This week we’re attending Identity North in Vancouver, BC, Canada.  If you have not heard about Identity North now is a good time to learn more about their events.

IdentityNorth gathers Canadians that are interested in creating and sustaining a conversation about Digital Identity and Authentication. It acts as a platform where organizations and individuals interested in digital space, interoperating projects, standards and related technology to share their insights and ideas from around the world. (

This has been a great event with some of our Kantara Members participating including Colin Wallis from New Zealand Government and Andre Boysen from SecureKey.  One aspect of this particular event that is special is that Identity North is working with BC Gov to also enable a public information sharing opportunity.  So while there are some of the usual Identity conference participants, like @identitywoman, there are also students, citizens, and regular folks (aka non-identity geeks) in the room.
The conversations of the week have resonated with the Pillars of Identity Relationship Management (IRM).  It’s clear that many CIOs and Business Development representatives are challenged by the complex “inside baseball” language that Identity Industry representatives tend to use.  The language issue is clearly evident in an unscientific poll I recently took while giving a talk about IRM and how Kantara Initiative is inspired by the pillars. IRM directly touches that language issue by identifying a value system that starts to move the tech, policy, and privacy lexicons toward a convergence with a business development lexicon.  IRM enables a broader conversation by enabling the transformation of IdM language in to business value language.
IRM also helps us to shift from the idea that an identity is at the center of all transactions.  IRM helps to start clearly driving home the concept that it’s often the relationship that is more valued than a strongly proofed identity.  (Of course strongly proofed identity has a highly valuable role, where necessary, but in many everyday cases it’s the relationship that is key – not the identity.)
In the Identity North event attendees were asked to write down all of their many roles.  Humans have many identities – or – many personas.  IRM touches this concept as a business enabler. Referencing the first IRM pillar…


Traditional IAM platforms were designed for on-premises employee use and are unable to provide the quick, secure, and device-flexible IAM experience customers are looking for. Modern identity management must manage access privileges for all stakeholders across a variety of devices.

This pillar says that we are more than employees… IdM faces much more than employees and IRM transforms IdM from a “thing” that solves a specific enterprise use case in to a strategy that enables more services to be delivered to more users with more reach.  IRM focuses on IdM as a business enabler across contexts and that’s where industry, research, and communities can articulate more and more value to grow their opportunities with IRM cutting across their powerful strategies.

We’re looking forward to more conversations around IRM.  We’re also very interested to hear your IRM stories.  If you believe in IRM and transforming the language of IdM please show you support the IRM Pillars.

– Joni Brennan

Executive Director, Kantara Initiative