The term ‘digital transformation’ is often difficult to define, but essentially encompasses the current trend of businesses evolving their working practices and processes to meet the ever-changing demands of their customers, partners and employees.

With customers wanting things quicker, more seamlessly, and on any device of their choosing, traditional practices can cause frustration, failure and even loss of custom/talent. Businesses need to update their offerings to ensure they’re keeping up against the competition, or risk the consequences.

With cloud, mobile and social platforms now driving the enterprise, utilising new technology has never been more important, or financially relevant to businesses. Digital transformation enables businesses to create a flexible agile infrastructure to respond quickly to opportunities in the market, but what many business leaders don’t realise, is how integral identity and access management is to this journey.

Putting identity at the heart of transformation

With users – both internal and external to the business – looking to access applications, portals, data bases and content across various devices from multiple locations, the need for seamless and secure access management is critical. The right people need to be gaining access to the right things at the right time. It’s for this reason that identity has to play a central role in the digital enterprise. Unless access starts with the ‘who’, how can a business know for sure that those gaining access to sensitive company intellectual property have the authority to be doing so?

When an employee leaves your organisation, or a partner chooses to go in a new direction, how long does it take your company to remove their log-in credentials from the system? If you don’t know, I’d strongly recommend you find out.

It’s not to say that everyone leaving your organisation is set on corporate espionage, or selling your company IP to the highest bidder, but consider all the log-in credentials they currently have access to, and what information that access allows. They no longer need to be on premise to access corporate information – your digital transformation project has enabled that – so any flexible working policy needs to be backed up by secure access management practices. Any access to the corporate system should be carefully managed to avoid putting the company at risk, no matter where the employee, partner, or customer resides.

Customer identity is also at the forefront of many digital transformation initiatives helping to improve customer engagement and delivering personalised data privacy preferences. Poor customer experience can result in damage to your brand or expose the organisation to security risk.

This alone should be enough to make the board sit up and take note. Providing access routes that align to users’ needs is incredibly important, but not securing these routes could be business suicide and no one wants to lose out to the competition.

Connecting the dots for successful transformation

Ensuring the right identity security measures are implemented not only ensures seamless transition on the digital transformation journey but also ensures continued employee productivity.

It’s key for any digital transformation project to consider all elements of the business network, rather than each in silo. In order to expedite a digital transformation process, any solution must successfully connect to mobile, web, on-prem and IoT connected devices. Unless customers are provided with a secure and seamless experience to access the apps that they need to do their jobs – whether on-premise, or otherwise – the engagement will be minimal and the project will fail. Whether in the form of discontented employees, frustrated customers and partners, any barrier standing in the way of productivity will be of interest to the board.

As such, any digital transformation strategy needs to be undertaken with identity management at the heart of its plans. Without this critical building block a project can easily fail, with the repercussions being potentially devastating to a business. In order to thrive and survive in the digital era, identity is integral – ignore it at your own risk.


 By Phil Allen, VP EMEA, Ping Identity

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