The ROI on IAM

Gartner: Automated identity and access management solutions can yield 300 percent return on investment

Stamford, CN  November 25, 2002  Enterprises can see significant returns on investment and millions in savings by implementing identity and access management (IAM) solutions, according to a new study by technology consultancy Gartner.

Gartner defined IAM solutions as applications for the automated provisioning of user accounts and access rights, extranet access management (EAM) and end-user self-service password reset solutions.

As an example of the return on investment (ROI) possible from IAM, Gartner said that a company with 10,000 employees can attain ROI of nearly 300 percent and savings of $3.5 million over three years by implementing an automated provisioning solution. User provisioning is the combined business and technical solution that companies use to manage user access to systems, Web and non-Web applications including accounts, access rights and the access request approval process.

"The majority of money saved through automated provisioning would come from head count reduction and productivity gains," explained Roberta Witty, research director for Gartner. "Included in the savings is a reduction of security administration hours by 14,000 per year and help desk hours by 6,000 per year."

EAM implementations also can deliver a high ROI, the study found. For a business supporting 50,000 external users, ROI of 375 percent can be achieved over three years. EAM is the technology companies use to control user access to Web-based applications including authentication, authorization and single sign-on.

A company implementing EAM solutions for 50,000 external users would save 24,000 hours per year in security administration and 17,800 help desk hours per year, according to the study. But the benefits go beyond just cost reductions, Witty noted. "EAM also drives improved user experience, improved service levels and security risk management," she said.

With EAM and user provisioning, the study found the volume of users and applications drives ROI benefits. Companies with a large number of users and applications would achieve a higher ROI and cost savings compared to companies with fewer users or applications.

The consultancy also stressed that the ROI on IAM depends on more than just software. "IAM is as much about business process management as it is about technical infrastructure management," said Roberta Witty, research director for Gartner.

Gartner Consulting conducted the multiclient study from June through October. Ernst & Young, Microsoft, Netegrity and Protiviti sponsored the study, which focused on understanding enterprise implementations of automated IAM solutions. The study included development of an ROI model and total cost of ownership (TCO) model.

For more information on electronic provisioning solutions, see "It's All About People," the Net Best Thing column in the February 2002 issue of iSource Business.