Identity management in Western Europe is alive and well

* Is the identity management sector too U.S.-centric?

Because I'm based in California's Silicon Valley, a long stone's throw from Oracle HQ and surrounded by dozens of identity management vendors, my view of the global marketplace can be skewed. While I try to make up for this by visiting conferences and trade shows outside the United States (I’ll be at the European ID Conference in Munich this May), I do rely on readers and friends to keep me posted about things of interest in their areas. Today, we'll hear from one identity management player in Western Europe who has reported on the state of the industry there.

Marcus Lasance was managing director of MaXware U.K. before the company was absorbed into SAP (and, as far as I know, disappeared). He returned to his native land after the acquisition and now practices as an independent consultant in the Benelux (Belgium -Netherlands- Luxembourg) area. He recently penned a note about the state of the industry in that area which I’d like to share with you.

He first laments the “U.S.-centric” nature of the business: “The market for Identity and Access Management Software is a global one, in which mainly U.S. vendors dominate. The annual Gartner Magic Quadrant reports for Identity Management and User Provisioning are also used by Benelux customers to perform an immediate scan of the market offerings. It would be a crying shame to immediately limit any request for information (RFI) to the occupants of the so-called ‘leading quadrant’, as it almost automatically would disqualify most European vendors. Obtaining a position in the top right corner indicates ‘Vision’ and ‘Ability to execute’ and is much coveted by all vendors alike. They will milk it for every cent it’s worth and suggest you need look no further. You should cast your net wider than that! Maybe start by consulting German based analysts Kuppinger Cole, who concentrate their research on the European IAM scene.”

He goes on to point out that: "In every European country, if you look hard enough, you will find specialist IT consultancy companies of 10-100 employees that by design, luck or vision have come to specialize themselves in the area of IAM consulting and systems development. A typical small to medium IAM entrepreneur, founder of such an IAM company, may have worked on a few IAM projects for one of the big technology vendors or big four consultancies/system integrators. He/she will have felt that there is a niche in the market for the specialist consultancy firm in the IAM area. Another way of saying is that like me they have developed a passion for IAM, a passion they cannot fulfill or express in their original role or originating organization. I think in my professional life I have come across most of the ones operating in the Benelux.”

To prove his point, Marcus presents an extensive list of such companies. If you are interested, see the list at his blog site.

The webinar I did a couple of weeks ago, entitled "A Real World Look at the Changing IT Security Landscape for 2009", is now available online (you will need to register). It was a fascinating discussion with three “real world” panelists representing three very different enterprise areas.

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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