Digital Identity Summit: Mark Sunday


This afternoon's event is the Digital identity Summit. Evelyn Rodriguez of the Koru Group is the organizer of the event. Evelyn is trying to use identity to tie together web services, CRM, and network security and today's speakers will be talking on those subjects.

The first speaker today is Mark Sunday, the CIO for Siebel Systems. Siebel recently moved their entire production operation from California to Utah. They run in two redundant data centers. Mark's first comments are a bow to the idea that digital identity is important in a service-oriented economy. Unless we're willing to establish a digital identity, there's little chance that we can get most of the services we want. We do this everyday, of course, when we create accounts on web sites that require a sign-up. What we don't have is a convenient and secure way to aggregate and manage those multiple identities.

CRM is an integrated approach to identifying, acquiring, growing, and retaining customers. This includes sales, marketing, and service. Digital identity is crucial in this environment because customers jump back and forth between sales channels and expect continuity in service regardless of the channel they use to engage the company. CRM systems, at their heart, are really big databases of customer profiles---their digital identity with respect to that company. This corresponds to Andre Durand's second level of digital identity.

Siebel systems calls this big database of customer profiles, the Universal Customer Master. When customers have multiple identities in an organization (identity silos) not only does customer satisfaction decrease, but companies also leave significant revenue on the table. Mark is using the HP/Compaq merger as an example. Clearly one of the reasons for the merger was so that both organizations can leverage the customers of the other, but without some significant IT investments, that can't happen. Siebel is working with HP, using Siebel's Universal Application Network product to integrate a Universal Customer Master with HP's SAP ERP system, Siebel, and other legacy systems.

One of the things I like about Siebel is that they drink there own kool-aid. Siebel is moving thier own operations to be 100% web-based to increase the access for their "nomadic" workforce. This allows salespeople from Siebel to access their customer data from any web browser, cell phone, or PDA while they're away from the office.