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Digital business is connected business, says KuppingerCole

Businesses need to unlock data, rethink identity and access management, and capitalise on artificial intelligence in the digital era, says KuppingerCole

Digital business is connected business, according to Martin Kuppinger, principal analyst at KuppingerCole.

“Businesses need to build the capability to orchestrate data, identities, artificial intelligence (AI) and services to enable new applications and services for digital business,” he told the European Identity & Cloud Conference 2019 in Munich.

“Aim to connect to identities – not manage them yourself, orchestrate services and don’t invent what already exists, segregate data from applications so that it can be used and is not locked, and use AI as a service to augment your use of data to create new services to drive digital business,” he said.

These were Kuppinger’s top recommendations in his opening keynote presentation on navigating identity and access management (IAM) in the digital age, where consumers, business, data and AI are all connected.

From the consumer perspective, he said, it is important to understand that consumers want to have a few reusable identities over which they have control, that work for every device, that are secure and do not have cumbersome “know your customer” processes attached.

From a business perspective, Kuppinger said two big trends were towards sharing data and AI.

“This is a fundamental change because it is about a totally different supply chain,” he said. “Data and IT services are increasingly becoming part of the supply chain, where businesses are consuming services based on data, which is changing the way we are dealing with data.

“As a result, we need to be thinking more about sharing data and shared APIs [application programming interfaces] because data is the fuel of what is happening in the transformation of businesses.”

In the digital era, said Kuppinger, businesses need to ensure that data becomes consumable as a service that can be monetised, shared and used for various business purposes. “And this requires us to unlock the data,” he said, so that it becomes accessible to services and AI-based technologies that run on data.

In this light of the digital transformation of business, Kuppinger said, identity has to change or evolve even further. In the past, identity has evolved from user management through identity management, identity federation and consumer identity management.

“The next step we need to do in the context of sharing data and services is to move to public, shared, universal identity,” he said, adding that in this new ecosystem, it was essential to segregate identities, applications and data.

“If we segregate data, we make it reusable in a variety of different business contexts in a far more flexible manner, and what you need for that is microservices, which deliver from an architectural perspective the required agility and can be used in a variety of ways and orchestrated to react to business demand.”

From an enterprise IT perspective, Kuppinger said business in the digital era is about connecting everyone to every service. “It’s about having one consistent identity service that helps us connect everyone (employees, partners and customers) to all these services (cloud, federated or legacy).”

For this reason, he said, businesses need to consider rethinking their identity and access management architectures. “We need to think about what I call an ‘identity fabric’ – something that helps us in a consistent way allows us to connect everyone to all the services.”

Creating revenue-generating applications and services for the business, said Kuppinger, is about bringing together the necessary data, identities and AI.  “Digital business is connected business,” he concluded.

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