Group Management, Which Group Do You Belong To?

I am not a coffee drinker, but while I was in college, every morning I was dragged to a local coffee shop by friends. They would order the most ridiculous drinks with names like “Grande, Iced, Sugar-Free,Vanilla Latte with Soy Milk.” Besides hearing funny drink names, I liked to observe the different groups of people that gathered at the shop.

It always fascinated me how people of different ages, backgrounds, nationalities and interests would join together every morning to enjoy a cup of coffee. No matter what the rest of the day looked like for each one, they would come back the next morning to order another ridiculous drink and socialize for a brief moment with other coffee drinkers.

At the time, it was just observation to me, but after working for four years with school districts and implementing IdM solutions for them, the group management components remind me of the days at the coffee shop; watching over different groups of people getting together to enjoy their favorite beverage.

Every school district has a different quantity of groups, various types of people that manage the groups, and often, their own way to utilize the groups and present to end users. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is for the proper end users—that could have as many different attributes set on their accounts as there are flavors at a coffee shop—to become members of the appropriate groups as soon as possible, so end users will have access to all of the resources they need, first thing in the morning.

From an end user perspective, they don’t know how or by what criteria they end up being a member of a certain group; all they want to know is that they will be able to login to their personal space and have access to the resources they need without having to wait too long. Just like they wouldn’t care which coffee shop to go to in the morning as long as it has their favorite beverage that they can get as soon as possible.

As an identity management company, it is our task to analyze and combine the right end users together, assign them to appropriate groups, and present it in a way that is flexible, easy and fast, so end users can start their day efficiently and pleasantly. Much like a coffee shop owner is responsible for grinding beans that can be mixed with different flavors into a mighty drink, and locating their shop in a convenient spot, so customers can have the boost they need to start their day.

Hope you are able to relate this to your organization and would like us to become your “coffee shop.” With that, I am off to find more ridiculous beverage orders.