Now that we’re all accustomed to the Internet, and we’ve embraced mobile and social platforms, we’ve come to expect instant results and we're intolerant of any delay. We want it now! This isn't necessarily because we need things done faster than before (although that may be the case for businesses). It’s because we organize differently than we did 15 years ago, and expect results on short notice. Recently, my family was planning a move and my wife went to the USPS website to have our mail redirected to our new address. She went online the day before our move only to learn that she was too late, since there is a 7 to 10 day lead-time on the service. She was surprised. "What's the big deal, flip the switch, just have the mail go to the new place!" she said, incredulously.
When we need services in a timely fashion, everything becomes both easier and harder. For a user with a clearly identified need, the timeframe is immediate. The provider that can fulfill the need should offer instant sign-up and payment, with the ability to access the service right away. I've worked with companies like this in my life – one that stands out in my memory was when I’d procrastinated until the last moment to do my taxes, and Intuit TurboTax gave me instant access, immediate service, and had me for good. I’m a repeat customer, every year.
On the service provider side, “real time” means even more. A provider needs to ensure that systems can scale to meet demand even with large spikes of traffic (i.e. events, tax season, catastrophes, etc.) And a provider has to make sure the service functions as expected, under any circumstances. This calls for a new breed of software that factors those constraints into the design right from the beginning: in the operating system, the file system, the memory management, the Java platform, the database, the identity infrastructure, and into the collaboration and support platforms.
I believe that 2012 will see the recognition that real-time is a go/no-go factor for a lot of businesses, projects, start-ups, and investors. For example, Joyent is building the only operating system I’m aware of with DIRTy (Data Intensive Real Time) systems in mind from the outset. There are also projects like Pusher, offering to push real-time content to users; Azul, who offers a real-time pauseless Java platform; and AirBnb who offers real-time lodging availability. The list of these types of projects and businesses grows by the second (or millisecond).
In the identity space, the real-time approach is something that the big names seem to have either dismissed or just plain missed – or at least it’s not apparent that they’ve got any investment in that direction within their Plans of Record. The success of this type of real-time business model hinges on the user. The key to success for new or existing businesses is reducing the friction in the experience. Do you offer absolutely no barriers to entry? Yes! If you onboard new users simply by letting them assume their identity from elsewhere, they are already on board.
UnboundID enables real-time business models with an Identity Services Platform that weaves the web of relationships needed to foster adoption, create trust and develop a sustainable transaction model with customers. We’ve recently announced our SCIM (Simple Cloud Identity Management) products and we continue to innovate with new features and products that cater to the ever-growing need for right now data. So if your customers want it “right now”, like little Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka, then UnboundID is ready to help.