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Robotic Process Automation Knocking on IAM Door!

by Homan Farahmand  |  February 3, 2017  |  Submit a Comment

Manual and tedious identity governance and administration tasks can bring chills to many IT leaders when it comes to planning resources in a budget cycle. It is almost an accepted fact that we can’t do anything about it…IGA (Identity Governance and Administration) tools can help us to some degree by automating some of these steps and at least get rid of some of our spreadsheets. But auditors and compliance managers really need those access request/approval and fulfillment tasks for more and more platforms and applications. Even those apps that cannot be connected to our IGA system that easily. In fact, in some cases, all of our apps. And not to mention the access certification that must be done annually.

Well, it seems there is a new light at the end of the tunnel, called robotic process automation (RPA) that can come to our rescue. “RPA tools are designed to mimic the same ‘manual’ paths taken by a human by using a combination of user interface (UI) interaction or descriptor technologies. An RPA tool operates by mapping a process for the software ‘robot’ to follow via computer pathways and various data repositories, so RPA can operate in place of a human [1].” That sounds like what we need to bring more efficiency to our IGA processes.

However, it is important to note that RPA is not a cognitive machine that fully relies on artificial intelligence or analytics. RPA usually relies on human knowledge (and at times intervention) to deal with critical but simpler/routine tasks such as compliance related activities. That means RPA is not generally applicable to any manual tasks. Technical professionals should carefully study and qualify target processes before embarking on RPA journey. However, when RPA does apply, the benefits can be eye-catching both financially (e.g. an ROI of more than 30%) in short-term and relieving staff from the pressure of large volume distressing tasks [2].

So it seems we have something of value here. Gartner for Technical Professional IAM research team will explore the RPA use cases in IGA field later in 2017. We’ll try to find the right scope/requirements and practical solutions that can benefit our clients. Let us know if you have any interesting/feasible tool or plan to apply RPA in IGA. You can arrange for a formal vendor briefing by visiting: http://www.gartner.com/technology/about/vendor_briefings.jsp

[1] Robotic Process Automation: Eight Guidelines for Effective Results, Published: 12 October 2016, ID: G00309398, Analyst(s): Cathy Tornbohm
[2] The next acronym you need to know about: RPA (robotic process automation), Digital McKinsey December 2016

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Homan Farahmand
Research Director
6 years at Gartner
26 years IT Industry

Homan Farahmand is a Research Director covering digital identity and access management (IAM) within Gartner for Technical Professionals (GTP) across different identity domains. Read Full Bio




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