The ForgeRock Identity Summit London 2016

This week, the opulent Grand Connaught Rooms played host to the ForgeRock Identity Summit London. Situated in the heart of central London – steps from Drury Lane and Covent Garden – the venue has a history dating back to 1775. Over the years it has entertained society balls, politicians, royalty and the world’s most famous. And now ForgeRock, our customers, prospects and partners can be added to the Rooms’ long list of illustrious visitors. In fact, this year’s event was a sell-out: we were thrilled to welcome over 350 identity professionals from all across the European region – ForgeRock’s largest international event to date.


It was an early start for everyone but, bolstered by coffee and a hearty breakfast, the event got off to a strong start. Stuart Hodkinson, Regional Vice President for UK & Ireland officially opened the event before handing over to Robert Humphrey, CMO, who acted as MC for the day. Having established that Mike Ellis had been CEO of ForgeRock for ‘billions of years,’ Robert welcomed him to the stage for his keynote address. The main theme of Mike’s presentation was trust and the role of identity as a digital enabler. Ensuring that identity is at the centre of everything will deliver a superior customer experience and could mean the difference between being success or failure.

Mike was followed by Gartner’s Ant Allan for the first keynote talk of the day. Widely recognized as a prominent member of the IAM research community, Ant gave a presentation that centered on identity and access management in digital business. He spoke on how new business designs are blurring the digital and physical worlds (PokemonGo anyone?), asserting that because the future is perimeter-less, businesses will need greater agility to participate. “Identity can be an accelerator or an inhibitor,” Ant explained as he laid out his “bimodal identity” concept, leaving us with this prediction: “through 2020, 40% of organizations will suffer significant setbacks in several digital business initiatives due to misaligned IAM programs.”

Following Ant was a discussion between Mike Ellis and Albert Hitchcock, Chief Technology and Operations Officer Pearson, the world’s leading learning company. Albert explained how Pearson has significantly shifted its structure and focus over the last two years. The benefits of Pearson’s digital transformation are beginning to be felt, helping it become more capable of improving education in the world’s great developing economies.

Following this was a presentation by the BBC’s Phil Fearnley, head of the myBBC project and the BBC homepage. Phil asserted that “Identity is about knowing your customers better,” and described the myBBC vision as an effort to make the BBC online feel personal and relevant to viewers. With digital identity from ForgeRock, the BBC is creating individual experiences that the viewer controls, delivering the best of BBC content based on personal preferences.

We closed out the morning session with a panel discussion featuring Phil Clement, Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, AON Corporation; George Marcotte, Digital Go-to-Market Lead, UK & Ireland, Accenture; Emma Lindley, Founder, Innovate Identity. Led by Robert Humphrey, the discussion was a lively take on digital identity and its impact on business strategy. The quest for the digital customer is driving technology change across the enterprise: Gartner predicts that by 2017, CMOs will outspend CIOs on technology. Ms. Lindley explained that “identity is the necessary plumbing for digital transformation” as the discussion touched on the partnership between marketing and IT that is required to design a meaningful digital customer experience.

After lunch, ForgeRock SVP of Product Daniel Raskin gave an overview of the company’s solutions, and provided some insight into ForgeRock’s emerging cloud offerings. After Daniel, Eve Maler took the stage. ForgeRock’s VP of Innovation, Eve shared insights and lessons learned from active PoCs that require a new generation of privacy and consent. Eve explained how the emerging User Managed Access standard can be applied to authorization, consent, and delegation scenarios across a wide variety of sectors.

The second panel discussion of the day, led by Daniel, featured Steve Pannifer, Chief Operations Officer, Consult Hyperion; Mike Pegman, Head of Secure Service Design, Business Transformation Group, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP); and Adam Gwinnett, Head of Digital Architecture, HM Courts & Tribunals Service. There was consensus that the relationship between user experience and identity is critical in both the private sector and public sector. All three panelists shared lessons learned, as well as how to plan for the future of identity and the impact of the IoT.

After a short break, ForgeRock’s Simon Moffat, Wayne Blacklock, Jon Knight and Victor Ake provided a “Backstage Tour of Identity” – an exploration of the real-world challenges online businesses face as they grow to Internet scale. Covering the live deployment and configuration of components within the ForgeRock Identity Platform, the group walked the audience through platform capabilities including single view of the customer, social media registration, multi-factor single sign on, consent-driven sharing and IoT integration. Mike Ellis helped out (ok, stole the show) with some live electric guitar. Rock on Mike!

Closing out the day with a special keynote was journalist and author Kate Russell. Well known in the UK as the tech reporter with BBC Click, Kate explored the essential role of privacy and consent in a world where consumers are increasingly tech-savvy, and technology becomes ever more invasive. Referencing AirBnB and car-sharing services, Kate asked “what does your identity say about you?” In the digital world we can try and control the way the world sees us, but what we can’t control is how much trust people put in that narrative.

And with that, ForgeRock Identity Summit London 2016 was a wrap. Mike closed things out with a few closing remarks and the assembled room of identity and IT professionals retreated for some beverages and hors d'oeuvres. Well-deserved! Thanks to everyone from ForgeRock, our customers, partners and the wider identity community that came together to make the ForgeRock Identity Summit London our most successful event of the year. Onward to Paris!


Anne Hecht is Senior Director of Corporate Communications at ForgeRock.