You know there’s an awful lot of chat (Kim Cameron, Dave Kearns, Eric Norlin) going on about identity, meta-directory systems, etc., sparked by HP’s announcement on change of focus concerning their identity management product. Burton Group has been contacted by HP customers who report that HP is no longer going to seek new customers for its Identity Center product. There are even claims that ‘a meta-directory is ‘dead’.

It is the meta-directory that carries the function of identity management in an enterprise, and identity management will NEVER be dead. Take the UK health authorities that linking up their health records, what about the linking of DNA databases at the European level, etc.., to name just a couple of examples that come to mind.

It is just that identity management once a problem solely for the enterprise -and identity management products have been developed and geared towards this goal- has now today become everyone’s problem. You and me, your children, your neighbours, school teachers, it impact each one of us. As such identity management, what it is, what it needs to provide, has during the most recent years (last 5 years) has changed significantly. Those hardened directory engineers amongst us have become confused because of this, because we have not really got it yet, what has happened? The management of our Identity (not identity management) has grown its own set of legs and is running without us. We can have several identities, physical and virtual. Everything linked to our identity has the potential to impact our reputation. It is not that identity management is dead, it is just that it has changed, it is more than just meta-directories, although they still play a significant role behind the scenes.