where I would see an added value is the artificial structuring of data, where it could turn data swamps in actionable data lakes. And of course, in automated behavioural access management. I’m not sure if that aspect is that new, since credit card companies have done it for years. Although I’m sceptical, I do have hopes for AI. It would be great if the excitement around AI actually results in useful applications instead of fading out like it somehow did for Blockchain.
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