There is an old cliche that goes, “The mediocre are always at their best” and that certainly applies to Microsoft’s announcement surounding ILM “2” now officially Forefront Identity Manager 2010 (FIM). Brad Turner thought it should be Forefront Identity Lifecycle Manager. I submit Forefront Lifecycle Identity Management System Year 2010 would have been even better. Somehow the extra words and the clunky sound of saying it out loud is an apt aural simile for the technologies they crashed together to create it. The product is heralded on the web site with these words “Identity Management is about to get a lot easier(sic)”. The clear advantage of this product is that it comes from Microsoft whatever you may wish to infer. They are trumpeting the self service capabilities which I believe has diminishing returns; there is point at which self service is a time sump for busy people. The creation of workflows appears to be greatly improved and easier to do. There is little improvement in the back end and underneath it all is Microsoft’s metadirectory. In the end you have to wait until 2010 to be underwhelmed. For many it will be good enough.
In the same vein is an article at SC Magazine by one Mark Wilcox, principal product manager at Oracle. Mr. Wilcox re-discovers, independently no doubt, the advantages of using virtual directory servers for mergers and acquisitions. Not to be unduly hard on Mr. Wilcox but that was well established by at least 2004 and you could argue earlier. At least they can prove the usefulness of their own product as they attempt to swallow the Sun. My favourite line from the article is this sentence in the opening paragraph, “M&A delivers its promise through the successful integration of two organizations and their business processes.” That strikes me as an odd statement because you can successfully integrate two companies and never turn a profit. Only returning money to the shareholders fulfills the promise.