I had the same conversation 4 times this week. This isn't a complaint. It's an observation. It shows me that people are very afraid of IAM and Identity Management projects. They have been burned too many times by getting stuck in large, customization heavy, bespoke systems. So when we show up and tell them they can do things quickly and even economically, we get the stink eye. I've written here before about the Quest One Identity Solutions being modular. That modularity translates into flexibility that I've had a hard time convincing people about this week. It's not that they didn't believe the claims I was making, or the customer successes we were telling them about. Each one of them simply thought we didn't understand what they meant. "Maybe you don't get it. What we want is self service for *everyone* to manage their own identity data, delegate out those tasks, and let management do certification on a regular basis." I promise you, we didn't mishear what you said or misunderstand what it means. We are actually trying to tell you that we can do it in a few months time if you give us the right conditions.
The most entertaining was sitting with a C-level direct report. He had a document prepared by his staff with requirements. His job, apparently, was to negotiate with us and see what he could knock off that list and what they would have to customer code. I took the list, looked it over, asked some questions, and within 45 minutes I told him we could do it all with configuration out of the box. 30 minutes later he called in one of his senior staff members because he was pretty convinced I didn't understand the words on that sheet of paper. I also got the sense the he was starting to think he himself may have misunderstood them. He had been at another firm where he also headed up an IAM project from a managerial view and that had gone very long and over budget. So here he thought he had a vendor trying to sell him a bill of goods. 20 minutes later (and 15 minutes after our scheduled end time) his staff member was on my side and things went a lot smoother. It's funny, really. The other three this week weren't quite as drastic. But it was definitely the theme of the week.
The key was not to overcomplicate things. I didn't want to add too much at once. I am going to give them just the right technology they need as they need it. In this case, they have already done a lot of the harder work using many of our Windows Server Management and Migration tools. So there is only the IAM and IAG portions left. And since the environment is already rationalized to a large degree, it's going to be easy as pie to give him those pieces. And I don't need him to change a thing about his existing infrastructure. Of course, even if he had the hard work to do, we have technology to help there, too. And, of course, a partner ecosystem and professional services team to make sure the business and process side of things also gets the right attention.
I doubt writing all this here means I won't be having this conversation again next week. But a guy can dream, can't he?