Three reasons why buying an IAM platform is better than building one

Frank Hamerlinck
May. 12, 2020

In the early days of car manufacturing, every car was a custom car. It was built by hand, piece by piece and tailored until it was perfect. There were simply no two identical cars. Can you imagine this still happening today? Of course not. Yet, that is what is still happening with software development in many companies. While no one would argue that adaptation to an organization’s circumstances is desirable, using standard components to develop a solution is definitely the best option, for instance when implementing Identity and Access Management (IAM).



Illustratie Buy vs Build

The urge to build applications themselves has always been very pressing in IT departments, especially in financial services. Technology is viewed as a differentiator, as it can help to support a unique product offering. People thought the specificity of a set of banking and insurance services could only be dealt with by using software that perfectly respected the underlying business processes, rather than adapting companies’ processes to fit packaged software. Banks and other financial institutions grew huge IT teams to build matching monolithic applications.

More banks are buying IAM than building it themselves

Our society has changed, and differentiation in the banking sector no longer comes from specific, own products or channels. What matters now, are ecosystems where retail banks combine non-financial services with their own products to offer customers a one-stop-shop. Speed is of the essence now, and time to market has become the prime differentiator. That’s why we think the components of an IT solution should not be built, but bought, and integrated into the overall system, to gain time. One of these components is an Identity and Access Management (IAM) platform. Numerous banks have implemented homegrown IAM systems that are now showing their limitations. Fortunately, ever more banks are deciding to buy IAM software rather than continuing to build the puzzle themselves. We see three good reasons for this trend.

1. IAM helps build ecosystems seamlessly

Banks are building ecosystems of services to offer customers a central point in the decisive moments in their lives. Bank apps offer more than payments: they tie different services together. Let’s say you want to buy a ticket for a music festival. Why shouldn’t the bank also offer travel services to get there, and why not link to hotel services or other lodgings. All these services are connected through Application Program Interfaces (APIs) that require security services. TrustBuilder Identity Hub can secure all these APIs, not only on the edge, when the customer is authenticated for access to the banking app, but also between the APIs themselves.

2. IAM can help create user experience

Customers have grown very demanding, expecting easy access to their banking app, and convenience when performing financial transactions. Bank clients are tired of having to key in numbers in token devices and want to bring their own authentication (BYOAuth – Bring Your Own Authentication), rather than memorizing different user/password combinations for each bank. Better still, consumers are yearning for a passwordless future, where an iris scan, a fingerprint or any other biometric means suffices. Or where they can use an eIDAS (Electronic IDentification Authentication and trust Service) like Itsme or eHerkenning. And why not simply with a social login, through identity providers such as Google or Microsoft? For a bank, having to implement all these different authentication methods and identity sources is too big of a burden. That’s why TrustBuilder Identity Hub comes, as standard, with support for these authentication methods and identity sources. No worries about having to maintain or update a homegrown system to changing standards. With TrustBuilder, these connections come out of the box.

3. IAM decreases time to market

Building out an ecosystem, adapting to changing market conditions, supporting new ways to authenticate, that’s a lot of work for any IT department. Business keeps coming up with new initiatives that require airtight security. As these solutions need to be implemented in record time to beat the competition. Rebuilding a custom-made IAM platform or starting one from scratch will not be able to do that. TrustBuilder Identity Hub comes with an open architecture, and the use of Docker containers delivers fast and cost-effective deployment. What’s more, when you build your own IAM system, you need to update and maintain the application, including the multitude of connectors to keep your environment/architecture secure. TrustBuilder takes away this burden without restricting customers to a standardized business model. Financial institutions can still come up with unique offerings to their customers, but without the burden of developing and maintaining 3rd party applications and relations. Better still: our Workflow Engine offers a Graphical User Interface that allows of easy mapping of the user journey, and the addition of new use cases. Industry templates based on TrustBuilder’s proven experience in the financial services market, standardized workflow configurations and out-of-the-box connections, deliver built-in expertise for immediate use, and for reusability.

There’s a limit to the number of large-scale projects banks can undertake. Building their own IAM systems should not be on the list of priorities that demand attention from the board, Management and IT.

The core business of banks is offering financial services and an ecosystem of adjacent services. Ensuring these services are delivered in a customer-friendly and secure way is something that can easily be entrusted to a specialist in the field.

As co-founder of global trade management leader Porthus, customer experience platform NGDATA, and strategic consulting services company innacco, Frank embodies the entrepreneurial mindset. His 20+ years of ICT experience is complemented by his position as ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ at iMinds and coach at Netwerk Ondernemen.

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