Predictions for 2010: The IT World Has Changed (for the Better)

Despite the economic challenges, this has been a record year for SailPoint as we’ve doubled our customer base and expanded into Europe and APAC. As we look forward to 2010, we have been reflecting upon the recession and how it will impact next year – particularly in regard to how companies consume, purchase and view technology. With that in mind, I offer the following four trends and predictions for 2010:

1. Cautious Investment Strategies Will Remain. The tough economy has made buyers more selective about how they invest in software solutions. The constricted budgets and constrained resources of 2009 in many cases brought clarity to project prioritization. CIOs have become more discriminating customers who want results quickly and who expect a solid near-term return on investment. Particularly in the identity governance space, companies expect to have full visibility and control over access privileges in months, if not weeks, with measurable results along the way. Even if companies enjoy larger budgets next year, CIOs will continue to be laser-focused on solutions that provide immediate, measurable results.

2. The Compliance Burden Will Grow. Compliance, transparency and risk management will remain top priorities for global companies. Everyone agrees that as fallout of what transpired in the financial markets in 2008, even more regulation is on the way, not less. The Model Audit Rule, which effectively requires SOX-like compliance for non-public insurance companies, takes effect on January 1st. Part of Obama’s stimulus package included the HITECH Act in healthcare, which effectively adds more “teeth” to HIPAA by requiring companies to disclose any privacy breaches. And most recently, the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2009 passed a major hurdle and will be voted on by the Senate. Clearly these are US-only examples, but companies around the world are going to be bombarded with new requirements and more stringent rules.

3. Identity Management Will “Grow Up.” As a result of the growing focus on governance and compliance, organizations are starting to view IdM as more of a business-centric discipline than an IT-only domain. IdM processes can no longer be the exclusive realm of identity admins and help desk staff. To ensure compliance initiatives are successful, organizations must get business users involved in the process. It is the business user, after all, who has the most accurate knowledge of who should doing what with which applications and datasets. Collaboration is required across teams of business, audit/compliance and technical staff. As a result, there is a growing need for IdM solutions to evolve into business-friendly solutions to better manage IT and business risk. The IdM market will see more business process management (BPM) functionality in the coming year and will begin delivering business intelligence and decision support solutions.

4. Identity Governance Will Energize the IdM Market. As I’ve said many times, I believe the recession has served as a catalyst in IdM’s evolution – both by elevating the importance of transparency and risk management, as well as increasing corporate focus on rapid results and return on investment. I believe our industry is now at an inflection point where companies are starting to rethink how they approach IT risk management and what they expect from technology vendors. As identity governance technology matures, innovative startups will completely disrupt the IdM space by bringing a level of intelligence and risk management that is of high value to the business. We’ll see a few dinosaurs try to evolve, but this race will be a fast one and we’ll see if they can keep up.

How do you think 2010 will differ from 2009 in the IdM market?