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Why Transforming IAM To CIAM Is An Asymptotic Fantasy?

Updated on November 16, 2016

It has been more than half a decade since people are trying to understand the concepts of IAM and cIAM. There is very less awareness about identity management and it may be difficult to understand the difference between eIAM (enterprise identity and access management) and cIAM (customer identity and access management). It has been quite a long time since people are trying to clear the difference between eIAM and cIAM but all efforts seemed worthless. So, let's make things clearer and let’s be on the same grounds. The writing on the wall is bold and clear.

“It is difficult to transform eIAM to cIAM”

Do you want to know why? There are some facts which I’m going to display but before that let’s brush up some identity management concepts.

Identity: Defined

Anything which helps to identify yourself in a physical world can be termed as identity. Generally, government ID cards are used for fulfilling the purpose. Thus, an identity card is issued for the purpose of allowing some privileged access to a rightful person and it can be used in various segments of society.

Digital identity: Defined

Digital identity is your online recognition. It helps to identify yourself as a person in real world. A person may have multiple digital identities according to his or her needs. But, digital identities are only entertained for a particular website or a network which means that a Gmail email address can only be recognized in Google network. Hence, a digital identity (an individual) gets approval to access the website. That is how a website performs the authentication process.

Access : Defined

When you get inside a premises to utilize its resources, it is called gaining access. Moreover, the sensitivity of data decides the degree of permission provided. So, public data are is easy to access such as data on websites while private messages such as emails need special authorization (which is called login). A successful login is the proof for the validation of a person.

Introduction to enterprise identity and access management

Enterprise Identity access and management is a technology which is used in organization for internal employees, contractors, and partners. The process consists of providing identities, authenticating identities and then providing them access to resources. As the name implies, the technology is concentrated to internal employees and other members related to an organization. The technology focuses on the security aspects in an organization such as restricting resources to in-house employees, providing access to employees and other members according to their profile and helping them to collaborate to work with each other. Hence, enterprise IAM promotes security in an organization.

Introduction to customer identity and access management

Customer identity management basically concentrates on end-users. They are meant for consumers which is totally built on different architecture i.e. consumer focused. Many other aspects are added to cIAM to make it capable of handling real-time challenges. It follows the perfect balance between meeting needs of consumers and perspectives of a business. Let’s discuss these perspectives in brief to get more insight about cIAM.

Customer perspective

Customer always prefer a user friendly environment and cIAM offers a great user friendly atmosphere resulting into a good customer experience. Many services like single-sign on, social login, and secured environment in terms of handling their personal information earn confidence of consumers. Further, the technology is device and geographically independent. It is highly responsive and available. These features make cIAM easily acceptable as no business can survive for a long time without this factors. Hence, it generates up in bad customer experience and ends in revenue loss.

Thus, cIAM fulfills the need of businesses to adopt a customer centric approach. Transaction and service is treated equally with the quality of product. Hence, cIAM is more than just a database of customers. It is truly strengthens bonds with customers.

Business aspect

When it comes to business, cIAM remains an undisputed champion. Other than getting customer’s information from cIAM, it increases the probability of providing customers an unified customer experience. Personalized attention to customers and fostering brand-customer relationship are some of the advantages of cIAM. Moreover, CRM technologies, segmentation and CMS get an upper hand while working collaboratively with cIAM technologies.

Know the difference

To be a cIAM, for an enterprise IAM is almost impossible. And these are some presentable factors.

  • An enterprise IAM was created to manage comparatively lesser identities with respect to cIAM. An enterprise IAM can only manage some thousand identities. But, with cIAM, the number can reach up to billions.

  • The user experience of your users gets defined in an enterprise IAM through the level of access provided to users. In other words, permissions provided to user determine the ease of their online experience. cIAM promotes user experience on the basis of personalized data received as inputs through customers. Users voluntarily provide information by registering themselves on your website. Moreover, users take help from various touch points for logging into your website.

  • An enterprise IAM needs to concentrate on its security aspects while tweaking its performance. An enterprise IAM does not see service and transaction as important factors for business. cIAM entirely supports a customer centric environment which is beneficial to business. Self management services in cIAM like password recovery and other account related options are best examples of customer centric approach of cIAM. Unfortunately, enterprise IAM does not come with these facilities.

  • Enterprise IAMs are designed for internal organizational activities and does do not support cross channel interaction or cross device implementation. It means that customers cannot interact with your business through multiple channels (social media) or using different types of devices. Supporting cross device and cross channel interaction is one of the USPs of cIAM.

Hence, there ARE issues with the transformation of eIAM to cIAM. It is almost impossible to redesign an entire architecture and eIAM do lack some of the key features of cIAM. Moreover, an eIAM design is not meant for fostering relationships with customers. So, transforming an eIAM to cIAM is an asymptotic fantasy.

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