Saturday, December 15, 2007

HR and corporate identity management

I've followed the recent surge of debate on identity management with interest. Massive government data loss, new social network APIs, and gains for OpenID have shown the importance of identity management, and fundamentally changed its landscape.

Technology nowadays seems generally led by consumer markets, not enterprise ones. However, in the enterprise, many of the pieces are already in place, if unevenly distributed. For example, many corporations have purchased single sign on applications from the likes of IBM and CA. Similarly, HR suites from SAP and Oracle compete to automate the management of personal information, and most firms have a web-based corporate directory with people's contact details.

What's missing are the connections between these tools. The HR suite - Peoplesoft, for example - should contain the corporate directory. Employees should be able to go in and update details via the directory page about them. And this page should also define their Single Sign On identity, via OpenID.

In this picture, HR is identity management. A breath of Web 2.0 should hit monolithic HR applications!

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