Yesterday it was announced that Service Provisioning Markup Language (SPML) version 2.0 was ratified by OASIS. This warms my heart for two reasons. First, it is great to see the work of so many people come to fruition. Gary, Jeff, and Gavenraj really drove things forward and put in an amazing amount of effort. (On a personal note, since this was the first standard I worked on, I get a kick out of seeing my name as a contributor.) Second, SPMLv2 brings user provisioning into line with access management, in terms of having standards to work with. This was a topic Phil and I discussed in our webinar. Now the provisioning market has a rich, usable standard to help drive implementations and integrations. SPMLv2 gives application vendors a way of making their applications easily provisioned. It gives provisioning vendors a way of quickly integrating and connecting to applications. Everyone wins.
Are we there yet? Has the identity management arrived at its final destination? Nope, but we are getting closer. In order to realize its full potential, large application vendors have to adopt SPML. SAP and Citrix have done so. Oracle and Microsoft cannot, I hope, be far behind. By having SPML-based hooks in major applications a lot of the grunt work of connecting provisioning engines to target systems is removed. It decreases the time to value in user provisioning implementations. It allows project teams to focus on policy and process and not how to connect provisioning engines to systems.
Assuming that large application vendors build SPML gateways in their applications, are we there yet? Still, the answer is no. There are a ton of older applications out there. Though I can see SPML gateways for RACF and ACF2, its harder to imagine development teams building SPML hooks for their bespoke applications. If database vendors built SPML parsers into their engines, then homegrown applications could be in better shape… but I don’t see that happening any time soon.
In other news, Virsa was gobbled up by SAP. I don’t think this comes as a big shock to anyone in the industry. I wonder if it doesn’t mark the beginning of SAP’s entrance into the identity management market. First, major SPML support. Now, Virsa. What’s next for our friends at SAP… a provisioning system? They have got to be feeling pressure from OraclePeopleSoftJDEdwardsOblixThor.