A Business Case for IAM

Gregg and I were elaborating the fact that nowadays quality consulting is defined by your ability to provide a compelling business case for the work that needs to be done anyway. Management has to justify expenditures with ROI, consultants provide them with criteria, document requirements and squeeze numbers to make an investment decision meaningful for a given time frame.

My favorite example, and I have no idea if anyone else ever came up with this before me, is investing in elevators. Usually they come with the building, but if you would have to make an independent decision to add elevators to a 10–floor office building what would be your business case? Elevators cost money to start with. Staircases need to be built anyway, so they don’t make them redundant. They also increase your monthly bill with maintenance fees and electrical charges. What are the benefits? Elevators bring people from one floor to another in a timely and somehow automated manner. They are also convenient, but can you actually measure convenience? Not really. (On a side note: In most companies CEO’s and Sr. Management have their offices on the top floor, think about it for a minute!) On the other hand, using the stairs is a great way of increasing your employee’s fitness level. Of course there are folks who cannot use stairs, but let’s just assume that we provide them with other means to make it to their desk. So adding elevators is actually bad for the overall health in the long term. Also, chances are that employees using the stairs are meeting more frequently and socialize more thus become more efficient in networking. Interestingly enough I could go one and would have a hard time to find arguments for an elevator in an office building, but obvious reasons to include them are convenience and automation.

See how similar that is with IAM? User provisioning in most companies works with embedded features like Central User Administration (CUA) in SAP ERP. On top of this 3rd party scripts are used to increase the level of automation and make it more convenient to run. But implementing IAM really adds the cherry to the cream. It allows you to go to the top floor with almost no hassle, except for the inevitable getting stuck when you don’t need it. It is extremely convenient for both admin and end users helping you to focus on more important task than password resets. But you still may want to buy that membership for the gym though.


(authored by Matthias Hessler of howsecure.com)


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