Manageing digital identity & trust

Just listened to Phil Becker being interviews by Doug Kaye over at IT Conversation. Phil is one of (maybe the) organisers of the Digital ID World conference that was recently held in Denver this year.

I am finding myself more and more interested in the whole area of digital identity, I have mentioned single sign on (SSO) several times here as I thought it was important and the HRIS industry has been talking about it for a LONG time, same with the regular IT industry. I am only now beginning to understand really what is required.

Phil spoke about a presentation from Tony Scott, CTO General Motors and GM’s experiences in developing a global phone book for their employees. The project took 1 year to complete, the technological portion about 2-3 months. The cultural, political and legislative took 1 year. GM learnt how they had to deal with the incompatibility between the different privacy attitudes/legislation environments around the globe. Having been through this in the late 90’s at Nortel Networks, working on single instance (physically in the US) global SAP HR roll out, I can fully appreciate the issues they had to face. These issues of privacy and cultural differences are going to be some of the biggest issues faced by digital identity.

Phil also spoke about trust and how critical this is for digital identity to succeed, but also recognises that technology cannot generate trust. Trust is probably the biggest change issues faced when deploying workforce applications. When you start placing employee payslips online, processing performance reviews, salary changes, IR action etc the employee’s trust in the integrity of the system is paramount. So often I have seen very successful (up until deployment) projects damaged by a poor roll out and change program.

So how do you create trust? Personally I feel you create trust over a period of the meeting (or exceeding) expectations of your customers. Phil confirmed this during the interview.