Bill Bonney has been engaged in connecting and securing systems and networks for over 25 years. Currently he works with colleagues and industry experts to improve the information security posture of companies, individuals and devices (things). He spent a decade with Intuit, an UnboundID customer, where he developed game-changing programs in identity management, cloud security and risk management. In our interview, he sheds light on what IT teams should know about the complex factors increasing the importance of customer experience.
UnboundID: How are IT team priorities shifting to accommodate new customer-facing digital business initiatives, such as delivering more services online or via mobile apps?
Bonney: You mention two trends that are very indicative of how IT priorities are shifting. First, the increased adoption (or near saturation) of mobile computing is creating a need to rapidly deliver highly targeted, lightweight applets. These applets are discrete, meaning they address a more narrow range of functionality than traditional desktop or server-based applications, and small, agile teams are delivering them.
The second trend is the increased adoption of cloud computing, in SaaS (Software as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) models. Both of these trends are shifting the priorities of the IT team to a distributed vs. centralized support model and from planned release cycles to rapid experimentation.
UnboundID: What digital trends are forcing the most change in the ways enterprise organizations handle identity management?
Bonney: I would have to say the adoption of cloud computing complementing the traditional data center hosting model. Both of the cloud models I mentioned above come with their own identity management challenges. In the SaaS model, the central IT team can lose some visibility of both the privileges granted to the enterprise personnel supporting the application and the complete identities of customers using the new applications. In the IaaS model, firms are struggling to find techniques and technologies that allow them to effectively bridge from their central identity repositories to the newly forming identities in the cloud.
UnboundID: What factors are driving more businesses to hone their focus on improving customer experience?
Bonney: The increasing adoption of mobile computing and lightweight cloud models has created an expectation of highly targeted, lightweight apps. By creating a targeted experience, the app can be optimized for very specific outcomes. At the same time, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of choices. Finally, we’ve seen a significant change in feedback models from centralized ratings authorities; such as trade magazine editors, to individual users, through instant “rate me” features. All of these factors have combined to lower the barrier to entry. The advantage of legacy applications, such as large code bases with full feature sets, is becoming an albatross. Applications that need training to be useful to the user are now competing against apps that don’t. With a switch only a click away, there is a much greater focus on customer experience to attract and retain customers.
UnboundID: How will the Internet of Things raise the bar on our customer experience expectations?
Bonney: Again, I would point to the highly targeted nature of “things” being deployed. With the decrease in component cost, it is now economical to build, sell, and deploy devices that have a single purpose. Single-purpose devices can be highly customized for an optimal experience. This specialization drives expectations of high quality and it acclimates customers to a model of single-purpose functionality rather than a monolithic or one-size-fits-all model.
Each device has a much lower cost and can be thought of as an optional add-on. This creates more of an experimental mindset – “I’ll try it and see if I like it” – without a fear of a large sunk cost. This comes with a shadow. Where the customer is no longer making the “large” decision (large cost, large risk) they are now making a series of “small” decisions. However, they are becoming less tolerant of each “thing” operating in a silo. They want interoperability in the sense that they want “things” that cooperate for their benefit. They are also growing more wary of what the “things” are doing to them (such as violating their privacy or exposing them to risk) while they are excited about that the “things” are doing for them.
Can Modernized, More Secure Identity Management Correct the Sins of the Past?
Find out in Part 2 of this series!
Bill Bonney and UnboundID CEO Steve Shoaff share essential best practices in leveraging and securing customer data. Don’t miss the upcoming Webinar The Best of Both Worlds – Identity Security & Customer Experience. Tuesday, April 28th 12:00pm CT