Today's organizations understand the need for Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) initiatives — these programs enable businesses to secure data, complete audits and even improve operational agility. Yet, many of these projects don't deliver on their promise, and one of the main challenges is not having the right infrastructure in place to support a successful roll out. With 94% of organizations reporting an identity-related breach at some point, getting a solid IGA strategy off the ground and scaling it is no longer a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have. 

That said, investing in technology and talent and hoping IGA programs stick simply isn't enough. Fortunately, there are some measures security teams can take to ensure a smooth launch and long-term success. It doesn’t necessarily start with the shiny new tool or best-in-class solution, either.

Getting executive and company-wide buy-in from the get-go, setting realistic expectations, and approaching these projects with the user in mind are the most critical components to an effective IGA program. Here’s why: 

  1. Winning executive and company buy-in 

IGA projects require collaboration across an entire organization — think different personnel in different departments with different day-to-day duties and goals in mind. In order to facilitate this, strong executive support is vital to overcoming potential points of friction. While it seems like the benefits of an IGA program are a no-brainer, executives are busy. It’s possible they’re not thoroughly briefed on the importance of the project or what the appropriate timeline should be. Clear communication and pointing to the big picture are two ways to help gain C-level buy-in. Explain how IGA is a key component of your organization’s digital transformation efforts and the potential return on investment: better security and more streamlined processes, are just a few of the potential upsides. 

  1. Setting realistic expectations 

Building off of executive and organizational buy-in, part of selling an IGA project is level-setting. Establishing realistic expectations regarding the timeline, man-power it will take to get this up and running, and the anticipated results is equally important. Afterall, an IGA project isn’t just an IT project, and viewing it as simply a matter of buying and installing software is a recipe for disaster.

In order to work, IGA needs advisory services on top of in-house resources. Application integration costs may get under-counted as well, as project stakeholders fail to grasp the interconnected nature of the IGA process. For example, the IGA solution usually has to link with HR management systems and others within a business. Training costs can be higher than people predict, and finding IGA talent can also take longer and cost more than budgeted for. Be honest about the challenges that may arise and look at the full spectrum of resources needed and the intended results you hope to achieve and map backwards from there. 

  1. Putting the user first 

Your IGA program success hinges on the people using it, so make sure they are comfortable and confident with the solution. Quite simply, learning a new system is just another item to check off a to-do list, and people’s primary goal is getting their jobs done. If navigating a new solution isn’t an effortless part of their workflow, users will find ways around it, ignoring it completely or starting a flurry of inquiries into the helpdesk.

This is a slow burn that can derail an entire IGA project, even with the best intentions. IT leaders should consider IGA solutions that can be easily integrated into existing processes. This will present fewer training and UX issues synonymous with integrating new systems from scratch. By removing the barriers to entry, you can create a smoother adoption process, and thus, more favorable results. 

According to PMI, more than 50% of IT projects fail due to lack of time, resources and funds, among other reasons. More data from the annual Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey found that 46% of CIOs report that one of the main reasons projects fail is weak ownership. These statistics are bleak, but luckily, easily avoidable.

Having clear communication and expectations, company and executive support, and an easy on-boarding process can ensure IGA project success, and that your security efforts aren’t for naught.