Alexandra Teachout
January 12, 2024

Improving business outcomes

Where modern architecture principles meet identity-first perspectives

Improving business outcomes

For those of us who have been working on the IT and enablement side of the business, we have long known the excitement around the possibilities of creating new models, products and applications with the pool of data sitting at the organization. Now that the efficiency gains of using big data in Large Language Models (LLMs)  have been shown to our colleagues on the business side, they are starting to understand the possibilities as well. If you can query the data of the web to find answers, why in the world do we struggle to query the data at our own organizations to understand the full picture of a customer experience, for example.  If the organization collectively shares an enthusiasm regarding what we can do, we must collectively share responsibility for solving it, right? 

These types of answers are always nuanced  because both the business and data landscape are complex and there are no simple fixes. There is also another challenge facing us - our understanding of the problem and the language that we use to communicate across business silos. There is clearly a divide but there could be an easier playbook that you have yet to uncover at the organization that requires borrowing some thinking from your colleagues in Identity and Access Management (IAM).  It is smart to understand both their perspective on how the world works and the risks they see to implementing better solutions. It is the concept of approaching the problem from the identity-first perspective. 

An identity-first perspective

In order to deliver exceptional customer experiences, the customer must come first. Knowing who your customers are, why they are here, and what they need now are critical data points for designing delightful journeys, building brand trust and ultimately increasing revenues. The context, relationships and connections surrounding the customer contribute significantly to the richness of our understanding. 

One of the main blockers you may face adopting a customer-first strategy is the perceived risk of using customer identifying data. The protection and preservation of customer data is top of mind for your IAM colleagues, a data breach is costly in terms of compliance fines but even more damaging to brand and customer trust. 


Getting the terminology straight

From the technology perspective, an identity can be seen as an entity that uses, relies on and produces its own set of data. An identity is a protected entity, it needs to authenticate itself and is authorized to do certain things. 

From the business perspective, identity-first means putting the customer at the heart of all interactions. This definition is intuitive when we think about human customers, but the same concepts can be applied to non-human entities. When we know our customers, have rich insights and visibility into how they interact in our ecosystem and with our products and services, we can better drive more customized, intelligent and trustworthy customer journeys. 

The challenges you will have to face to deliver

The main challenge driving complexity lies in the handling of data, in particular, the siloing of data throughout the organization. Lack of data visibility is a common, yet critical issue and remains the biggest challenge when it comes to delivering customer experience. While many organizations have taken steps to understand the customer, there is still a barrier to sharing, using and protecting customer data. Therefore, it is once again prudent to borrow principles from the Identity and Access Management world in the handling and using of this data to minimize the risk for your organization and maximize the potential. 

The challenges don't stop there. As a professional working on the IT side of the house, you are quite aware of legacy architecture, inflexible frameworks and point-to-point integrations hampering your organization.  The opportunity to embrace new data models that supercharge business goals is clear, the solution however is perhaps not so obvious if you haven't familiarized yourself with the identity world. 

A data fabric that includes identity systems data

The ultimate goal for an organization should be total interoperability of the data fabric - without the exclusion of identity systems data  - where a unified and holistic view of the customer is the starting point. Bridging the gap of data silos across the organization with an identity-first mentality provides a foundation of trust for solution creation that keeps customer experience at the core. 

To learn more about the topic, download the Whitepaper on Identity-first perspectives for modern architecture.


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