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Is your IAM strategy missing the C?

Why customer experience is essential to (C)IAM success.

Ten years ago identity and access management (IAM) solutions were used almost exclusively to control access by employees and contractors to enterprise resources. IAM solutions were architected to prevent access by unknown parties to company data and systems, while allowing a limited set of vetted and approved users access based on their job roles. It's no surprise that customer experience wasn't high on the priority list for IAM strategies in those days. Customers weren't part of most IAM systems.

Today it's different. Business leaders are looking to enterprise architects and security and risk professionals to devise identity and access management strategies for their customers - not just their current customers but also for previously anonymous shoppers and prospects.  In today's environment - with more than half of all retail sales influenced online, with traditional industries from automotive to insurance transforming digitally, and with IoT devices set to outnumber the population - having a customer identity and access management (CIAM) strategy that takes customer experience into account is essential for competing effectively.

In their report Getting To Know Your Customers: The Emergence of CIAM, TechVision Research says, "For competitive reasons alone, it is no longer a nice-to-have, but a business necessity to invest in providing a secure, seamless and unified customer experience across multiple channels -- and the way to achieve that is through deploying the right customer IAM (CIAM) solution."

Competing for digitally-savvy consumers requires a fundamentally different mindset than managing identities and access for employees. The scale is much larger -- often millions of identities rather than tens or hundreds of thousands. You will have zero control over the devices and browsers customers use to access your site -- but you still have to deliver a seamless experience.  And unlike employees, consumers have choices, when confronted with a less than optimal online experience they will defect to your competitors.

In their March 2018 report "Build your Identity and Access Management Strategy", Forrester Research says:

With business leaders clamoring for better customer acquisition and retention rates, S&R pros say that customer experience across multiple delivery channels has become particularly important because today's empowered customers are less and less likely to tolerate cumbersome registration, login, and password reset processes -- processes that are often inconsistent across mobile apps, mobile browsers, and desktop browsers. If customers won't tolerate such poor user experiences, you can be sure that your business leaders won't tolerate it either because it is these experiences that reduce brand loyalty and customer retention. Consequently, S&R pros must constantly balance security with seamless access.

At Akamai, we have more than a dozen years of experience creating seamless and secure customer identity and access management solutions for the world's leading brands.  We've found that companies that prioritize customer experience as part of their IAM strategy can significantly improve conversion rates and customer satisfaction by incorporating registration, authentication and preference management tools that are designed to work across all digital channels. A solid customer experience strategy can also reduce unsuccessful password resets and help desk calls -- resulting in significant savings for customer service.

To learn more about how to  incorporate customer experience into your identity and access management strategy, download a complimentary copy of Forrester's report.

To find out how Akamai can help you achieve your customer identity and access management goals, contact our sales team.