Customer identity and access management (CIAM): a new killer app

Customer identity and access management (CIAM): a new killer app

Customer identity and access management (CIAM) is an identity and access management (IAM) that concentrates on external users. The main emphasis is on managing the customers’ identities, but also those of other types of external parties, such as partners, contractors, shareholders, value chain members, etc. Initially, it is mostly a cyber security tool focused around single sign-on (SSO), although some major platform vendors have shipped CIAM extensions from those SSO tools. CIAM uses SSO capacities to offer better security and user experience, but it also uses these capacities to provide a unified customer view in order to enhance customer relationship management (CRM). SSO is an effective tool to present an overall customer view, and CIAM projects are mostly initiated by sales and marketing managers.

However, it is not as deep as with a full CRM system. Moreover, CIAM projects are less costly than traditional, BI-based 360° customer views. At the crossroads between cyber security, the service portal and CRM, CIAM software companies provide quite different solutions depending on the legacy of the software company (cyber security, CRM, etc.), the technologies, the analytical features, or the hosting options. When this is combined with a fast-growing market and numerous available solutions, buyers should well define their requirements to create for themselves an effective provider selection list. In general, the newest best-of-breed, cloud native, turnkey, and stand-alone solutions are a better choice, as they are more scalable, fully integrated with cloud technologies, more optimized, and less costly. However, connectivity, IT legacy, compliance, hosting options, and the need to customize are still very important points to consider. Finally, project ownership could be complex, as mostly cyber security technologies and expertise are used for CRM projects.

Nevertheless, in a digital world, CIAM represents a new cornerstone in front offices and the relatively low total cost of ownership makes it an important option to be considered.

For more information read our SITSI® report "Customer Identity & Access Management - InBrief Analysis - Worldwide".