On 23 June 2009, CA launched a bid to win enterprises that currently use Sun and Oracle identity management products with a free transfer to its own products. This is timed to capitalise on the nervousness of Suns user base as Sun is close to being consumed into the Oracle fold. Coming just months after HPs surprising decision to withdraw from the identity management market, and Microsofts posturing to play a bigger role in the sector, the market place looks very different to the picture in early 2008.
Vendors should take advantage of the current turmoil
Identity management is expensive to implement and it interacts with business processes at several levels. There is a high degree of lock-in once an organisation has invested in it. The level of investment needed to deploy identity management suites has slowed the take-up of technology, even though it often gives substantial productivity and security benefits once it is operational.
Opportunities to capture existing users from a competitor are therefore rare. The market had already consolidated to a large extent, with the leading specialist vendors being acquired by the big IT infrastructure vendors. The exit of two of these big names from the sector creates a rare opportunity for the remaining vendors to expand market share. The market is now dominated by IBM, CA and Novell, while Oracle will no doubt ramp up its efforts once it has the Sun technology under its belt.
Identity management systems are founded on an enterprise directory, which is a universal component of enterprise infrastructure. Organisations that have not deployed identity management products rely on the limited functionality that is provided directly from the directory. Identity management suites add identity lifecycle automation, user provisioning and de-provisioning, role and group management, support for inter-organisation identity federation, and automation of other identity management processes. Microsoft sees an opportunity to build on the user base of Active Directory to become a more strategic business supplier.
Sun took a lead in this sector following its acquisition of Waveset. Traditionally Oracle has appeared to view identity management as an adjunct to Oracle applications. This may change going forward, but many Sun users will be suspicious of what the future holds. CA has been investing heavily in the identity management arena and has chosen a good moment to launch its bid. Specifically it is offering a free licence swap for organisations with Sun or Oracle identity management products to change to CA equivalent products, until March 2010. However, users will have to pay for CAs software maintenance, and of course deployment itself will require some investment.
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