Key Considerations in Selecting a Customer Identity and Access Management Solution

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A GUIDE TO CIAM SUCCESS

The rise of the social customer creates tremendous opportunities for organizations to develop deeper relationships with their customers in support of their business objectives. Whether the goals are to acquire new customers, increase on-site engagement, collect and leverage customer insights, or all of the above, a comprehensive customer identity and access management (CIAM) solution will play a critical role.

To start a needs analysis, consider the big picture:

  • What are you trying to achieve on your website(s)?
  • Do you want to understand who your visitors are and what behaviors they are displaying while on your website?
  • How do you want your customers to engage with your website (e.g., comment, chat, leave ratings & reviews, fill out questionnaires, polls, etc.)?
  • Do you know what to do with customer data that is collected using a customer identity and access management solution?
  • How important is keeping your customer data secure?
  • Do you want to restrict (e.g., scope) access for developers or online technologies?

*More questions located in the appendix.

Regardless of the online business objectives, valued customers are key to growth. A robust, extremely flexible, secure CIAM solution offers the right components to help improve website conversion, create meaningful points of interaction, and collect intelligence to build a more complete picture of each customer to present personalized experiences, content and offers.

To successfully achieve these goals, companies need the right partner a secure solution and infrastructure to lead to success — today and tomorrow.

USE THESE KEY QUESTIONS WHEN EVALUATING PROSPECTIVE VENDORS TO MAKE SURE THEY HAVE WHAT IT TAKES.

Social login solutions to remove registration friction

Social login makes it easy for companies to allow customers to easily register and log in to a website or applications with their existing social network identities from Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn and more than 30 other providers. Social login can increase registration rates by up to 50 percent, minimizes barriers to website entry and provides permission-based access to customers’ first-party identity data, allowing companies to start delivering personalized experiences that build deeper relationships.

SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • Does your CIAM solution support multiple social network and identity providers for authentication?
  • Does your end customer only have ONE identity no matter how many different ways they sign in?
  • Do you want to welcome back return customers by name and with their associated social identity for rapid login on subsequent visits?

* More questions located in the appendix.

Unify accurate customer profile data

Many brands have taken the charge to create opportunities for their advocates and customers to share their social data with the brand. However, having customer social data is only the first part of the journey, knowing how to utilize the data and executing delightful, high-impact digital experiences is the second half. Opportunities for real-time and precision marketing, as well as richer brand advocacy, can be enriched by having a keen understanding of the customer.

SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • Can you map social identities to legacy customer accounts in your database?
  • Will your end customer only have one identity no matter how many ways they register? Or even if on several different websites?
  • Can you enable customers to link multiple social identities to a single customer account?
  • Can you capture additional identity data over time as you develop a deeper relationship with your customers?

* More questions located in the appendix.

Customize your solution

With every advancement in digital experiences, it’s gotten more challenging for companies to piece together what their customers are doing. Brands look holistically at the entire customer experience, but the customer experience is increasingly fragmented. Customers have multiple devices, interact with campaigns in unpredictable ways, and don’t follow the “ideal” path that the marketer has carefully constructed. Given these considerations, a company’s effectiveness relies on knowing as much about  their customers as possible, and connecting data from different sources to establish a unique, known individual in order to make informed decisions, and provide offers and messaging relevant to that customer. It’s important to consider a CIAM solution that will be customizable for a company’s needs to create seamless interactions for customers.

SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • Do you offer a customizable schema for customer data storage?
  • Are customizable registration form screens supported? Can different websites that have the same field be required on one website and not required on another? Can you customize the login domain to match that of your website (e.g., login.mysite.com)?
  • What is the best solution to adhere to the corporate governance requirements when setting up registration and data collection for multiple websites?

Security to protect customer data

Data breaches are costly and can negatively impact customer trust and companies of all sizes are being compromised. Customer identities are critical assets and customers trust companies to keep them secure. With so many devices going online, the surface for potential attacks keeps growing and calls for the redoubling of efforts to protect online device and customer data. Partnering with a CIAM vendor that takes security and privacy seriously is important to ensure customer data stays safe.

SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • What security and privacy compliance and certifications are held by the provider and underlying data centers?
  • How is data encrypted? Is the entire database encrypted? Are backups encrypted? What proof can you provide?
  • How secure is the customer data when it is being accessed on a website? Is personally identifiable information (PII) exposed in the browser by the solution?
  • Are there real time backups of your data? Are there secondary backups? Are backups stored in a separate geographical region? How do you know for sure that the backup solution will work?

* More questions located in the appendix.

Collect and manage customer identity data

To create new personalized experiences, companies require more specific customer information. This means digging deeper than ‘age group’ and ‘country of residence.’ It means knowing the exact age and hometown. CIAM solutions are the best way for companies to gather and use this type of data.

SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • Can you collect and store psychographic data (e.g., interests, likes) and social graphs (e.g., friends) in addition to demographic data (e.g., location and gender)?
  • Can you identify on which of your websites a customer first authenticates?
  • Can you identify on what other websites a customer authenticates?
  • If you have multiple websites, does the vendor have the option to provision one or many databases?

* More questions located in the appendix.

Solutions for registration and hosting

The moment a customer registers with an organization is the moment their relationship with them has truly begun. It’s proof that the company earned their trust, and they can keep that trust as long as the company follows up on the promises that convinced those customers to share some of their most personal information. A CIAM solution can help make this process easy and painless.

SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • Can you easily apply and manage different business logic on different websites?
  • Are end customer profile screens supported to allow your customers to edit and manage their profile pages? Can you control what you want them to read or edit?
  • What registration features are supported (e.g., custom password rules, CAPTCHA, in-line verification, two factor authentication, email verification, gating, etc.)?
  • Does your service provide tools to customize a customer’s registration experience?

Validity and analytics

Gaining insightful and actionable views of customer engagement and social media activities is imperative to making better business decisions. With analytics, companies can target and personalize all marketing campaigns and programs. Choosing the right CIAM solution will help gain valid and informative looks into customer data.

SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • Does your solution allow an option to get data from trusted social networks?
  • Does the solution support custom validation expressions?
  • Will the solution’s analytics truly represent your customer? Will your customer be only counted once?

* More questions located in the appendix.

Integrations and extensions

Companies can add value to their existing systems by integrating with a CIAM solution.Some of the benefits include improving conversion rates for landing pages, segmenting email campaigns and improving email performance. Consider a CIAM solution that can connect with existing CRM systems, analytics, CMS and email marketing platforms.

SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • How does your service restrict third-party access to customer data?
  • Do integrations support real-time notifications of profile changes?
  • Which types of technology platforms do you integrate with?
  • Can you integrate with legacy systems or platforms that do not support public APIs?

* More questions located in the appendix.

Performance that exceeds expectations

Finding a CIAM solution that meets all of a company’s identity needs is important, but finding one that can exceed expectations is even better. A good CIAM solution will be secure and provide all of the uses a company needs, but a great solution will take it a step further. Here are a few questions to find out how important customer service is to the CIAM vendor.

SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • How many customers can your solution support simultaneously during authentications, registrations, and database queries? What is your service’s average response time?
  • Are 24/7 monitoring and NOC support included?

* More questions located in the appendix.

Availability of customer identity data

Finding a cloud-based CIAM solution that will ensure optimum performance with global availability, redundancy and robust fault tolerance that has been proven within the most discerning of enterprise environments is necessary for all companies.

SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • How redundant is the underlying infrastructure?
  • How scalable is it?
  • How often do you conduct performance testing?
  • Is buffer overflow testing performed?

Implementation support

When working with any vendor, companies want to find a good fit for their use cases as well as for their culture. Having a good vendor relationship is important, especially during implementation. Often, problems during implementation lead to problems later on. So, it’s important to find a CIAM vendor that makes sure the process goes smoothly and correctly, the first time.

SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • What is the deployment process and typical time-line?
  • Do you provide personnel to help with implementations? What are their roles and responsibilities?
  • Does the solution have detailed guides for all types of deployments, including custom interfaces?
  • Are there any self-service capabilities that our developers can use to implement simple solutions?

* More questions located in the appendix.

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