iPhones and Enterprise Identity Management

this blog posting, I spent some spare time putting together a native application for the iPhone that connects to some of Oracle's internal people and social networking sites.

So far it's been pretty popular. This isn't a surprise. Enterprises have always found that white pages applications are their top internal destination on intranets, so why should it be surprising that mobile applications that can access this information would be a top draw for employees.

Many people didn't initially see the link between what I was doing and enterprise identity management. After all, social networking and white pages look like an application, neither of which tend to be associated with Identity Management and the security-focused spin that has been placed on it recently.

I actually wrote the application in part to make it very clear that the Identity Management industry as a purely compliance and security segment is touching on only a very small part of the overall value of identity management. This is, of course, something Oracle has been saying all along with our messaging related to Application Centric Identity.

To make this simpler to understand, let's look at what you need to recreate the iPhone application I wrote:


  1. iPhone SDK - Or just write a Web App
  2. Web SSO - the client needs to authenticate, right?
  3. Directory - these users belong somewhere...
  4. HR System - need strong self-service and integration with the rest of the platform
  5. Provisioning - you're not making users sign up for their own accounts, right? Also handles private groups and other key enterprise memberships out-of-the-box.

And optionally:


  1. Role Management/Mining - Wouldn't it be great if you could seed some of the initial relationships by mining for existing relationships?
  2. Virtual Directory - Did all of this information come from the same place? Your phone's bandwidth is low and latency is high, so you'll want to avoid multiple requests.

With the exception of the client SDK itself, all of this technology is available from Oracle. In fact, large chunks of this technology are probably already in place and ready to use as the basis for your own applications.

Just as importantly, aside from the security provided by Web SSO, almost every component above is really focused on the enablement of the application, rather than just the security of that application. If you think about it, this is what identity management has always been about...

Identity Management is not about denying access, it's about enabling access and sharing identity so that people can take advantage of the collaborative capabilities offered by today's networks and applications.

If you want to understand how mobile technology can take advantage of your enterprise identity infrastructure, let's talk further.

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This is Clayton Donley's official blog. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Oracle.

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