Emerging from the depths

It has been quite a while since my last post. The period coming out of Catalyst is always busy, as it tends to generate a lot of good discussion that starts influencing the work we are doing. I have been neck deep in discussions over the future of our product offerings, so this has been the first chance for me to come up for some air. Take it as an indication of how much work we are doing at Oracle to solve your identity management needs.

Though late, thought I would share some of my thoughts on this years Catalyst conference. The week always generates interesting dialogue about what is going on and where the industry is (and more importantly, should be) heading. As expected, a lot of attention in the IdPS track was devoted to user-centric identity. However, two sessions that impressed the most were ones that tried to slow down the juggernaut that is user-centric identity by asking some extremely relevant questions.  These were Mike Neuenschwander’s session on “Thinking Outside the Domain”, and Bob Blakley’s talk on “Idenity and Community in Human Society”. The latter was particularly though provoking in how, by applying principles of social and corporate behavior onto the discussion around digital identity, he came to the conclusion that an identity metasystem comprised of identity providers is actually a bad thing. Instead, he proposed, what is needed is a meta-identity system, in which a new player is the Identity Oracle (loved his choice of name) that aggregates identity data much like a provider; but instead of becoming a distribution center for that data, it becomes a service that provides metadata to the parties that need it, without passing on the actual data. This makes the identity data an asset for the oracle, and therefore incents it to protect it (unlike the identity provider model), something that is missing in all current metasystem models. Excellent stuff.

Oracle’s hospitality suite at Catalyst was a big success, drawing in the crowds that were interested in seeing what we are doing. It was also my first chance to see everything on our IdM portfolio in one room. I managed to spend a lot of time discussing IdM in general, and enterprise IdM in particular, with some very smart people, and left with quite a few ideas and a lot more questions in my head.

Some of the recent discussion in the identity world has been focused on a topic I have spent considerable amount of time mulling – what exactly is user-centric identity, and how does it apply in the enterprise. I will be posting the thoughts and findings about that discussion here in the coming days and weeks.