Partner Blog Series: PwC Perspectives - "Is It Time for an Upgrade?"

Is your organization debating their next step with regard to Identity Management? While all the stakeholders are well aware that the one-size-fits-all doesn’t apply to identity management, just as true is the fact that no two identity management implementations are alike. Oracle’s recent release of Identity Governance Suite 11g Release 2 has innovative features such as a customizable user interface, shopping cart style request catalog and more. However, only a close look at the use cases can help you determine if and when an upgrade to the latest R2 release makes sense for your organization.

This post will describe a few of the situations that PwC has helped our clients work through.

“Should I be considering an upgrade?”

If your organization has an existing identity management implementation, the questions below are a good start to assessing your current solution to see if you need to begin planning for an upgrade:

  • Does the current solution scale and meet your projected identity management needs?
  • Does the current solution have a customer-friendly user interface?
  • Are you completely meeting your compliance objectives? Are you still using spreadsheets?
  • Does the current solution have the features you need?
  • Is your total cost of ownership in line with well-performing similar sized companies in your industry?
  • Can your organization support your existing Identity solution?
  • Is your current product based solution well positioned to support your organization's tactical and strategic direction?

Existing Oracle IDM Customers:

Several existing Oracle clients are looking to move to R2 in 2013. If your organization is on Sun Identity Manager (SIM) or Oracle Identity Manager (OIM) and if your current assessment suggests that you need to upgrade, you should strongly consider OIM 11gR2. Oracle provides upgrade paths to Oracle Identity Manager 11gR2 from SIM 7.x / 8.x as well as Oracle Identity Manager 10g / 11gR1. The following are some of the considerations for migration:

  • Check the end of product support (for Sun or legacy OIM) schedule
  • There are several new features available in R2 (including common Helpdesk scenarios, profiling of disconnected applications, increased scalability, custom connectors, browser-based UI configurations, portability of configurations during future upgrades, etc)
  • Cost of ownership (for SIM customers)\
  • Customizations that need to be maintained during the upgrade
  • Time/Cost to migrate now vs. waiting for next version

If you are already on an older version of Oracle Identity Manager and actively maintaining your support contract with Oracle, you might be eligible for a free upgrade to OIM 11gR2. Check with your Oracle sales rep for more details.

Existing IDM infrastructure in place:

In the past year and half, we have seen a surge in IDM upgrades from non-Oracle infrastructure to Oracle. If your organization is looking to improve the end-user experience related to identity management functions, the shopping cart style access request model and browser based personalization features may come in handy. Additionally, organizations that have a large number of applications that include ecommerce, LDAP stores, databases, UNIX systems, mainframes as well as a high frequency of user identity changes and access requests will value the high scalability of the OIM reconciliation and provisioning engine.

Furthermore, we have seen our clients like OIM's out of the box (OOB) support for multiple authoritative sources. For organizations looking to integrate applications that do not have an exposed API, the Generic Technology Connector framework supported by OIM will be helpful in quickly generating custom connector using OOB wizard. Similarly, organizations in need of not only flexible on-boarding of disconnected applications but also strict access management to these applications using approval flows will find the flexible disconnected application profiling feature an extremely useful tool that provides a high degree of time savings. Organizations looking to develop custom connectors for home grown or industry specific applications will likewise find that the Identity Connector Framework support in OIM allows them to build and test a custom connector independently before integrating it with OIM.

Lastly, most of our clients considering an upgrade to OIM 11gR2 have also expressed interest in the browser based configuration feature that allows an administrator to quickly customize the user interface without adding any custom code. Better yet, code customizations, if any, made to the product are portable across the future upgrades which, is viewed as a big time and money saver by most of our clients.

Below are some upgrade methodologies we adopt based on client priorities and the scale of implementation. For illustration purposes, we have assumed that the client is currently on Oracle Waveset (formerly Sun Identity Manager).

 

Integrated Deployment: The integrated deployment is typically where a client wants to split the implementation to where their current IDM is continuing to handle the front end workflows and OIM takes over the back office operations incrementally. Once all the back office operations are moved completely to OIM, the front end workflows are migrated to OIM.


Parallel Deployment: This deployment is typically done where there can be a distinct line drawn between which functionality the platforms are supporting. For example the current IDM implementation is handling the password reset functionality while OIM takes over the access provisioning and RBAC functions.

Cutover Deployment: A cutover deployment is typically recommended where a client has smaller less complex implementations and it makes sense to leverage the migration tools to move them over immediately.

What does this mean for YOU?

There are many variables to consider when making upgrade decisions. For most customers, there is no ‘easy’ button. Organizations looking to upgrade or considering a new vendor should start by doing a mapping of their requirements with product features. The recommended approach is to take stock of both the short term and long term objectives, understand product features, future roadmap, maturity and level of commitment from the R&D and build the implementation plan accordingly. As we said, in the beginning, there is no one-size-fits-all with Identity Management. So, arm yourself with the knowledge, engage in industry discussions, bring in business stakeholders and start building your implementation roadmap.

In the next post we will discuss the best practices on R2 implementations. We will be covering the Do's and Don't's and share our thoughts on making implementations successful.

Meet the Writers:


Dharma Padala is a Director in the Advisory Security practice within PwC.  He has been implementing medium to large scale Identity Management solutions across multiple industries including utility, health care, entertainment, retail and financial sectors.   Dharma has 14 years of experience in delivering IT solutions out of which he has been implementing Identity Management solutions for the past 8 years.


Scott MacDonald is a Director in the Advisory Security practice within PwC.  He has consulted for several clients across multiple industries including financial services, health care, automotive and retail.   Scott has 10 years of experience in delivering Identity Management solutions.


John Misczak is a member of the Advisory Security practice within PwC.  He has experience implementing multiple Identity and Access Management solutions, specializing in Oracle Identity Manager and Business Process Engineering Language (BPEL).


Praveen Krishna is a Manager in the Advisory Security practice within PwC.  Over the last decade Praveen has helped clients plan, architect and implement Oracle identity solutions across diverse industries.  His experience includes delivering security across diverse topics like network, infrastructure, application and data where he brings a holistic point of view to problem solving.


Jenny (Xiao) Zhang is a member of the Advisory Security practice within PwC.  She has consulted across multiple industries including financial services, entertainment and retail. Jenny has three years of experience in delivering IT solutions out of which she has been implementing Identity Management solutions for the past one and a half years.

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Oracle Identity Management is a complete and integrated next-generation identity management platform that provides breakthrough scalability; enables organizations to achieve rapid compliance with regulatory mandates; secures sensitive applications and data regardless of whether they are hosted on-premise or in a cloud; and reduces operational costs. Oracle Identity Management enables secure user access to resources anytime on any device.

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