The identity management marketplace is getting crowded

Like a one-two punch, announcements this past week in the identity management space demonstrate how important solutions that marry directory-based identity solutions (LDAP and Microsoft Active Directory, for example) with social business tools have become.

Jive Software and Okta announced a strategic partnership that will integrate of Okta’s enterprise identity manage service with Jive’s work management solution. This opens up a direct path for companies using Jive to now connect to LDAP and Microsoft Active Directories without jeopardizing the security of corporate firewalls, and to allow the central management of user identities for Jive, as well as the provisioning of users via Okta.

Jive’s fall cloud release also includes a revamp social directory, providing users with a 360º view of employees, as well as surfacing social connections across the company network. Okta will be extending current identity capabilities to create a single repository of user profiles.

It seems that Salesforce wants to muscle its way into the growing marketplace for identity solutions that has been pioneered by smaller firms like Ping Identity and Okta, joining Microsoft, who launched Azure Active Directory earlier this year as an in-cloud version of its Windows-based Active Directory. Salesforce Identity is built on the Salesforce platform, and integrates natively with Salesforce’s CRM offering and other  tools, like Chatter.

The movement of users away from Windows desktop machines onto companion devices — like tablets and smartphones — as well as the emergence of cloud-based work management tools has quickly shifted the playing field away from LAN and Windows-oriented identity solutions. But CIOs are eager to avoid a proliferation of identity silos — although many have already fallen into that dark hole — and so we are seeing a very fast adoption of modern identity solutions that play well in that new world.

The centralization of identity and profile information — across applications and specifically across social tools — will be a real boon when that comes into general use. This is not just about the ease of provisioning — and deprovisioning — employees, but also a single point of profile management, so that users can project a single collation of interests, accomplishments, and current projects across different applications.

One last observation: the possibilities for organizations to find and analyze metanetworks — the social connections across the company mined from all the company’s social applications — has some real promise. And may lead — especially in large and dynamic companies — to a better understanding of employee sentiment, opportunities for cooperative work, and other wellsprings for innovation.