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March 17, 2017

2017: the year when identity and access management is placed at the heart of digital transformation

IT and business leaders must collaborate in 2017 and beyond, to ensure that identity and access management is the cornerstone of a successful digital transformation.

By James Nunns

The rise of ‘digital business’ isn’t merely a passing trend. Its development over the past few years in transforming all aspects of how organisations operate internally, as well as cooperate and communicate with customers and partners, is nothing short of revolutionary.

As functions such as mobile, the internet of things (IoT), and the cloud become even

Phil Allen, VP EMEA, Ping Identity.

Phil Allen, VP EMEA, Ping Identity.

more critical to modern business infrastructure – a fast and successful digital transformation for British businesses is becoming increasingly important. The C-Suite must continue to pay attention.

Many companies, however, view digital transformation in different ways. These unique perceptions of what  constitutes a ‘digital business’ makes it challenging to assess the stage the business world currently stands as a whole in the digital transformation process.

A recent survey carried out by Ping Identity asked IT leaders a range of questions on this subject, including where firms stand on the road to ‘digital completion’ and the importance of customer identity and access management (CIAM).

The State of Digital Transformation Survey unearthed some interesting and perhaps surprising statistics, including:

  • Just 33% of companies have fully implemented digital strategies, with most tending to be internally related as opposed to customer-focused.

For those companies further along the digital development ladder, most progress is being seen on projects supporting employee functions such as mobile app usage and cloud document services. The survey highlights how the majority of organisations still have a long way to go in regards to delivering a faultless multichannel experience and engaging customers through smart and connected services.

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  • Almost two-thirds of IT decision makers link the digital transformation to the IoT.

When providing a definition of the digital transformation, business are often quick to point to connecting customers via IoT services. The increasing focus on IoT isn’t necessarily a surprise, but the fact this came top of the list for digital transformation definitions perhaps is. This being said, only a quarter (24%) percent of participants said they have fully implemented a system to support IoT initiatives. We can thus say that whilst IoT is clearly a driver of digital business, organisations are still in the foundation stages of its application.

  • Just 10% of business leaders have fully incorporated cloud environments within their organisations, despite cloud’s perceived importance for customer experience AND security.

Despite recognising the rising significance and impact cloud-based technology is having across the business landscape, the vast majority of organisations remain in the infancy stages in terms of its adoption. As such, whilst almost 90% consider cloud infrastructure crucial to creating a seamless customer experience, it still remains well in the foundation stages of development. Further to this, of those who have moved to the cloud, 58% now feel more confident about security within their companies. Thus whilst the initial investment might be challenging, the rewards could be highly beneficial.

  • Half of respondents consider partner onboarding to be the least important factor in implementing successful digital transformations.
This figure is alarming considering many of the largest data breaches in recent times have been created by weaknesses in partner networks. Certainly as these partner-related data breaches continue to have negative impacts on organisations, IT leaders are likely to increase their attention on securing partner onboarding and authentication processes.

One statistic uncovered in the survey perhaps wasn’t as surprising:

  • Nearly 80% consider security to be more complex than two years ago.
Read more: Digital Transformation Explained

Whilst security is considered the factor of highest importance for businesses, it’s also deemed the biggest obstacle becoming ever-more complex. This is further highlighted as IT teams increase budgets, with over 80 percent having dedicated more staff and resources than two years ago.

Companies are increasingly recognising the importance of adopting digital transformation strategies, yet the complexity of the digital environment, with its numerous different strands and elements, are making it difficult for businesses to know just where to start. IT and business leaders must collaborate in 2017 and beyond, to ensure that identity and access management is the cornerstone of a successful digital transformation.


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