BMC brings Identity Management to the Mid Market
By Fran Howarth, Partner
Many large security vendors, as well as other technology vendors that see the benefits, have been working hard to build out their identity management portfolios. The level of activity has picked up steam in 2005. And BMC is a great example. In January 2005, it acquired directory management and user access provisioning capabilities from French Calendra, and then went on to acquire web access management technology from OpenNetwork.
These acquisitions have been integrated into BMC?s identity management suite, which includes federated identity management capabilities and full audit trails. At this point, identity management technologies form a small part of BMC?s technology portfolio, but they fit well with its IT asset management and systems management capabilities.
However, identity management implementations are not for the faint-hearted. So far they?ve been largely confined to enterprises with sufficient budget and resources to invest in such systems. But there is also another factor preventing smaller companies from joining the party. Namely: most identity management technologies are built in java to provide the scalability and interoperability needed at the lowest cost. This does not fit well with the infrastructures of many smaller companies, many of which have based their networks on a Microsoft Windows environment.
To bring identity management capabilities to the mid market, BMC recently announced a new set of offerings for a Microsoft .Net environment. In so doing, BMC becomes the first large suite vendor with an offering that addresses the large untapped pool of opportunity at the lower end of the market.
Microsoft has a wealth of tools that provide the plumbing necessary to embed identity management technologies into company networks, but it lacks the front-end applications that allow everything to fit together. But this is where BMC fits. BMC provides the applications that sit on top of existing Microsoft infrastructure technology, including Active Directory, Active Directory Federation Services, Active Directory Application Mode and its Identity Integration Server (MIIS), using a web services framework to allow customers to make the greatest leverage of these technologies possible. For example, it will leverage the directory services layer for gathering identity information, using MIIS for provisioning users with the access rights that they need. In addition to this, BMC?s Identity Management for .Net provides integration with the Magic Service Desk incident and problem management arena, bringing more efficiency to help desk operations, and giving self-service password management capabilities.
BMC hopes this offering will resonate with the Microsoft partners that expand Microsoft technology to cater to the needs of specific verticals, in many cases, building out systems in a .Net environment. By incorporating identity management capabilities into the tools that they develop, BMC hopes that they will be able to expand on the investments that they have already made, providing customers with cost, time, resource and training cost savings because all of the technology is built on a common platform.
BMC is betting that Microsoft?s development partners will see the value of embedding identity management technologies into the offerings that they build in order to push the cost savings, productivity improvements, increased security and better auditing capabilities that such technologies promise organizations. But it remains to be seen whether this message has reached the mid market yet as few have had exposure to the benefits that properly managing the identities of users of their corporate assets bring.
However, Hurwitz & Associates feels that BMC?s timing might just be spot on?the big companies that have implemented identity management technologies are now experimenting with federating identity and access management with their business partners, suppliers and customers. And many of those will be small and medium companies, or even individual consumers. This could be just the impetus that BMC?s Identity Management for .Net needs to persuade Microsoft?s development partners that their investment dollars may well bring rich rewards.