In a move to make it easier for employees, customers and partners to sign on to any app on any device, Salesforce
.com has rolled out Identity. The integrated identity service, built on the Salesforce platform, promises to eliminate complex identity silos so CIOs can deliver a productive and customized user experience across every Web, mobile and on-premises app.
Customers such as New England Biolabs, Sierra Club and Varsity Brands are already using Salesforce Identity to centrally manage the proliferation of apps and devices that are changing how businesses connect.
“The traditional information boundaries of a company are evaporating as new apps and devices have revolutionized how employees, customers and partners are interacting and sharing business data,” said Mike Rosenbaum, executive vice president of Salesforce Platform at Salesforce.com. “Salesforce Identity enables CIOs to accelerate this enterprise transformation with a single scalable identity solution for the connected world -- directly from the cloud platform they trust."
Easing the ID Management Pain
Legacy identity management solutions created well-defined boundaries around which employees could access critical business information, how they could access the data and on which devices. For decades, CIOs relied on these solutions to provision access across a finite number of on-premises apps and devices. However, Salesforce argues, the cloud and mobile revolution introduced a wide range of new, unsupported apps and devices to the enterprise that legacy solutions are incapable of managing.
This, the company said, forced IT organizations to painfully manage multiple identity silos, resulting in disconnected app experiences that decrease user productivity. What’s more, employees are connecting with customers and partners, sharing critical business information using apps and devices that the IT organization has not provisioned, adding yet another level of complexity and identity proliferation for the enterprise. Salesforce is convinced companies need a single identity solution for this new connected world.
"IDC anticipates the overall worldwide identity and access management market will increase to $6.9 billion in 2017," said Sally Hudson, research director for Identity and Access Management BuyerPulse at market research firm IDC. "BYOD and other consumerization trends, coupled with an increasing demand for cloud and SaaS delivery of traditional IT software, are transforming how enterprises approach identity management. Companies today must connect a growing business ecosystem of customers, employees and partners, and need identity solutions capable of managing this growth without adding complexity.”
Identity in Action
With Identity, a CIO can now provision a custom mobile app and an on-premises app from the same management console. An employee can log in once and immediately access every app he uses -- from Salesforce to Concur to Dropbox. A partner can be granted defined levels of access to the same business app used by an employee.
An employee’s access to a mobile app from a specific device can be immediately revoked when he leaves the company. And a customer can use her Facebook log in to access a company’s consumer app, and her profile and activity are instantly entered into a contact record for future sales, service and marketing engagements.
We caught up with Brad Shimmin, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, to get his take on Identity. He told us the technology is a natural evolution of Force.com and the AppExchange.
“For other players, like Jive Software, single sign on has been an important feature for enterprises that are using their software as a platform upon which to add functionality. Jive goes all the way down to how you bill and manage the actual user accounts to have this unified experience. So it’s not just from a user’s perspective but also the IT and CIO perspective,” Shimmin said.
“It’s great that Salesforce is doing this. Identity is going to make the partner ecosystem even more valuable than it is today. But it’s not anything revolutionary from what I’ve seen so far," he added.