Even in an uncertain economic climate, the prospects for Identity and Access Management (IAM) are bright. Companies cannot grow their digital channels without proper identity management. We sat down with TrustBuilder CEO Frank Hamerlinck to discuss 2022 and look forward to 2023.
Frank, what were the highlights of 2022 for you?
Frank: It was very exciting to see the interest in the market for our strategic innovation around identity-centric personas and our cloud strategy. We have realized the next step in Identity and Access Management by our focus on Identity Management and Persona Management. Whenever we listen to the needs of organizations, we notice that they all struggle with the fact that one individual can take on many different personas and interacts with an organization in different capacities. The same person can be a manager in a company, an employee, and a customer, with different access rights. Our solution around personas ensures that one person only has one profile, which prevents role explosion, increases security, makes user management easier, and delivers a better customer experience.
So customers and prospects are warming up to personas. Does the same apply to the cloud?
Frank: It does. In 2022 we saw confirmation that more customers than expected are ready to make the move to the cloud, faster than expected. Our professional services team is currently working on a number of these cloud migrations. Our cloud strategy also helped us sign up new customers in 2022, and as the implementations for these customers progress, we will communicate the results they achieved.
The customer base of TrustBuilder has certainly broadened into more industries.
Frank: Traditionally, TrustBuilder was very strong in financial services: retail banks and insurance. Financial services are still an important industry for Identity and Access Management. But other verticals such as education, rental business, and other services companies also see the need to grow their digital channels. And with that comes a need for robust Identity Management to afford customers safe and customer-friendly access.
Exciting times ahead
What does the crystal ball say about 2023?
Frank: The economic climate is uncertain, which makes companies averse to big investments. Companies are taking a more conservative approach. But I don’t expect that will slow down the IAM market. Enterprises are looking for new sources of revenue. This means opening up new channels to deliver services to their customers. As these channels are increasingly digital, this brings new opportunities for IAM. Don’t forget that IAM is a key enabler in securing these digital channels. We are really at the heart of all new developments at existing and new customers.
What trends are important to IAM in 2023?
Frank: I see four main trends. Anything around identity becomes more mature. Everyone has a certain identity that takes part in different capacities in multiple digital ecosystems. Again this is the persona story. We make identity management easy for companies where some business customers now have up to seven different accounts. That’s a management nightmare. Secondly, companies are struggling with phishing and fraud detection. IAM plays a key role there, by verifying identities and detecting anomalies. Thirdly, there is an evolution where devices are also becoming important. In the ecosystem of the future, you not only have applications and people but also things that need to be identified. Just think of autonomous cars, for instance, or air-conditioning units or charging stations. People need access to these devices, but each person will have different access rights to these devices. That is definitely an emerging market for IAM.
And a fourth evolution I see is anything around Self-Sovereign Identity. There is a growing trend that the user reclaims ownership and management of their identity, rather than having this handled by Identity Providers. That is certainly something we are keeping an eye on.
2023 will also be a milestone for the organization.
Frank: Last year we became part of a larger entity and in 2023 we will work on the full integration of the company. We will operate as one unit with one product platform, which means we will merge the installed bases of the companies, creating new opportunities. Once that integration is accomplished, we can also think about the next steps in our buy-and-build strategy.
Making TrustBuilder a great place to work
You joined TrustBuilder three years ago. If you look back on that period, what are you most proud of?
Frank: When I joined the company, there was some uncertainty about where the company should be heading. The company was evolving from a services company to a product company and needed new impulses. Over these three years, the company has grown and doubled its recurring revenue. And with the financial injection of Essling Capital, we now have a solid financial base that will allow us to build out the TrustBuilder platform as the backbone for a larger international entity.
I think that we created a positive atmosphere in which everyone believes in the strength of the company and our solutions. We have strong corporate values (Commitment, Collaborate, Celebrate) that are supported by the entire team. As a result, we can grow the company through our networks, and our employer branding,… TrustBuilder has really become an attractive employer, even in the war for talent that we are experiencing now. It gives me a lot of satisfaction that everyone in the company is now telling the same story, and that everyone now embraces the same strategy. That took longer than expected, and the Covid 19 lockdowns are partly to blame for that.
What is your personal ambition for 2023?
Frank: We have built a product offering that is appealing. Now is the time to market our vision, and I expect a positive uptake, driven by the ‘one platform’ idea. Personally, I look forward to spending more time thinking about the long-term strategy of the company. And, privately, it is my ambition to run a half marathon in 2023. I am probably repeating myself. I may have said the same thing last year, but I really want to make it happen in 2023.
We’ll remind you of that in our interview at the end of 2023….