The clouds have arrived. Whether public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud, enterprises are on-board with their transition to cloud. While cloud hype is still high, the move is clearly afoot and enterprises are quickly tapping into cloud services for all aspects of their business. However for most, it’s not an all-in play. So what does this mean for software executives? Here’s what I see coming in 2013.
In 2013 as enterprises adopt cloud services, they’ll require the ability to easily integrate with their on-premise infrastructure that has been built over a decade (or longer). As such, cloud companies will look at on-premise capabilities to have the hybrid cloud approach that gives enterprise IT the security and controls they need and a migration path to the future. The fastest, easiest path to this is through identity management integration, using standards that enterprises require for future-proofing and interoperability. Most enterprises today use Active Directory, Google or Salesforce as their identity directory, so software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers would be wise to build/extend their software with that in mind, and turn to identity standards for the fastest path to get there.
SaaS Excitement, SAML Requirement
Often what happens is an enterprise is interested in a SaaS solution that helps their workforce do their job faster, better, more efficiently etc. But as mentioned above, they have specific requirements for control and governance that demand integration with their internal identity infrastructure. It happens all the time. Then SaaS providers have to go back and 1.) architect their own SAML integration, or 2.) get re-directed to a company like Ping Identity to SAML-enable their software. The former can get quite costly, and focuses important development resources on activities not core to their business (seriously, most SaaS providers do not want to become identity providers). The latter route enables SaaS companies to focus on developing features and functionality that makes their products stickier and more useful for enterprise customers.
SaaS providers are getting the hint, and already in 2013 we’re seeing a significant uptick in them proactively adding SAML to their solutions. For instance, my company Ping Identity recently initiated an Application Provider Services Free Plan that allows SaaS providers to get their first customer’s SAML connection for free – and the adoption by SaaS providers took off. In countless conversations with SaaS providers, the desire to get SAML-enabled and expedite adoption by enterprise customers is a priority in 2013. Enterprises are demanding it, so SaaS providers are now, too.
Enterprise Compliance Driving Need for SaaS Provisioning and De-Provisioning
As noted, the enterprise is increasingly adopting SaaS solutions. However, on-boarding and off-boarding employees onto new apps can still often be a bear. Demand is high for provisioning APIs that help automate the process and subsequently is driving interest in secure single sign-on (SSO). As such, enterprises are starting to force SaaS providers to offer secure SSO to help streamline the on-boarding/off-boarding process. The reason? Compliance requirements. If SaaS providers truly want enterprise adoption, they need to understand the rules enterprises live by, and apply their software accordingly. Helping enterprise IT comply with regulatory compliance and corporate governance by tackling the identity issue is a sure way to expedite a successful sale, deployment and relationship.
Certainly there are more trends that will impact your software business in 2013. However, as we see more enterprises accept their cloud future and begin their journey, identity is the cloud’s silver lining that offers a quick path to enterprise adoption – and long-term customer value.
This blog will share insights, best practices and anecdotes of how secure cloud identities can shorten time to revenue for software companies, speed user adoption and increase application stickiness for increased long-term customer value. This blog will include primers on technology and standards while providing commentary on current events relevant to identity in the software business.