Bloggers: Bob Blakley, Lori Rowland, Gerry Gebel
Burton Group frequently discusses the fiercely competitive nature of the identity management (IdM) market. This continues to be a consolidating market characterized by numerous mergers, acquisitions and vendor exits.
Burton Group has specifically commented on HP’s struggle to succeed in this competitive market. Burton Group’s Identity and Privacy Strategies Report, “The Identity Management Market 2007: An Expanding Universe”, Our Catalyst 2007 Keynote “Identity Management Market Landscape 2007: Enabling Security and Control Objectives in the Enterprise”, and our “Vantage Point 2007: Trends in Identity Management” telebriefing, all noted that HP’s ability to compete, mindshare, and market momentum has been in sharp decline.
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. We have contacted HP and the company confirms that HP Software has decided to focus its investment in identity management products exclusively on existing customers and not on pursuing additional customers or market share. HP is in the process of reaching out to each customer regarding the change. Last week Burton Group spoke to HP Software Vice President of Products Eric Vishria regarding this development.
Vishria explained that the Identity Center product line was not performing in this highly competitive market at a level that’s acceptable to HP, but added that the product supports the operations of a number of HP’s critical customers. HP has therefore made the decision to focus research and development efforts on existing customers only.
The company does have a respectable number of existing customers. HP is in the process of reaching out to these customers to assist them with their identity management needs going forward. HP also feels that Identity Center represents an excellent set of technologies. For these reasons, HP has decided not to declare end-of-life for the product. This means that HP will continue to provide technical support to existing customers and will maintain a development staff to make product enhancements based on needs of existing customers. Vishria did not specify how long this technical support and product enhancement will continue. However, he did acknowledge that HP had considered options including end-of-life for Identity Center, and had consciously decided against declaring end-of-life so as to extend support and development beyond the two years typically allotted for an end-of-life product.
HP’s decision is clearly a blow to the company’s current IdM customers and to anyone who was considering purchasing their products. HP’s commitment to current customers is commendable; this commitment obviously cannot be open-ended, so now is the time for current HP customers to start planning.
In view of HP’s decision, Burton Group has recommendations for existing HP customers, non-HP customers, and other vendors competing in this market.
First and foremost, current HP customers should not panic. HP has no intention of abandoning its existing Identity Management customers. Your first step should be to contact HP for clarification of the situation; HP is in the process of reaching out to all of its Identity Center customers, and you are undoubtedly already on their radar. Existing customers will, however, need to decide going forward whether they will stick with their investments or consider moving to another product. Even if the decision is to move to another product, HP’s strategy and commitment allows customers to exit in an orderly and timely fashion.
After not panicking, existing customers must think strategically. It’s fair to assume that HP will not be able to keep pace on product enhancements when compared to other vendors who are fully committed to the IdM market and who are deriving revenue from new product sales. Organizations with HP Identity Center deployments will need to evaluate all of their options going forward.
Customers of other IdM vendors and customers considering new IdM deployments should also be carefully scrutinizing this announcement. As the market becomes increasingly competitive it is imperative that customers evaluate the viability and long-term strategy of their existing and potential IdM vendors. Burton Group predicts that the market will see continued, or even increased, consolidation in coming months.
Another point worth mentioning is how HP’s announcement illustrates the fierce competition in the IdM market – even for a vendor the size of HP. There is extreme pressure from all sides in the IdM market; particularly for smaller vendors, but HP proves even the giants are not immune from difficulty.
Finally, IdM vendors: now is a good time to evaluate your commitment to the market, being completely realistic about the level of investment required to compete successfully in the crowded Identity Management space.