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On ecosystems, echo chambers, and an interop

by Ian Glazer  |  June 1, 2010  |  2 Comments

I spent last week in the Denver area talking to Gartner (and therefore Burton Group) prospects and customers. One of the things that I have come to rely upon when talking to customers and prospects is the experiences I can draw from based on my relationship to the community. My relationship with the community helps me to see not only what is coming but also where people have gotten stuck. It is this relationship that helps make me and my IdPS peers better analysts.

On Ecosystems

I view identity management as a series of related ecosystems that together make up a biosphere. Each of these ecosystems represents everything from the classic sub-markets of identity management such as user provisioning or web access management to communities focused on a specific industry and technology concern, such as InCommon. Every actor and their associated organizations are part of one or more of these ecosystems. Every actor. Every vendor, every customer, every SI, every standards body. Every analyst. We analysts are part of this larger biosphere; we are part of the larger identity management community.

Some ecosystems blend well into others. For years, the user provisioning and role management ecosystems grew next to each other, pulling resources from each other. Some ecosystems don’t blend well. Open identity and enterprise identity do not share such a harmonious coexistence. Identity and Privacy Strategies have always tried to work at the boundaries of these ecosystems in order to:

  • Find common useful ground
  • Make subjects applicable to people outside of the ecosystem
  • Foster productive change in the entire biosphere

We acknowledge our place in the biosphere of identity management and use it to foster change and growth to benefit the entire biosphere: enterprises, citizens, vendors, and consultants alike. It is our relationship to and place within these communities that gives us a marketable differentiator.

On Echo Chambers

Hearing some of the conversations coming out of IIW the week before last, it is clear that our ecosystems all too easily turn into echo chambers. On Twitter, at events, in blogs – the conversation between the open identity ecosystem and enterprise ecosystem is extremely limited. Instead, people converse within their own echosystem and thus diminish the potential of the larger identity biosphere.

Now more than ever, an opportunity exists for enterprises to adopt open identity technologies and approaches. And not just adoption for the sake to playing with cool new tech. Adoption to avoid huge costs and management nightmares related to “owning” customer, partner, and citizen identities. By decoupling identity production from identity consumption enterprises avoid incurring major costs while enabling new kinds of relationships.

An Interop

Recognizing its position in the biosphere, standing with a foot in every ecosystem, Burton Group is sponsoring the “Open Identity for Business” interop at Catalyst this July. Building upon the work that the White House and ICAM have started, this interop is designed to illustrate the value of open identity technologies and techniques for all enterprises. This interop is not so much about protocols and profiles (although there’s plenty if that’s your thing), it is about the business enabled by the new kinds of relationships between citizens, consumers, students, and enterprises of all sorts that open identity can foster.

Step out of your echosystem and join us at the interop on Wednesday July 28th at Catalyst San Diego.

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Category: identity-management-market  

Tags: federation  idm  information-card  oauth  open-identity  openid  provisioning  xauth  

Ian Glazer
Research Vice President and Agenda Manager
4 years at Gartner
16 years IT industry

Ian Glazer is a research vice president and agenda manager on the Identity and Privacy Strategies team. He leads IdPS' coverage for authorization and privacy. Topics within these two main areas include externalized authorization management, XACML, federated authorization, privacy by design, and privacy programs. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on On ecosystems, echo chambers, and an interop

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