Identity and Access is dead! Long live Identity and Access!

Identity and Access is Dead!  Recently Microsoft announced that its MPN (Microsoft Partner Network) Competencies are evolving. This could have been be passed off as “non-news”, because change is a constant in this industry, as any fule do know – except that amongst the changes is the retirement of Identity and Access.

This gave rise to a brief attack of existential angst in the identity and access community – of which Oxford Computer Group is a significant part – leading at least one blogger to announce the death of MIM (Microsoft Identity Manager) amongst other things.

To unpick the real message, we have to start with “What are MPN Competencies?” For marketing and other purposes, Microsoft needs a way of grouping together partner capabilities under a title which (hopefully) will mean something to customer and partners. From time to time they rethink these “competencies” – presumably in response to the changing marketing trends, and to suit their own aims.

It is largely a matter of nomenclature. Products and solutions which used to come under a particular competency might now find themselves under another. This can cause havoc with our messaging, of course – which is why there is an 18th month transition period – but it doesn’t say a great deal about the products that sit under them.

A new home for MIM

In this case, MIM will find a new home under Enterprise Mobility Management – and to my mind this is just as good a place. I suspect that as many people are confused by what that is, as were confused by “Identity and Access”.  Sorry, what I meant to say was that “Enterprise Mobility Management” may well be more meaningful to our potential customers.

More to the point, as pointed out in a response by Alex Simons, Microsoft’s Director of Program Management, Identity Division, they have “more engineers working on Identity and Access Management today (600+ across the cloud and on-premises) than we have ever had before at Microsoft!” So, no existential angst there.

As for MIM – well we have seen a significant uptick in MIM training this year, and a good pipeline of MIM consulting ahead (I draw from our experience in the US, UK, Germany and BeNeLux). And quite right too. Success in the cloud is underpinned by a well-engineered Identity and Access infrastructure – and that is usually a hybrid on-premises/cloud infrastructure involving MIM, AD, Azure AD and much more. You can call it what you like, but identity and access lives on.