The Economic Reality: Prudent IT Purchases Focus on Value

Like Kevin, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the road meeting with SailPoint customers and prospects. During these meetings, I have the pleasure of hearing firsthand perspectives on how companies are addressing immediate identity and security needs, while trying to survive a very difficult economy. Managing the IT infrastructure for the world’s largest companies is no simple task even in the best of times. And the current environment is making a tough job even tougher.

Budgets and staffing levels are reduced or best case flat, while IT departments have more on their plates. The most common theme I hear is that companies are looking for technologies that can create efficiencies while at the same time addressing governance, risk management and compliance needs. In short, software must pay for itself – and in timeframes under one year.

Based on these conversations, I believe there are three key capabilities that IT executives are looking for:

  1. Automation. Most executives know they are spending too much on IT audits and regulatory compliance, and the primary reason is their reliance on labor-intensive methodologies. I believe huge productivity gains can be realized by replacing manual processes with fully automated solutions. For example, identity governance solutions can help companies strengthen controls and mitigate risks while simultaneously reducing the time and money spent on repetitive processes like access certification and separation-of-duty (SoD) policy enforcement. That’s a win-win.
  2. Fast Deployment. Let’s face it, the days of massive 2-3 year software implementations are over. Companies struggling with the churn caused by M&A activities, massive layoffs, or audit deficiencies cannot wait years to see results. In today’s world, organizations are better off choosing technology that can be deployed quickly, in phases, so that progress can be demonstrated immediately. By reducing complexity and carefully scoping software projects, companies can avoid shelfware and build support for the adoption of new approaches.
  3. Hosting and Managed Services. Many of the executives I talk to are looking for ways to simplify the process of buying and operating software. New options like hosting, appliances, and managed services offer a range of choices that can reduce capital expenses, lower staffing requirements, and reduce the time it takes to get a solution up and running. Many organizations also embrace these options because they ensure that costs are more predictable and they lower technology risk.

Solutions that can deliver on these three areas, while effectively addressing the identity and security challenges that companies face, are seeing growing demand despite the economy. (Fortunately, SailPoint’s identity governance solution, IdentityIQ, falls into that category. It addresses security and compliance challenges within weeks, while creating efficiencies that can be measured and decreasing the total cost of ownership.)

The economy has definitely created challenges and caused a lot of stress in the IT world. But as I speak with companies, it’s refreshing to see so many executives focused on balancing near-term needs with long-term strategies. They understand that compliance and security demands are more prevalent now, and they understand the value of approaching IT risk management as an ongoing strategy that will have huge rewards for their companies.