Identity management: Fischer International
We've highlighted this fine company before so I was especially interested in what they were doing that was new and was keeping them in the forefront of innovation in the identity management space. Three years ago, we selected them because of their new approach to identity management, an approach they call federated provisioning. Did it work for them? You bet!
Visionaries at Fischer International told me that they had felt, until recently, ahead of their time. This is a recurring theme for true innovators and it poses its own set of challenges. However there have been some changes in the marketplace that Fischer anticipated and had the technology ready to address. One of the biggest is security as a service. We used to see this as the province of application service providers (ASPs), but no more. SaaS is going to become a staple architecture and the drivers have changed a lot.
In the old days, the big driver was - as it is now - cost. But countering that driver was security. I recall doing a security project for an ASP and its biggest concern was keeping clients out of each others' businesses. That hasn't changed. What has changed is that back then companies said, "Well, if they can't secure it, we won't do it." Today it's, "They had better do it. If they can't we'll go somewhere else."
The economic drivers are just too strong to allow SaaS to go away. Along comes Fischer International with a big piece of the picture: identity management in an environment that, being SaaS itself, fits right in. However, not only can the company provide a SaaS deployment, for those organizations that want to host their own cloud, an on-premise version is just as easy to deploy.
Early innovations, such as easy self-service, are still with them, although they are much advanced from their predecessors. Their marketing is just as innovative as their technology. For example, a service provider can OEM Fischer products, customize them and drop them into their own services seamlessly. Supporting both service providers and large end-user customers is a tough play, but Fischer International pulls it off without a hitch because the products are designed to support both paradigms.
AT A GLANCE
Flagship product: Fischer Identity
Vendor: Fischer International Identity
Cost: Starts at $8.20 per user
Innovation: Identity management services
Greatest strength: Vision. This innovator had SaaS pegged three years before it became a buzzword.