Spotlight on Identity Industry Continues

News broke yesterday that identity management provider Gigya has been acquired by German enterprise software giant SAP at a reported valuation of $350 million. This announcement is yet another sign of the growing importance of Digital Identity Management, and that the identity industry continues to grow and accelerate. Just in the past 17 months, pretty much every major independent player in the identity space has announced significant news:

  • June 2016 – Ping acquired by Vista Partners
  • August 2016 – Ping acquires Unbound ID
  • April 2017 – Okta IPO
  • September 2017 – ForgeRock announces Series D funding round of $88 million
  • September 2017 – SAP Hybris acquires Gigya

Coincidence? Nope! What we’re seeing is that the wider technology community has realized that identity will be enormously important for supporting secure customer engagement across every important industry, as well as the public sector.

SAP's acquisition into the customer identity and access management (CIAM) market further validates the importance of 'identity' in a growing digital world. Putting the customer in the center of this world and providing them with additional services and access to deliver on the promise of IoT, a strategy ForgeRock has promoted for years, is why Digital Identity Management is one of the fastest growth areas in all of tech. We are entering a new era of digital maturity and companies, like ForgeRock, that can remain nimble in delivering new ways of customer engagement will remain leaders in this category.

Many press reports are pointing out that this deal was a quick way for SAP to position itself in the growing GDPR software market. As one of the acknowledged market leaders in digital identity solutions for GDPR we say to SAP...welcome!  The ForgeRock Identity Platform is uniquely designed to help address GDPR and other privacy challenges, offering a comprehensive set of end-user privacy capabilities that can help address many GDPR topics such as obtaining and proving consent, purpose limitation, data minimization, and data accuracy. Most crucially, it can support GDPR and other regulatory initiatives at the scale required for large consumer populations, and IoT business cases. At ForgeRock, we agree that GDPR represents an enormous opportunity, not just a set of IT challenges, and we look forward to helping our customers optimize their business for the new era of privacy.

Finally, I wanted to note that purchasing enterprise software can be a fraught, emotional journey for technology decision makers. The identity space was long dominated by industry giants like Oracle, CA and IBM, but it’s been the newer players like Okta, Gigya and ForgeRock that have more recently driven innovation, and have experienced the fastest growth. By buying its way into the space, SAP provides tremendous validation for CIAM, but it’s also likely to change the dynamic for decision makers who need to weigh the advantages of working with a fast-moving innovator vs. a slower-moving giant such as SAP. At any rate, the outlook for CIAM in particular and the identity space overall remains remarkably positive.

For more on SAP’s acquisition of Gigya:

Mike Ellis is Chairman and CEO at ForgeRock. You can follow him on Twitter @mikeellis100