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Tactical Identity – Embedding a modular process in strategic thinking.

May 29, 2012

IAM5 Logo"Tactical” and “strategic” seem to be opposing terms at first glance; however, after you dig a bit deeper, there exists a synergy between the two. Let’s take a look at the relationship between tactics and strategies when it comes to identity and access management (IAM).

A common pattern emerges after evaluating successful IAM projects and discerning the key variables that contributed to our success. A proper axiom for direction is “Think strategically, engage tactically.” Tactical is an advantage due to its agility, ease of management and rapid ROI yields. Thinking strategically and engaging tactically creates a synergy of the ability to quickly address risks, provide business benefits and maintain a steady course while addressing enterprise vision. With proper planning, a string of small tactical wins will add up to a huge enterprise success.

Our IAM5 methodology for success has been baked and fortified over hundreds of IAM projects. The IAM5 approach is founded on the intelligent combination of strategic vision and tactical engagement. The first three steps of our process highlight the synergy between strategic thinking and tactical engagements.

Step 1 of the IAM5 Methodology is the Envisioning Workshop starts with a strategy session. Our analysis engages multiple aspects of the business: corporate culture, security posture, business drivers, competencies, compliance issues, constraints, and existing architecture and processes. You may have heard the advice to “start with the end in mind” (credit: Stephen Covey); the Envisioning Workshop results in a strategic map to navigate the road ahead.

Step 2 of the IAM5 Methodology is the JumpStart. The JumpStart builds an architecture foundation that will support the outlined growth of the roadmap and set the stage for quick wins. Requirements are refined in greater detail with use cases, data mappings and process flows. Core technology is deployed and configured, paving the way for quick wins.

Step 3 of the IAM5 Methodology is the realization of Quick-Wins. With the foundations in place, focus shifts to deploying capabilities that provide early ROI in the program. During the Envisioning Workshop, we identified high-value, low-complexity requirements. These are boiled down to essential initiatives that form the quick wins process. These tactical engagements are easier to manage, show the executive team real-world value, and allow the organization to adopt/digest the new concepts. As high-value and low-risk projects, they soon become part of the corporate culture. After a few quick wins, they set the stage for strategic success by proving viability, encouraging stakeholder input and raising visibility of the program.

Further advantages of tactical identity engagements allow room to adjust to new (pressing) requirements, changes in the environment, or time to address technical difficulties. It also allows the opportunity for course correction if corporate initiatives shift due to new regulatory requirements, other projects, mergers and/or evolving business needs. When a series of tactical initiatives are undertaken with the end goal in mind, the vision set forth in the Envisioning Workshop is realized and the results complete a compelling story for our processes, and further enforce our belief in this successful strategy.

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