Thank you!

This weekend I’ve received some pretty exciting news that I was awarded the 2016 MVP award (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional) for Enterprise Mobility (Identity & Access).

mvp_logo

I’m extremely proud to receive the award, but I never could have achieved this award without your support. So, in the first place I want to thank YOU for supporting me and making it possible. With your help I certainly will continue to support and build the Microsoft and security community with great pride.

A great thanks to Ed Price, Ronen Ariely, Gokan Ozcifci and Jorge de Almeida Pinto for the support and recommendations. (I sincerely hope I haven’t forgotten anyone…) I owe you Belgian beer.

I had the honor to be part of the program earlier, and never have stopped to build and maintain the community with passion for Identity and Access management, but as combining Microsoft FTE with MVP is not possible… I had a break for the years at MS… still it was different.

I’m also extremely thankful that my wife Katrien and my 2 kids can cope with my crazy passion for TechNet Wiki and MS community obsession. This addiction is just so much fun…but I’ll never admit that. (oh ships, just did…)

#FIM2010 / #MIM2016 not so dead, and what you didn’t hear.

What seemed to be a small note on a MPN blog, landed on LinkedIn and finally got into a pretty… eh how would you name it … disappointing, bizar, vicious, mean, deviant, misunderstood .. nah .. just a wrong direction, has caused quite some confusion.

And looking at the IM and messages I get, it still is.

Let me spoil the clue of the story: Microsoft Identity and Access, FIM, MIM,… IS … ALIVE. VERY MUCH ALIVE. (NOT DEAD)
If you need more detail, continue…

Lots of things have been said and I don’t want to repeat too much stuff, and certainly don’t want to take credit for it.
But let me pick some core components of the discussion and get a few things straight.

Why not refer to the sources first, by chrono. (If you want to have them in a short list all together, quickly read through the post till the end.)

It started here (by Gavriella Schuster on 12 April 2016):

https://blogs.partner.microsoft.com/mpn/microsoft-partner-network-evolution/?ln=en-US

In essence Gavriella discusses MPN (Microsoft Partner Network) competencies and mentions the “The retiring competencies”, which include: “Identity and Access”.
She doesn’t mention any product specifically, but she doesn’t mention either that “Identity and Access” is being moved to the Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) competency.
This is clearly a cause for confusion, disappointment and misunderstanding.

But if you continue to read her post and check the next paragraph, you’ll see:

  • Interactive MPN Evolution Guide – This NEW interactive tool is your first step to guide your decision process. Use this to explore all of the new paths and options and easily identify which is the best fit for your business.
  • MPN Evolution Page – This is an overview of the changes, including the full list of impacted competencies and timeline.
  • FAQ – We have received feedback from some of your peers in our advisory councils and compiled answers to some of the questions we anticipate you might have. We will continue to build on these as we receive new questions.

 

After a few clicks in the MPN evolution guide, you’ll see that “Identity and Access” is now in the Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) competency. But it takes a few pages to find out. Right.

Also the MPN Evolution FAQ (downloadable PDF) says:

“Identity and Access Competency

Q) Where can I find more information about Enterprise Mobility Suite and partner opportunities?
A) For Enterprise Mobility Suite information, go here. For competency information, go here.

Q) Where can I find more info around Enterprise Mobility Suite incentives eligibility via the Enterprise Mobility Management Competency?
A) To learn more about EMS Incentives, visit the portal page, here. ”

A few days later a post on LinkedIn interpretes the competency change as “It marks the end of MIIS, ILM, FIM, and MIM“.
This opinion/ interpretation ignited a discussion or list of comments that even got vicious and mean if not incorrect. But I’ll leave that to your own interpretation.

But I can certainly advise to read all of it.

One of the key comments is posted by Alex Simons (Director of PM, Microsoft Identity Division): (quote)

“This focus area has just been combined with Mobility as we believe the overall category is merging as part of the shift we are seeing among customers to a modern end-user productivity model which merges Identity, Mobiltiy and Information Protection together to enable workers to get their jobs done wherever they are. So don’t let the merger fool you! We have more engineers working on Identity and Access Managemebt today (600+ across the cloud and on-premises) than we have ever had before at Microsoft!”

Apparently, due to some technical issues, an important comment of David Steadman never got posted to that thread. And probably for that reason, it got disconnected.
But it’s a damn important insider-note or add-on to Alex’ message.

“Identity within Microsoft not Dead!!”

“/../ this is not the end to identity platform. It simply transforming to what customers are demanding, just like MIIS changed and ILM. Merging the assets makes sense, As we have seen with this product and others. If you do not change you will be left behind it is a strategic change that meets the demand of our Azure Customers and On-premise Customers. Also the MIM product group has release a few new additions to MIM CTP4 /../”

“… Because Microsoft is the Identity platform and as this merger of Identity, Mobility and Information Protection continues you will see great add to the story and services.”

A few days later, , posts an interesting reply to the discussion. To jump to his conclusion: “ Success in the cloud is underpinned by a well-engineered Identity and Access infrastructure – and that is usually a hybrid on-premises/cloud infrastructure involving MIM, AD, Azure AD and much more. You can call it what you like, but rumours of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

And to close the discussion, you might want to get up to speed on what Microsoft Identity and Access aka Enterprise Mobility is heading to… with another post by Hugh.
It’s the essence of the whole story: Identity and Acces, now Enterpise mobility is not limited to the ‘identity technology’ anymore: consider”Advanced Threat Analytics, Secure Islands, Adallom, hybrid identity, devices and enterprise mobility management, Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM) including Privileged Access Management (PAM), new features in Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite, including changes in Azure Active Directory, Rights Management, and Intune… and more.

It’s damn clear that a specialist in Microsoft Identity & Access (eh sorry, Enterprise Mobility), will have plenty of work in the future.

That being said, here’s the short list.

References list of LinkedIn articles:

But that’s not all.
Recheck the Microsoft support lifecycle for the various products and save it for future reference:

 

*EDIT – 13/may/2016 … the discussion continues*
Above was the customer friendly version, as I’ve got quite some queries for details.
So it allows to explain that the pronounced dead essentially was a hoax.

On the FIM/MIM FB group, there was a very pertinent remark by Gil Kirkpatrick which I’m allowed to share here:

I’ve been utterly baffled at the public reaction to all of this… I’ve had probably a dozen people (a Kuppinger-Cole guy for chrissakes) tell me how MSFT has failed to crack the IAM market and how they’ve given up and EOL’d FIM/MIM, and now its a free-for-all and tha datacenter is on fire, and …, well you get the idea. It’s like nobody even bothered to read the announcement, and I don’t know, maybe look up some of the words in the dictionary if they were having trouble understanding it.”

+1

I personally think this is exactly the reason that David, Hugh and others (including me) have been fighting this hoax.

And I’ll not go into the view and recent reports of the market watchers, like Kuppinger-Cole and Gartner on Identity and Access, Identity Governance, .. whatever.
These are valuable if the reports are built on current, solid data.
But if a vendor does not participate in the survey for a year, or two, because their product stack is been overhauled and set ready for the future.. and therefore the ‘product suite’ does not fit to the market watchers categories (so it drops from the reports), it’s no reason to burry a product/vendor.

And certainly if these reports are published one year later…
Things are moving fast, very fast.

Note-to-self: Microsoft Virtual Academy: Identity and Access Management

Source: Microsoft Security Newsletter – February 2015

Microsoft Virtual Academy: Identity and Access Management

Need tips for moving your Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) workload to Microsoft Azure, the powerful platform leveraged by IT specialists to provide a range of services and tools to end users?

Look no further!

Get expert advice on design, deployment, maintenance, and more so you can smoothly manage the transition of your ADFS workload to Azure. Explore the various forms of identity, and learn to transition the tools that provide identity services into Microsoft Azure. Plus, see how to resolve common issues. “

And in case you didn’t notice there is a lot more interesting security stuff in the Newsletter, like:

  • Security Tip of the Month: Protect Your Highly Sensitive Information
  • Manage Risk with Additional Multi-Factor Authentication for Sensitive Applications

+ more !

Surf to the Microsoft Security Newsletter – February 2015 and … just a suggestion … subscribe to the newsletter.