Unlocking the Funds for Your IAM Budget
Highlights from Simeio’s September 2nd “Ask Me Anything Coffee Talk Series”
This week we bring you another valuable and informative Coffee Talk session. Last Wednesday’s topic was “Unlocking the Funds for Your IAM Budget.” The session hosts were Randy Fields, Director, Strategic Client Engagement at Simeio Solutions, and Bernie Pinto, Senior Program Manager, Global Security & Risk at Asurion. Here are some session highlights.
How do you justify the need for certain IAM tools and services?
It’s essential to put together a security plan to demonstrate the value stakeholders will receive for their money. They want to know if it’s really necessary. Will it help them lower costs through self-service password resets for service desk tickets, reduce onboarding cost and time, and deliver other benefits and enhancements? In other words, you need to prove the value by bringing in all stakeholders, not just IT and security. Talk with the various business units, understand their pain points, and help them know how the solution will help improve operations and achieve cost savings.
Universally, we see people buying tools thinking they represent a strategy that will solve their problem. Those of us in the IAM business know it’s about people, process, and technology. We can’t expect business stakeholders to understand what we are talking about when we focus only on technology features and functions, instead of business benefits. The most important word we need to articulate back to the business is value. How we provide that value is what matters.
Albert Einstein said he couldn’t understand the theory of relativity until he could explain it to his grandfather. The same holds true for understanding IAM projects and programs. They can be explained with two simple factors; business value and risk reduction. At Simeio, we’ve created a mapping of IAM projects and where they fit within the foundational and dynamic elements associated with business value and risk reduction.
Dynamic role management fits in the middle of this mapping, and for Asurion, this is what our call center customer solutions team desperately wants. They need to move their people around to meet the customer’s needs. The new IAM tool we are implementing today will enable them to make rapid changes, moving people within a few minutes. Because of this particular business benefit, they, along with other groups, are now huge supporters of our role in implementing the new IAM solution. With multiple departments competing for limited dollars, this is a massive win for us.
It’s important to come to the budget table early to present your case, so you don’t walk away with table scraps. Bringing the right people with you to support you and understand the solution’s value can significantly help you make your case.
When should you bring finance into the process to help make your case?
They should be brought in as soon as possible. At Asurion, along with procurement, finance is part of our team, and engaged with us from the start. They also need to understand the value proposition so they can move it through the financial organization.
Sometimes the meetings that get your funding approved happen without you being there. For example, the project lead may have a conversation with the procurement lead. If the procurement lead has been in the project meetings and value conversations with you, they become another critical source that can articulate the solution’s value. When procurement has a clear understanding of the value, they are in a much better position to negotiate through the project faster and get the most for the money.
How do you determine and validate the business value?
It starts by talking with the business people you are serving. I mentioned dynamic role management earlier as being essential for our customer solutions team. Talking to the role owners and the support and management people that run the different product groups and customer solutions will help you understand what they need and how they need it. Then you can take that knowledge back to your organization and justify the money you need, based upon their need. Relationship building with all the stakeholders is the key to making this happen. This also eliminates the perception that IT or the security team simply wants a new tool, when it’s really a strategic company benefit.
Justifying the value of a security tool like IAM can be applied if there has been a security event associated with privileged access. For example, where someone used a privileged account that was nefarious, or they should not have been able to access the account. Those incidents quickly translate to a justifiable reason to allocate funds to fix the problem.
The best way to get funding is to associate it with business value. For example, enterprise-wide single sign-on, or on-boarding process improvements, can serve as seed funding for other things that are not at the forefront. If the business doesn’t buy-in from a security perspective, you may get buy-in from a business efficiency perspective. But most of the time, it takes a security event to buy into the risk reduction portions of IAM.
If you bring up the business value without talking directly to the business people, you can’t know their pain-points. Only the business knows that, especially around on and offboarding. We translate things like service desk tickets from an IT cost. But nobody talks about the lost productivity on the business front-end when they have to place a service desk call.
What is your secret for relationship building?
For me, it’s really simple. Relationship building is about proactively meeting with your stakeholders. I’m not talking about emailing, texting, or calling them. I’m talking about actually having in-person conversations. Engage them in talks that may or may not have anything to do with the project. As you do that, you build more trust. They see that you aren’t just trying to get something from them. You need their support. And as you establish that relationship and trust, they will be there to back you up. Leverage these stakeholders when you are trying to justify spend, because they need that funding, too.
The meetings before “the meeting” are critical for success. It’s important to get all the stakeholders to buy-in before you go into a budget meeting. Also, look to your partners as resources. At Simeio, we work with clients all the time, helping them prepare presentations to justify budgets.
We’ve just touched upon some of the conversation. If you want to learn more, you can watch this, and other on-demand Coffee Talk sessions at https://www.brighttalk.com/channel/17142.
We hope you can join our next Coffee Talk where you can chat with IAM experts, ask questions and gain insights into how you can lower operational costs, and achieve greater security and privacy using IAM. Click here to sign-up.