How Digital Identity Management Platforms Take Communications Services to the Next Level
The communications industry has been in a state of transformation for decades. Because of this, communications service providers (CSPs) are reinventing themselves to provide services that go well beyond providing telecommunications and network products. These new services offer an opportunity to gain a broader share of wallet by offering lifestyle services for consumers and enterprise services for businesses.
We are all familiar with CSPs offering media services for consumers and IT services for businesses. Yet, today consumers and businesses alike are increasingly dependent on interconnected ecosystems where communications, security, and trust are core tenants. In a world where leisure services (such as entertainment services) and mission critical services (such as ehealth and smart city services) are expected to be instantly available and ready to serve a user in a personalized and frictionless manner, CSPs are well positioned to play an increased role in those interconnected ecosystems leveraging their networks, brands, user insights, device insights, and convenience. Because of this, CSPs are looking for digital identity management solutions to help them in four key areas. Let’s explore each.
1. Know the customer: who they are, what they want, how they want it
CSP’s can use a single, integrated platform for digital identity management to create a simple, engaging, consistent omni-channel customer experience across all their products and services.
CSPs have a problem identifying' customers across their different services. This is because the business IT systems traditionally used to manage telecoms services are product / contract centric and not customer / user centric. As a result, customer experience in modern multi-play telco suffers because CSPs cannot connect the dots easily to identify customers across their various service systems, such as identifying that ‘Customer Xm' using the mobile service is also ‘Customer Xb’ using home broadband. Advanced digital identity management solutions help CSMs solve this issue by enabling a customer- and user- centric data model across multiple systems and services centered on the actual identity of the user and not a proxy for it, such as the customer account number.
To date, there are varying levels of maturity between CSPs on the issue of identifying customers across their different services as discussed above.Many have solved for digital identity at the single sign-on (SSO) level; however, in general the problem of keeping key customer attributes synchronised across various identity stores and applications remains unsolved. Couple that with how these attributes can be managed long term from a privacy and consent perspective, and CSPs have an additional problem that can only be solved by a modern identity and access management (IAM) infrastructure.
2. Be relevant right at the core of the converged digital entertainment world.
CSPs can become the trusted, ‘go-to’ custodian of digital identity for their customers access to the world of digital entertainment services across converging broadband, mobile, and video networks.
Entertainment services are the current competitive battleground in the telecommunications and media industry. Home Broadband, mobile network operators, ‘Over the Top’ (OTT) video and entertainment service providers and device manufacturers are converging in terms of their strategic aspirations. Consumers want seamless, easy access to entertainment services on any of their multiple devices according to their choice and circumstances. This ‘new world order’ is still shifting and forming; companies are merging, alliances are being created, and content distribution deals are being made. It is an uncertain world, and how/when/where money flows in and out of the ecosystem is also in flux. One thing is certain: Whoever controls user access and has a clear, consistent view of user identity will ultimately control the value chain. Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) enabling simple, secure, consistent authentication, combined with user consent and service entitlement is key to survival in this battle.
3. Help customers control their digital self
CSPs need to protect customers’ privacy, keep their personal data secure, and future proof their systems for the evolution of consent and data sovereignty.
CSPs take customer data security really seriously. A single customer identity management platform will reduce the 'threat surface area' for digital systems data breaches - something that best practice thought leadership on this topic features heavily.
Digital identity management is also particularly important with emerging data privacy regulations around the world that require companies to manage data at the individual identity level for consent, and helps CSPs and other organizations meet GDPR requirements such as the right to be forgotten. The flip side to consent is permission - digital identity management enables seamless connection between customer consent on the one hand, and entitlement to services on the other. Having a coherent single platform approach to digital identity management will enable CSPs to be ready for whatever future scenario evolves.
4. Monetize the digital identity of everything
CSPs can create entirely new business models by enabling people and organizations to securely access devices, control things, consume services, and use applications across the IoT cloud.
Identity as a concept isn't just about people - it extends to devices and things (IoT). CSPs face a future where they need to be able to associate people to devices, to things, and ultimately to services. They must also manage access across this technology landscape based on user entitlement, authentication, and consent. A core digital identity management platform is essential for authorization across this value chain.
So, how can you differentiate digital identity management providers for CIAM to address all of the above as well as meet the six digital transformation trends shaping business and society? Read How to Compare Digital Identity Management Providers for CIAM Within the Communications Services Industry and get industry relevant RFP questions to ask providers.
Blog Contributor: Johan Fantenberg
Who's Johan? He is an experienced technologist with a keen eye for emerging technologies and technology driven business opportunities. As a solution architect with more than 25 years of experience from the high tech industry he brings insight and innovation to ForgeRock, our customers and the digital identity market place. His career has seen him working with iconic companies such as Nokia, Ericsson and Sun Microsystems. In his spare time he enjoys punching holes in paper whilst wearing eye and ear protection.