Novell kicked off Brainshare Europe in Barcelona by outlining its strategy to make identity management the basis of all IT systems.
Novell chairman and chief executive officer Jack Messman introduced the concept of an identity-based IT infrastructure, which he said would allow organisations to work in a more agile manner.
With an identity-based infrastructure, he said, "all IT systems and applications become identity-aware".
In Novell's vision, applications would be packaged as IT services, which would be made available to end-users, based on their job roles.
A directory containing job functions, roles and access rights is an important step in ensuring end-users have access to the right applications and data.
One user taking such an approach to managing access to applications is electronics giant Phillips, which featured in a video during Messman's keynote.
The presentation showed how Philips in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, was running a project christened Oxygen in which it would create an electronic identity for 200,000 employees.
The company is using Novell's eDirectory directory services software and its DirXML tool to maintain this directory of staff and their job roles. Philips is also planning to open up the system to allow third parties to log into applications via the directory.