Een prikkelende blogpost van Ash Motiwala over consultants.
The best part of my job is customer interaction. In the past 4 years, I've interacted with nearly 100 customers, and had the opportunity to see the inner workings of where the IAM rubber meets the road. Real problems, real projects, real solutions. Based on my experiences, I've decided to start a series that shares customers experiences that make a case for Identity-as-a-Service.
Last quarter, Identropy was engaged by a large healthcare provider who had a familiar story. In the previous year, they awarded the services portion of a large IAM initiative to one of the "Big 4" (are they still called that?) consulting firms. After a year and burning through nearly double their original budget, the system was still not functioning as initially planned. Identropy's team was engaged to analyze where the system fell short, make the necessary changes, and get the system up and running (which we did in about 3 months). Last week, Identropy's CEO received an email from the executive sponsor stating how thrilled they were that we helped get them through the finish line. A satisfying feeling indeed, although it left me unsettled.
Consulting Firms Love Complexity
The point of the story (besides tooting our own horn) is that the goal of a traditional consulting firm is to maximize services revenue. In sales meetings, they'll typically focus on their implementation methodology and expertise. Behind closed doors, the story is all about utilization rates and change orders. That's why Consulting Firms love IAM projects. They are complex, and can justify large implementation teams and multiple change orders.
The problem is that I've never met a customer who wanted a long, complex, over-budgeted project. Corporations typically look for predictability in terms of cost, resources and project length. This causes inevitable tension in IAM projects between the consulting firm and the engaging corporation.
Now, I know that I'm generalizing. Many projects are successful and many consulting teams do right by their customers, but that doesn't change the inherent drive of senior partners of the firm demanding consistent billing time from their consultants. After all, that's their business model.
Alignment: A Case for Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS)
As Frank Villavicencio pointed out in a previous post, a co-sourced IAM model allows for stronger alignment between the service provider and the customer. In this model, the service provider prefers to provide functionality without complexity, since it's their responsibility to build, integrate, deploy and ultimately operate the overall solution. Since the relationship is a long-term partnership, the service provider doesn't feel the need to take all the money on the table up front. Since the service provider knows that they will be providing post-implementation management of the solution, they opt for a simpler (and in my opinion more elegant) architecture. Ultimately, both parties seek shorter implementation cycles so that they can both benefit from a functioning IAM system sooner rather than later.
For all of these reasons (and more), I believe the days of the "Big 4" approach to identity implementations are numbered.