Having witnessed plenty of RFIs and RFPs in my career there seems to be something fundamentally wrong with the way many enterprises go about shopping for an Identity Management solution. Customers simply look and compare features and product requirements rather than looking at the actual process requirements and the business challenges they are trying to solve and map it to the capabilities of a vendor.
A process whether manual or automated within an enterprise captures very specific knowledge possessed by domain experts and provides a structure to which a series of activities will take a process from initiation to a well defined delivery output or end point. These processes typically slices through both IT systems, IT people and the Business The key to successful Identity Management deployments is to describe, define and implement these processes; not only to capture the structure but to be able to audit and monitor the flow as well as allow an enterprise to automate as much as possible that does not require explicit manual approvals or manual interventions. Having said this, of course integration to various systems and other technicalities still must be resolved, but this technological obstacles most vendors can deal with one way or another.
OpenIDM recognizes these processes as the most critical component of a Identity Management solution which is why it needs to be flexible, adapt to industry standards and provide good tooling to design, implement and manage the life-cycle of such a process. BPMN 2.0 builds on the success of BPEL but without going through WS-BPEL and although being many vendors on the market for BPEL engines, BPMN 2.0 has started to pick up speed. The standard itself is managed by OMG (well not O’ My God – but The Objects Management Group), and for the interested reader more details could be found here: http://www.omg.org/spec/BPMN/2.0/. One of the more exiting BPMN 2.0 projects is the Open Source project Activiti which Alfresco is leading together with other community members. The Activiti project aims at being a light-weight workflow and Business Process Management (BPM) system targeted at both business people and IT guys, and with keywords such as super-fast, rock-solid, scalable and open source this fits very well with the strategic path OpenIDM is taking. More information on the Activiti project can be found here: http://www.activiti.org.
OpenIDM 2.0 already contained an experimental embedding of Activiti and our next release 2.1 will contain a productized version of this embedding to deal with virtual all of your process needs. Start to think Process rather than technicalities when “gone shopping for IdM solution!”.