Recently I had a briefing from Conformity, a cloud application management platform vendor.
Conformity seeks to be the hub, managing service provision for cloud/SaaS applications for enterprise. The rationale for this, as told by Scott Bils, co-founder and CMO for Conformity, is that SaaS applications are thus far relatively siloed in terms of provisioning, user management and access control.
Bils contends that managing provisioning individually across multiple applications is simply not scalable and presents both a risk to enterprise and a barrier to the adoption of SaaS applications. As they say;
SaaS and cloud applications provide attractive alternative solutions, however, the missing piece to the puzzle is providing enterprise-class management for these on-demand solutions that will enable companies to effectively manage and comply with the increased scrutiny imposed by new compliance and governance regulations.
Enter Conformity, which provides a tool to manage the workflow associated with setting up users for service. Conformity is primarily a business process and workflow management offering, that is augmented by a partially automated offering – it is currently partnered with Salesforce.com, NetSuite, SuccessFactors, Xactly Incent, Google Apps, OpenAir and QuickArrow and for these applications offers truly automated provisioning, permissioning and de-provisioning of users.
The main functional areas of the application are as follows;
- User provisioning
- Role and profile management – normalized permission models etc
- Approval workflows – auditable workflows for change approvals
- Directory integration
- Compliance reporting
- Usage analytics
- Change management
Conformity integrates with Active Desktop, so that changes within the active desktop directory are reflected within the control dashboard, it also runs back end consistency checks to ensure that permissions and authorizations at an application level reflect those within the control dashboard.
What I really like about the Conformity approach is that it is very much workflow centric with a secondary automation play, rather than being primarily focused on the automation side of things. As I discussed with Bils, they’re never going to be able to integrate with every single application an enterprise might require, rather it is important that they document the workflows and processes for provisioning, such that Conformity becomes the hub for enterprise user management.
Conformity also provides some visibility into cloud/SaaS application spend within an organization, an efficiency boosting service that, while somewhat peripheral to their core focus, should still prove useful.
I like what Conformity is doing – their focus on workflow rather than technology is refreshing and the fact that they ease enterprises adoption of SaaS and general cloud solutions is good for all of us.