Thursday, July 15, 2010

I have nothing to show after spending $7M and they’ve asked for $20M more…

Let that sink in for a second. This is what a customer said to me regarding their failed IDM initiative. You can imagine the look on my face when he said that. No, it’s not the first time I’ve heard an IDM horror story of that magnitude. I’ve heard of a few bigger ones. But just the same, it’s incredible. The customer didn’t want to go into a lot of details about what happened but here are a few things he shared with me. He reports to the CIO so while quite senior he’s not real technical:
  • I fired all of their consultants when I realized I knew more about Active Directory than they did. I asked him if that was because the consultants were 3rd party partner consultants or if they were from the IDM company. He said “from the IDM company”. To me, this was incredible. These guys still do not know that Active Directory isn’t just an LDAP directory? That it’s more than data – it’s Exchange, it’s SharePoint, it’s OCS, etc?
  • When they acquired a company they migrated the people and data from the merged company’s Active Directory forest into their Active Directory forest. When they did that they restructured Active Directory and the IDM product stopped working. Everything was hard-coded to the previous structure of Active Directory. That was a several million dollar “re-do” right there.
  • The product was “free”. So it was attractive to management. It was also picked by looking at the Gartner magic quadrant. If it is in the top-right hand quadrant it had to be good, right? I guess it wasn’t the “magic” he was expecting.
We could all arm-chair quarterback this deal. Why doesn’t he kick them all out now and start over? Why did he let it go on this long? Who knows?

All I can say is it has always been my goal to get to a point where customers do not have to spend millions upon millions of dollars to implement an identity and access management solution. This is something many of us at Quest Software have been working on for a long time now. The acquisition of ActiveEntry from Voelcker is one of the steps forward in that strategy. I want customers to remember Quest as that company that helped them realize their identity and access management vision without costing them their careers.

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1 comment:

Mark said...

I learned a long time ago, eat the elephant in bites, and with IdM, understand the process you want first, then the code. I liken the way some of these projects go to driving a car while looking in the rear view mirror most of the time. It won't end well...