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Business and GDPR to drive consumer identity projects

Business demand for consumer identity management capability is growing to enable new business models, improve customer engagement and ensure General Data Protection Regulation compliance, says KuppingerCole

Consumer identity and access management (CIAM) projects are being driven by business demand and new European data protection rules, according to analyst firm KuppingerCole.

“In the context of digital transformation, businesses are realising they need to improve the way they connect with customers,” said Martin Kuppinger, principal analyst at KuppingerCole.

“They realise they need to go beyond employee and partner identity to address the issue of customer identity too.

“We see that a number of organisations with consumer identity on the list of topics for their digital transformation agenda.”

Kuppinger said consumer identity is a key topic in the banking world, where customer interactions are increasingly through digital channels as services move out of physical branches and online. There is also strong interest in the topic from the insurance industry, manufacturing companies and others, he said.

Although several suppliers of identity and access management (IAM) systems are beginning to include customer identity in their offerings, demand is being driven by business, said Kuppinger.

“We are seeing concrete demand for consumer identity management capability from business departments as they seek to introduce new business models and find better ways of identifying and meeting customer needs, so it is not just hype from suppliers,” he said.

In fact, 90% of IT decision-makers in the US, the UK, France and Germany polled by IAM firm Ping Identity believe identity and access management technologies are critical to a successful digital transformation.

Consumer identity is particularly important in the context of creating a consistent customer experience across devices and/or channels and providing mobile apps to customers, according to Ping Identity’s latest digital transformation report.

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Identity management helps companies deliver more personal, convenient and trusted mobile experiences to customers, employee and partners, while enabling secure access to apps and data in the cloud, the report said.

In this context, Kuppinger said managing consumer identity and being able to associate multiple identities with a single customer is “super critical” to success. However, he believes CIAM has different requirements from traditional IAM in terms of scope, scale and performance, as well as requiring a consistent cross-channel experience.

One of the biggest challenges facing companies is delivering a seamless and secure customer experience at scale and understanding individual customer needs, he said.

At the same time, companies will have to ensure that in pursuing their digital transformation projects, they remain compliant with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Comply with GDPR

Kuppinger expects the need to find reliable ways to comply with the GDPR will be a growing driver of customer identity projects in any company with EU-based customers.

“The ability to manage customer identity will become increasingly important because of the requirement to obtain and prove consent for each data-gathering purpose,” he said.

Kuppinger will look at the challenge of CIAM from an organisational perspective and share insights on starting and managing a CIAM programme at the KuppingerCole Consumer Identity Summit in Paris on 22 and 23 November 2016.

“The conference is aimed at helping organisations to identify and tackle the key challenges around consumer identity and to help those charged with managing digital transformation to either sell the benefits of consumer identity management to the rest of the business or to respond to queries on the topic from the business,” he said.

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