Creating a Winning Identity Governance Strategy

John Milburn, CEO, Clear Skye
John Milburn, CEO, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' style='color:blue !important'>Clear Skye</a>

John Milburn, CEO, Clear Skye

Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) programs are essential for businesses to succeed. Not only do they help safeguard digital identities for users, applications, and data, but they enable access to the technology assets knowledge workers need, while simultaneously mitigating security threats and compliance risks. Sounds like a win-win, but an IGA program is only as good as the strategy behind it, and because of this, many fail to deliver on their promise.

In fact, according to a recent Gallup report, failed IT projects alone cost the United States $50-$150B in lost revenue and productivity. What’s worse, nearly 20% of IT projects can go so bad that they can threaten the very existence of the company (McKinsey). Despite this, the outlook isn’t all grim; what we’ve learned from our failures is that there are several areas that hinder IT projects before they even get off the ground. By avoiding these, you can ensure your IGA program lifts off and that your company realizes the value it can provide.

The first mistake many organizations make when approaching IT projects is not setting realistic expectations—or in some cases, expectations at all. With any successful launch, there should be a timeline, scope of work, and inventory of the resources—both technology, talent, and capital— it will take to get your IGA program where it needs to be. Simply investing in and installing the software just isn’t enough. IGA requires advisory services, in-house resources, and application integration, given the interconnected nature, and costs for this are often under-budgeted. Appropriate training and finding IGA talent are two other important factors that need to be considered, too. Looking at the big picture from the start will help you put together a realistic timeframe and goals to ensure your project is on track.

Once your strategy is in place, it’s time to get the green light from the executive team. When you consider the 33% of IT projects that fail because senior management doesn’t get involved, you can understand why. Strong executive support is vital to overcoming potential points of friction, especially with something as collaborative as IGA. If the importance and expectations of an IGA program aren’t communicated from the top-down, it’s bound to cause issues. To avoid this, explain to key stakeholders why IGA is a critical part of your business’ digital transformation efforts and the potential return on investment. After all, a more secure network, automated processes, and potential to save money are all no-brainers.

Once C-suite support is secured and expectations have been set for your company-wide IGA adoption, it’s time to start focusing on the rollout. This is easier said than done, and it all comes down usability. Employees may have to get on board, but they don’t have to like it; and if your solution is difficult to use or people aren’t properly trained, they’re going to find ways around it. Entire IGA projects can fail due to poor UX, so be sure to account for any potential challenges that may arise during the onboarding process. One way to avoid this is to consider IGA solutions that can be easily integrated into existing processes. This will present problems and may require less extensive training.

Having realistic expectations, executive and organizational support, and a streamlined onboarding process, you can avoid the fate of so many failed IT projects, and ensure the adoption and success of your IGA initiatives. Then, you can reap the benefits of a better security posture, workflow, and a successful project launch under your belt.