On one of the experts panels on the 1st European Identity conference in Munich this spring densely populated with high ranking and well respected experts I heard one of the experts mention in middle of a heated discussion: "What is the sense of a role model if when ever we complete an organisations role model and are about to implement it, the organisation has changes considerably meanwhile."

Well "that's real life" we are tempted to say - but wait a minute! Can this really be true? I remember a second quotation from the same event "Roles are the DNA of an organisation"quot; stated Ron Rymon, the founder of the role engineering firm Eurekify.

O.k. if you consider any commercial endeavour as a mild form of sparsely ordered chaos, if you run a company merely ad hoc and a role model is considered as an unnecessarily rigid structure imposed on top of a fluid ecosystem, that reinvents itself at every very moment - ok, in this case forget about role models.

But what, when it comes to automation? Many, if not most, enterprises are now strained by global competition. A manufacturer in Pittsburgh or Gelsenkirchen may compete with one in Chongqing () or Poona ???? where at least the labour cost are dramatically lower. One can imagine that besides dirty political tricks it may take some bit of innovation and automation to succeed in this battle field.

But what is automation? In order to automate an organisation you need to express it in a formal way so that it can be processed by machines or - more often - in a blended fashion by machines and humans. You need to formally document your policies & rules, processes and roles in a complete, consistent and machine readable way. Only then they can be repeatedly applied by those above mentioned processors.

Considering this scenario, how can the organisation have changed while the role model is still controversially discussed? No way! The roles are the organisation, or at least an important part of it.

Sat June 30th Posted by Horst Walther, SiG Software Integration to the GenericIAM Blog

Horst Walther, Hamburg