What does the convergence of CIAM and IAM mean for customer experience?

Convergence of customer identity and access management (CIAM) into IAM strategies can be mutually beneficial for customers and businesses alike, especially with the right platform driving it

Organisations are always on the lookout for ways to better their customer experience, and this initiative is the gift that keeps on giving. So far, businesses have deployed chatbots, virtual assistants, voice technologies, and much more to better connect with their customers. However, innovating customer touch points should not eclipse the (arguably) most important aspect of their experience: security.

Recently, whispers have spread across businesses about integrating customer identity and access management (CIAM) into their IAM strategies, commonly known as CIAM and IAM convergence.

Back to basics

To understand how the two complement each other, a good start is to weigh out their fundamentals. IAM is a combination of technologies and processes that enable businesses to manage electronic and digital identities. Furthermore, IAM allows IT management to protect critical information from unauthorised visitors. Only those who meet the necessary role and competence criteria have access. Typically, individuals can be updated on an ad hoc basis. Furthermore, with IAM, sensitive data stays protected. Given the flexibility and simplicity that IAM offers, it has firmly rooted itself as a mainstream security solution.

CIAM is born out of growing customer demands. The gist of these demands are quite consistent: quick, reliable, and trustworthy service. Furthermore, customers want seamless, no-fuss experiences. CIAM enables businesses to better meet the demand of ‘hassle-free’.

CIAM is far more scalable than IAM, enabling you to manage well into the millions of profiles. Better still, it offers this scalability without impeding response time. This is especially important for companies that experience extreme peaks and troughs (think online flower delivery services nearing Valentine’s Day!). Also, CIAM can cater for authentication across multiple devices. To maintain that hassle-free air, CIAM enables customers to switch from one device to another mid-conversation with an agent, without re-authenticating or losing progress.

Moving forward with a platform

Recycling IAM for CIAM purposes is a common misconception. Rather, convergence is the right track. As already indicated, IAM falls short in a number of areas and, therefore, cannot deliver the customer service you wish for. Instead, organisations should consider working with the platforms available for optimal CIAM solutions.

Take Akamai, for example. This company recognises the value of CIAM not only for your customers, but for your organisation too. As part of their security solutions portfolio, Akamai’s Identity Cloud enables “centralized profile access management on a flexible SaaS platform built to scale, perform, and comply with regulatory requirements around the world.” Their expertise enables organisations to maximise value from customer profile data. In particular, the platform’s built-in dashboards offer real-time visibility into customer activity data – perfect for those who would like to better understand customer journeys.

Another platform spearheading CIAM is Okta. If their impressive and sizeable clientele is anything to go by, Okta can be relied upon for all of your CIAM needs – really, all of them. Okta have left no CIAM stone unturned, demonstrated in their wide portfolio of products. Their Identity Cloud keeps your workforce and customers’ interests at heart, simultaneously. This is achieved by enabling organisations to deliver a secure and personalised experience, with the emphasis that “identity is your control point.” Their product portfolio includes Single Sign-On and Lifecycle Management for employees and contractors, and User Management and B2B Integration for customers and partners. However, these tools are just scratching the surface of the myriad services Okta has to offer.

While CIAM puts the ‘customer’ in the IAM, Akamai and Okta ensure that your organisation are too at the forefront of its benefits.