Identity management nugget of wisdom

* Corrections, news, rumors and wisdom

Last week, I wrote about the possibilities for learning more about identity management and I described Thor Technologies’ Technical Advisory Council as “defunct”.

Well, Oracle’s Ed King (Oracle acquired Thor, where King is from) dropped into my inbox with his best Mark Twain imitation (you know, he wrote the often misquoted line, “The report of my death was an exaggeration,” in response to a New York Journal obituary) to tell me:

“Thor's TAC has been replaced by Oracle's Identity Management Customer Advisory Board. This board meets 3 to 4 times a year. We have one big 3-day meeting in the spring at Oracle HQ where we provide in-depth product updates and solicit customer feedback, present R&D updates, share customer war stories and provide opportunities for customers to network with each other and with Oracle's PM and development team. We follow that up with roughly quarterly update conference calls. We try to coincide these calls with industry conferences such as Catalyst, RSA, DIDW... so we can get as many customers in person as possible.

This CAB is dedicated to identity management products and identity management topics and it is independent from Oracle's more general Security Customer Advisory Counsel.”

Since that’s exactly the type of organization and event that will benefit best an IT/identity management/identity and access management manager, I’m glad to set the record straight.

Speaking of Thor, I just recently got back in touch with its former Director of Product Management, Ranjeet Vidwans, who is now vice president of business development for Securent, a company I mentioned last month. Evidently Ranjeet prefers the small company ambience of Thor and Securent to the large enterprise environment at Oracle.

Along that same line, most of the people who joined Sun from Waveset when the latter was acquired by the former have now departed for greener pastures. Mark McClain, Kevin Cunningham Jackie Gilbert, Martin Fredrickson and Dave Hildebrand, for example, all left Sun to found SailPoint. Sun’s former VP of Identity, Sara Gates, simply left to get a rest from the frenetic pace she had set. But all of this may be taking a large toll on Sun and its identity practice. In his blog, super-salesman Mark Macauley cites a conversation with an India-based colleague concerning identity management projects in Asia. The colleague told him: “Sun is on its way out in over 12 accounts that I know of, being replaced by IBM and Oracle. Their projects are really going horribly, …[b]ecause everyone looks at [identity management] as a technology project, not a business project and people just want to hook up connectors and think they're done.”

There’s a lot of truth in that reasoning, and it isn’t just Sun that can be affected by it. As I’ve often said (both here and wherever someone might listen), the technology of identity management is easy, it’s the people (the politics, the business logic, etc.) that’s the hard part. When you’re looking at a vendor partner for an identity management project, check out their business expertise, not just their technical know-how.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.