Fifteen years ago, there was a revolution in personal music players. The market had slowly evolved from the Walkman to the Discman, briefly flirted with mini-disc when a bolt of innovation brought the MP3 player.  Finally, the solution to having all of one’s music anywhere with me was solved with a single device, not a device plus a bag full of whatever physical media was popular at that time. History clearly shows that the iPod and a few of its competitors were very successful in driving revenue and taking market share away from the legacy Personal Music Players. History also shows that the reign of these devices was short-lived. Just a decade after the release ofMP3 players, they were almost entirely replaced by personal music player technology on a smart phone. Why did this happen?

The world slowly realized that the way MP3 players solved the problem of my music anywhere, carried a cost that significantly reduced the value of the solution. You had to carry a phone and an iPod, keep them both charged and, in many cases, both synced with your PC.  Today, stand-alone PMPs are purely niche devices for specific use cases while everyone else plays music through their phones. The smartphone was the perfect platform to consolidate the ‘music anywhere’ capability with the messaging, mapping and gaming anywhere that those platforms provided. This allowed you only to carry, charge, sync one device and manage one set of configuration settings.

Having spent the last decade in the Identity Governance market, I believe a similar shift is going to happen. It is an acknowledged need that organizations need the following capabilities: 

1)   Lifecycle management

2)   Self-service access request

3)   Automated access certification

4)  Workflow Management

We have been making and selling purpose-built platforms to provide these capabilities for over ten years. While these solutions can provide the capabilities needed, they do so in a way similar to a stand-alone MP3 Player. They require someone to set-up and manage configurations specific to just the IGA platform, they require knowledge workers to learn yet another IT portal with another set of specific workflow options, and it takes real effort to integrate these systems into the rest of the enterprise processes. The Identity Governance need is real is real, but the monetary, administrative and integrative cost of leveraging these solutions is often higher than the manual processes they were brought into replace. I agree that just like the first PMPs, today’s IGA solutions helped solve a problem. I would also strongly argue, like we saw inPMPs, that it is time to see these capabilities be provided via a broader platform.

Most organizations have some investment in Service Now, with a goal of improving user experience through having a single communication hub between the business and IT. ServiceNow connects every knowledge worker through its easy to use request portal and robust workflows, why not extend ServiceNow to include the lexicon, concepts and best practices needed to manage identities and their entitlements- make it the ‘smartphone’ that takes on these needed capabilities? Doing so would make it infinitely faster to train the workforce, reach time to value and also be integrated with other enterprise processes by default.

Additionally, when we started using our phones to play music, we immediately saw the obvious benefits. But over time, the market found new benefits that they had not even dreamed about when this phase began. Without the move from PMPs to phones we would not be able to “share’ music via social media and messaging nor do I believe streaming music would have taken off without the phones built-in connectivity. I absolutely believe that building IGA solution’s on top of ServiceNow will open the door for many deeply valuable integrations; as more people leverage HR, Incident response and GRC on the platform there will be many integrations that can ONLY be done by a native Now platform IGA solution.

This new future has already begun. Please check www.clearskye.com to learn about the next generation of Identity Governance, one that takes advantage of the ServiceNow platform, finally making it time and cost efficient to solve needed IGA challenges.

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