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How to Become Agile, Future-Proof, and Vendor-Agnostic

Advancing digital technologies and evolving consumer demands have pushed the pace of business to a breakneck speed. The pandemic, in particular, has upped the ante on how customers expect to interact with organizations of all sorts, from retail to healthcare, and beyond.

Rising expectations and proliferating technologies collectively put a ton of pressure on organizations to deploy seamless new digital offerings for customers and prospects, as well as internal users. Developing these platforms and offering these external services to customers and prospects takes a lot of internal work and collaboration across the organization. But in today’s fast-paced digital environment, improving external offerings while also delivering productive experiences for internal users, such as employees and organizational partners, is crucial for businesses to succeed.

Companies are expected to pick up the pace and take bold risks—even as the very technologies that are supposed to enable them often feel like they’re holding everything back. Complications arise from increasingly complex technology ecosystems, while purchase decisions made years ago can tether businesses to the past. In the end, past choices made to seize opportunities in years gone by can end up feeling like constraints when trying to seize the opportunities of now (and tomorrow!).

What businesses need is a platform that brings everything together to work in concert, while also eliminating the risk that the business will feel “locked in” by aging technology decisions.

Skillful Adaptation is Necessary for Business Survival

The pace of change in the business world has rapidly accelerated over the past 50 years. Well-established global brands at one point enjoyed competitive advantages that seemed insurmountable. But the landscape of the business world has been completely remade with the advent of new digital technologies and the emergence of disruptive innovations.

A 2011 report from Harvard Business Review observed that, over a decade ago, the seeds of this disruptive wave had already taken root. While in 1960 just 2% of companies fell out of the top three ranking in their industry, 14% of companies had done so in 2008.

Being a market leader has also become less of a prize; industries that have the greatest market share now aren’t necessarily the most profitable. While 34% of market share leaders in 1950 also led in profits, just 7% did so in 2007.

According to the report, “Sustainable competitive advantage no longer arises exclusively from position, scale, and first-order capabilities in producing or delivering an offering.”

Adopting new technologies in an agile manner has given companies one increasingly popular method to mitigate risk and hasten innovation. Pilot experiments are run, new business lines or technologies are tested out, and the results of these experiments can inform further changes as the business learns through iteration.

Yet, transitioning from an experiment to a fully-fledged business operation requires time and money—and success is never guaranteed. There are also the risks of unexpected outside factors, with the ongoing global pandemic providing an all-too-real example.

Resistance to Change is a Natural Response to Bad Past Experiences

Businesses attempting to evolve agilely or adapt quickly frequently get stuck at the starting gate. Their dream of implementing new technologies that are intended to improve efficiency or competitiveness ends up being too challenging to execute quickly. Worse, the pain of past experience or the necessity of ongoing integrations can mean that leadership becomes adverse to new changes. The message often becomes “maybe next quarter” or “maybe next year.”

The business may even fall into a pattern of applying a series of band-aid solutions, rather than putting down a solid foundation for future changes. While the latter seems more expensive in the moment, the former actually has greater opportunity costs for ROI compared to doing business as usual, enabling the business to act more strategically and reap greater rewards.

What often holds these businesses back is the challenge of working new technologies into their pre-existing landscape. In the struggle to find a “new normal” they need a way to reduce the pain of adoption, speed up the process of new technology integrations, and reduce the opportunity cost of trying new things.

Simplify Complicated Systems Now, Keep Future Options Open

To keep up with the times, consultant reports encourage businesses to be more agile, more flexible, and more responsive to real-time conditions. Companies need to “design flexible processes that can adapt to meet business needs,” suggests Agile Operations Expert Nick Clarke, of PA Consulting, who also cautions that “rigid technical and procedural barriers can paralyze an organization.”

Yet, the technological investments businesses have made in the past—their technical debt—often slows the pace of change to a grinding halt. Migrating to new technologies means deploying and securing new platforms and products—and that can take months or, more likely, years. This latency makes access in real-time more difficult. Worse, it can delay the intended effects of decisions that were made within the context of a specific time and place.

There’s a smarter, faster way: adopting a platform capable of unifying identity data across hundreds of different repositories and provisioning it for any number of different technologies. By using an Identity Data Fabric approach, identity teams can reduce the innovation-blocking effect of this latency to near-zero.

Businesses are able to quickly secure new technologies and connect them to the business users who need them operable ASAP. This capability not only makes adopting new capabilities a more agile process, but it also gets rid of the excessive costs and migration headaches. The now-enhanced business can now meet new opportunities head-on with excitement, rather than a sense of dread or inertia.

What Is an Identity Data Fabric?

Any time an application, service, tool, or platform has users, it needs to engage in identity and access management (IAM). The primary challenge within IAM is that securing new initiatives within complex cybersecurity infrastructures has long involved two costly and time-consuming choices:

  • Integrate the new technology with their existing directories and other identity data repositories using brittle, custom-coded bridges and workarounds
  • Recreate identity stores from the ground up for each system, duplicating effort, creating silo issues, and adding heavy duplication costs

However, there is a third way: RadiantOne Intelligent Identity Data Platform acts as the foundational identity unification layer making it fast and simple to secure any identity-dependent initiative: everything from IAM, CIAM and IGA to digital transformation, M&A integrations, and Zero Trust—basically, anything that needs a custom view of identity data, as well as access to all the richness that’s siloed across your entire identity infrastructure.

RadiantOne unifies all your identity data from across diverse repositories, gathering all that scattered information together into one flexible, reusable, always-updated virtual repository, then connecting the precise information needed by each application, tool, and service that requires authentication and authorization.

Put another way, RadiantOne virtualizes and unifies identity data from a diverse array of siloed data stores. The platform uses this information to create enriched global profiles for each and every user, containing every attribute that’s available, no matter where or how they’re stored. This rich overarching identity data service can then be used to authenticate users and authorize their access across multiple platforms.

An Identity Data Fabric Connects Everything

What makes RadiantOne so flexible is that it abstracts the identity data stores into one unified data service, modeling identity data in the exact form and format needed by the application or service to confirm the user’s credentials, grant access, and secure a world of high-level identity-driven initiatives. Custom-coded integrations and other brittle workarounds become a thing of the past. In their place is one solution for managing identity data, one that “just works.”

RadiantOne creates what we call an “Identity Data Fabric” that unifies identity across all sources, bringing virtual views of all your siloed data together to drive any identity-dependent initiative. There’s no need to duplicate identity data, either; it can remain exactly where it already exists. This remodeled data can be cached for quick retrieval, preventing the need for high-latency database queries or for workaround processes to eventually retrieve the needed information.

With an Identity Data Fabric, your identity data services become universalized and adaptable to your ever-evolving needs, allowing you to simply use your new investments rather than fighting (and endlessly hard-coding!) to get them to finally work.

A Flexible Identity Platform: More Innovation, Less Investment

Adopting an Identity Data Fabric can rapidly decrease the time and costs of onboarding new systems. What’s more, it can invite opportunities for more ambitious projects, like extensive digital transformation and Next-Gen IAM. It also positions businesses to take advantage of advanced security models, such as Zero Trust Architecture.

Reaching these goals often comes down to a challenge of acquiring the right technologies and putting them together. Some vendors emphatically push a specific product ecosystem, but with a logical Identity Data Fabric approach, identity challenges associated with “locking in” to a specific vendor or solutions provider can be completely eliminated.

Current investments can be preserved into the future thanks to a solutions-agnostic method of managing identity and access. Simply put: businesses can make the optimal decisions for themselves at a given time and realize the outcomes of those decisions with less time and resources needed to reach a point of ROI. Businesses can also start to ignore the sunk costs of adopting systems thanks to the ability to rapidly onboard and implement new technologies. ROI continues to increase over time as the platform is used for additional and more extensive projects, over and over again.

Overall, adopting an Identity Data Fabric approach frees companies from many of the restraints that cause them to feel like their best-of-breed options are limited. They can then rely on the consistent support of an identity data system that is always ready to adopt, adapt, and improve in the face of ongoing—and sometimes unexpected—changes.

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