It's not that the questions are wicked. He asks Dan Blum:
Would it be possible for you to figure out creative ways for others to observe the client/analyst dialog in a more public fashion? What would it take for you to start blogging more frequently?
Pat Patterson gets this one:
What would it take for you to get Liberty Alliance to embrace the WS-Federation specification? Having federation capabilities built directly into an operating system is liberating…
And for me:
I would love it if you could start talking about identity from a corporate perspective and not stay exclusively focused on consumer-centric identity. You can leave the consumer stuff to Dick Hardt…
It's true I've been dealing a lot with user-centric identity. But James, the future of the corporation will unfold largely in the virtual world. What will then be more important to a corporation that its relationships with its “consumers”? The lack of a reliable grid for dealing with the individual in the digital world is, in the big picture, the most urgent corporate identity issue of our time. That's one of the reasons I was led into the problem area.
The most important thing about the identity metasystem the way it creates a unified infrastructure reaching between the corporation (or organization) and the individual (aka consumer).
What are we going to have? One set of precepts that faces towards the inside of the corporation, and another completely different set that faces the outside? That doesn't compute, and my work on this blog applies to both sides of this boundary.
The whole evolution of business is towards a more open mesh of interconnecting organizations in which individual relationships are key. So empowering the individual within the organization will increasingly become the most important aspect of empowering the corporation. The dichotomy you propose is a false one.
One of the most interesting trends I've seen is that of enterprises “kicking their employees out of the firewall”. This isn't a good strategy in all cases, for sure, but I've seen a bunch of studies of companies that have slashed IT expenditures by treating their own employees as external individuals (factors of 10)! More than one of these just tell their employees to buy their own PCs outfitted with various programs ”off the street” and expense them back to the company – and still get order of magnitude savings. They only keep there line of business apps remain behind the firewall.
I'm not proposing this as a direction forward – simply reporting on trends I see.
Reliable identity-based collaboration between individual users which also integrates with organizational identity will empower them both the users and the organizations. Making progress on this front is the most important single thing we can do right now to help the corporations we work for benefit from technology. That is the big picture.
One key takeaway from your request is that I should explain where I'm coming from a lot better. On a related theme, I'm getting ready to spend more time on the challenges of being “the relying party” in identity transactions, so I'll try to build these notions into what I'm writing.
You probably know that metadirectory, self-management and provisioning of identities all form an interconnected cluster of passionate interests for me. Note to self: start writing about these issues too.