TrustBuilder has traditionally been known for its access management capabilities. With the release of TrustBuilder 11, we have a renewed focus on the I in IAM – Identity. In these digital times, identity management is more important than ever. A good reason for another interview with TrustBuilder CEO Frank Hamerlinck.
Frank, congrats on the release of TrustBuilder 11 and the great new capabilities in the product. We will dive into some of these capabilities in a minute. But tell me first, why is Identity Management becoming such an issue?
Frank Hamerlinck: The digitalization of customer-facing processes has many advantages but has also created a lot of complexity. Often, people are interacting with the same company in a different capacity. Couple that with the need to deliver a great customer experience, and you get customers saying: “this is my unique identity, I want to use it in all my interactions with you”. People are done with having multiple accounts to access the same services.
And this is where personas come in, of course.
Frank: Indeed, using personas is the solution to role and account explosion, and simplifies life for both the user and the system administrators. We all witness account explosion in our private and in our professional lives. Imagine that you buying a newspaper or internet subscription as a private person, but also for your company. You will probably get two different accounts to access the same service. If you allow cookies, your browser will automatically log you in, so you will need to log out of one account and then log in again. That is not very user-friendly. A bank retail customer can also be the manager of one or more companies, and thus be a commercial banking customer. The very simplified assumption that software is built for B2C (business-to-consumer) or B2E (business-to-employee) cases is no longer valid. A person can be both a consumer and employee, but also a partner, a sales representative and so on… We think more of a business-to-identity world, where identities can have different personas, with different access rights.
One person = one profile
How exactly does TrustBuilder solve that conundrum?
Frank: The way we see it, you only have one user profile per person, regardless of the different roles that person plays. And the user can switch to a different persona when required, without needing to log in again.
Is TrustBuilder taking a technical lead in the market, in this respect?
Frank: I believe we are. We have built identity management from the ground up. We’ve focused on access management for a long time and I must admit that, a few years ago, we were lagging in identity management. For a couple of years, we have been working on it and adding identity management now means that we can look at the evolving needs in the market and adapt to the new dynamic of digital ecosystems. Our colleagues struggle with adapting identity management to the new reality, and we have now taken the lead. They will have to adapt, while we were able to start fresh.
Another strong point in TrustBuilder 11 is delegated administration. What purpose does that serve?
Frank: Delegated administration can be used both in B2B circumstances and in people’s personal lives. Consider this: what happens in organizations when the person responsible for the payroll is taking time off just at the time of setting things in motion to produce pay slips and pay wages? They provide their login details to a colleague and give them instructions on what to do. Not a safe way of operating, especially when they forget to change their password when they get back and their temporary replacement can continue accessing the system. With delegated administration, the payroll manager can grant temporary access, limited in time. After that period, the access rights are automatically revoked. That is a much safer situation. Another great advantage can be found in a B2B2X model, where one company (e.g. a payroll company) provides a service to people in other companies (e.g.to manage the payroll and benefits of the employees of those companies). Today, it is often the payroll provider that manages all those employees. By delegating the administration of the employees of a company to the company itself, not only the load on the payroll provider is decreasing, but also the quality of the data (and therefore the security) is increasing.
What use do you see in private circumstances?
Frank: Many families have dental or hospital insurance via an employer, and that insurance is managed by the employee. However, it would be very handy for the employee to also grant access to his partner so that both of them can enter cases for the family.
Identity management, personas, and delegated administration are on the rise. Is this a temporary phenomenon?
Frank: Most certainly not. We are all accessing more applications all the time, so the need for fine-grained identity verification and identity management will only increase. Especially as services providers want to build relationships with all their users. You see that in human resources, where HR services providers want to set up a relationship not only with companies but also with these companies’ employees. That way, they can continue delivering services to them, even after they switch employers. And the same applies to our private lives. Service providers want to have a connection with all family members, not just with the owner of the contract. Families have one subscription to movie streaming services, and each family member has their own profile. What happens in newly formed families, where children spend one week with their mother and the other week with their father? Currently, they are forced to have a profile for each location if they watch the streaming service on a TV set. Identity management based on personas can solve that. Being identity-centric means you know it is the same person who is a member of these two families. And you use that knowledge to deliver personalized experiences.
What will be the next trend according to you?
Frank: Well, this part of the industry is rapidly developing, so there will be many additional trends, but I believe that two parts will become even more important. Fraud is all around, and it is one thing to work identity-centric, but it’s also important to verify that identity. So that is why we have already added partner capabilities to our service catalog that allow us to check a person’s identity, including his background (like criminal activities, or appearance on any blacklists), using both eID or document-based identity proofing. A second trend is self-sovereign identity, the fact that a person can manage his own identity.
The strategic role of IAM
What does this say about the role of IAM?
Frank: I think these examples prove that IAM is no longer a technical issue, it has become a business enabler. Enterprises can use the functionalities of identity management and personas to build applications that enhance customer experience. We live in an experience society, and applying personas creates a competitive advantage for service companies. Identity management has an impact on how you onboard people and how you deliver services throughout the customer journey.
And what does it say about the role of TrustBuilder in the IAM market?
Frank: These last few months, we have signed up several new customers, who came to us specifically because of our persona functionalities. And analyst firms are giving us a thumbs-up for verified identity. I see that as a sign that our investments in identity management are paying off and that customers and prospects recognize that we are an innovator that caters to the current needs of businesses and consumers alike.