Ash of Ash’s Identity Management Rantings has a post on process re-engineering principles and he makes this statement, “It’s important to focus primary re-engineering efforts on areas that can positively impact identity data.” Emphasis is in the original post. I will agree with that statement with a qualification. If by impacting identity data we lower transaction costs. reduce risk or increase corporate productivity then it makes sense. If I make something spit out a result twice as fast as yesterday, the process may be only generating excess capacity or getting to a wait state faster. The change makes sense if at the same time I can eliminate the position of a high paid administrator re-purpose them or replace them with a lower cost person.
Later in the comments, Ash states this,
I think there is a misconception that optimization=automation, which shouldn’t be the primary goal of optimization in an identity project. The primary objective in my opinion is data integrity, while automation is a nice side-effect.
I am going to assume he is using data integrity in this sentence to mean the data is consistent throughout, I can get to it when I need to and that the data is correct. Data integrity can impact both productivity and risk reduction but not reduce transaction costs unless our current state of data is a complete useless mess. Typically clean up is done with an automated tool of some kind once we have a standard to compare against. It seems to me that automation can impact all three with an increase in data integrity also. Therefore automation is not a side effect but a critical component. I am assuming that we are automating an efficient process and not some Rube Goldberg machine. If I have misunderstood anything, I invite Ash to correct me and clarify.