... from the desk of Roger Sullivan

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

History in the making

Phil Becker has done a great job in summarizing the recent history of the identity management market in his recent newsletter article “Identity's First Big War: A History Lesson.”
I like the fact that Phil written a balanced piece on the problems observed, proffered solutions and lessons learned in a balanced manner. I particularly liked the following:
“Under the pressure of the first identity war, Liberty Alliance did its job so rapidly and well that it has largely been forgotten how significant it was.”

As I’ve said on numerous occasions, this was no accident. Liberty has had the benefit of significant enterprise customer participation from its inception. These large technology consumers have very deep experience in understanding the requirements of identity management systems. Additionally, technology providers who have been members of the Alliance have had the enviable luxury of having enterprise customers clearly state exactly what identity management systems require to be useful.
This rapid, repetitive cycle within the same collaborative environment – oftentimes face-to-face during quarterly meetings – naturally accommodates the fast evolution of useful specifications. It happens through formal and informal conversation; writing, reviewing, and editing of Requirements and Technical Specification documents; as well as in semi-formal interoperability labs that test the effectiveness of the implemented specification.
The fact that all of these various interest groups are actively discussing and solving real-world problems brings a sense of urgency to the effort. Customers are solving real problems. Vendors have a ready market for their solutions once tested and delivered.
There will be a couple significant announcements over the next weeks. We will announce another set of successfully tested products from the Liberty Interoperability program. And Liberty will award the first excellence award for a federation deployment.
I hope that more vendors and customers alike will see the benefit of working collaboratively to solve real problems. It helps vendors be more efficient in their development investment and enables customers to get a selection of tested technologies that they can actually use. A Liberty colleague is fond of saying that our efforts within the Liberty Alliance are, “… not all altruism.”


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