Wrapping up the Inaugural Sydney Identity Summit

As everyone tuning into the Olympics this week has heard, August is winter time in the southern hemisphere. Which means cool, breezy days here in Sydney – perfect weather for ForgeRock’s first-ever Identity Summit in Australia. We had a perfect venue also in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Australia’s premier museum for modern art from the region and globally. MCA has a world-class meeting space on Level 6 of its art deco headquarters, a building that formerly functioned as home base for Australia’s Maritime Services Board, and on Tuesday morning that’s where we greeted our Summit attendees – a diverse mix of identity professionals from top brands and government agencies throughout the region.

ForgeRock CEO Mike Ellis kicked things off, providing a brisk 20-minute overview of how and why digital identity has become central to so many industries and life online in general. In short, Mike asserts, identity has become the centre of everything because customers are the centre of everything. More and more organisations are realising that creating frictionless user experiences are critical to their success, whether that’s measured by share of wallet, stronger brand or competitive differentiation. To enable omni-channel digital engagement, organisations require a single persistent view of the customer, and digital identity is the key enabling technology here.

Keynote Presentations

Immediately following Mike were our two keynotes: Graham Williamson, APAC Director & Senior Analyst at KuppingerCole; and Rachel Dixon, Head of Identity at the Digital Transformation Office of the Australian Government. Graham’s talk centred on how identity management and CRM strategies are converging, bringing us into a new age of Connected Customers. He pointed out that since these technologies are already in place, from the corporate point of view, it’s never been easier to understand customer preferences, to develop meaningful programs to suit individual requirements and to measure the results.

Rachel’s presentation was a highlight of the morning, as the Australia DTO is widely regarded as a leader among public sector entities pushing the envelope on using identity to securely extend better services to citizens. Rachel’s team has been engaged in a major project to create a genuinely whole-of-government identity solution for Australia, and among the key things they learned is that people don’t actually want a digital identity. They just want to get stuff done. Because the need for digital identity is contextual, it’s more important for government IT architects to watch how people do things, rather than asking them what they think. This is where good service design originates. Rachel’s team is approaching Australia’s identity challenges from exactly this standpoint – centred on standards, not guidelines. We’re looking forward to the public beta launch of the DTO’s identity solution, which is scheduled to roll out for individuals in July 2017.

Customer Case Studies and Executive Presentations

The rest of the day at the summit was given over to presentations on real-world implementations from ForgeRock customers, and updates on product and industry developments from ForgeRock execs:

  •    David Cook from SunSuper, one of Australia’s leading retirement finance firms, spoke on delivering winning customer experiences. David explained that Sunsuper’s vision is that security is, and always will be, front and centre of the customer experience. At the same time, organisations need to understand that passwords create a point of friction in the customer journey, and have a measurable impact on experience. Identity technology from ForgeRock is helping Sunsuper eliminate this friction from the customer experience.
  •    Bill Young, Government Enterprise Architect at New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs, gave a presentation on his organisation’s approach to privacy and identity, and their work with the ForgeRock Identity Platform to support multiple delegation and authorisation scenarios based on the User Managed Access standard.
  •    My colleague Andrew Latham, director of customer engineering ForgeRock’s Sydney office, spoke on identity’s unique role in today’s digital enterprise. Andrew provided Gartner strategic planning assumptions showing that where 5% of enterprises today employ mobile biometric authentication methods, that figure will rise to 30% by the end of 2016. Similarly, where 5% of organisations today use contextual, adaptive techniques with multi-factor authentication, that figure will rise to 35% by the end of 2017.
  •    Eve Maler, VP of Innovation & Emerging Technology at ForgeRock, gave a presentation that explored the government and industry factors that are driving adoption of new consent and delegation technologies like User Managed Access (UMA). Even as devices like smartwatches, in-home health monitoring and smart car technologies are changing the way we live, government initiatives on personal data privacy globally are seeking to constrain the ways in which private enterprise can access, manage and store this data. The answer, Eve maintains, is to place the power to consent to data sharing in the hands of the individual, and UMA is the mechanism to support that model.
  •    Oliver Lee, Software Product Manager, Identity and Access Management at TomTom – the global leader in navigation, traffic and map products, GPS sport watches and fleet management solutions – presented on how his company has used a ForgeRock solution to consolidate its digital identity processes. With ForgeRock, TomTom is providing single sign-on access to all its services across all devices, whether on a sports watch or a personal navigation device. Earlier this year, the TomTom identity project was recognised by KuppingerCole, as the “Best Consumer Identity Project.”

The day closed out with Mike Ellis hosting a roundtable discussing why identity is a critical element to enabling digital business, how to plan for the future of identity and the impact of IoT. Mike was joined by KuppingerCole’s Graham Williamson, Oliver Lee from TomTom, Steve Wilson from Constellation Research, David Cook from Sunsuper, and Digital Transformation Consultant John Dobbin.

Finishing Up the Identity Summit and Looking to the Unconference

We finished up with drinks and hors d'oeuvres on the deck overlooking Sydney Harbour – a great way to bring a successful event to a successful close. Discussion centred primarily on proposed agenda items for our Unconference, which was taking place the next day in the same location at the MCA, but in the Quayside Room, rather than the Harbourside Room. We’ll have a brief recap of that event on the blog soon – stay tuned.

View the Sydney Identity Summit session recordings and event highlights video!

Finally, many thanks to all who contributed to making our first Sydney Identity Summit a winning affair – the first of many to come, no doubt. Onward to London and Paris – the final two stops in our 2016 Identity Summit series.

John Donovan is ForgeRock Regional Vice President for Australia, New Zealand and ASEAN.