Identity Governance and Administration startup Clear Skye launches partner program

Clear Skye’s differentiation in the IGA space is its native integration with ServiceNow, which lets them reach further downmarket from where IGA has typically sold in the past.

Luis P. Almeida, Clear Skye’s CRO

Identity management provider Clear Skye, which emerged from stealth this spring, has launched their Elevate channel program. The company goes to market through a 100% channel strategy, and is looking to the new program to enable a relatively select group of focused specialists in their space.

Clear Skye’s space is Identity Governance and Administration [IGA], a subset of the broader IAM [Identity and Access Management] space.

“IGA is about internal use cases – employees,” said Luis P. Almeida, Clear Skye’s CRO. “It gives visibility into who has value to what, and certifies it. That’s the identity part. It will pull identity information out of applications and indicate who has access to what at a granular level. That allows certification campaigns, broad reviews of access that people have, to allow regular cleansing of assets. That’s the governance.”

Almeida said that IGA also now includes the account provisioning and deprovisioning of traditional Identity Management. That reflects that while Gartner originally had separate categories for provisioning and governance, they collapsed them into one because the vendors acquired the capabilities of the adjacent areas. Still, Almeida said, the traditional IAM vendors don’t have the governance capabilities of IGA specialists like SailPoint, One Identity and IBM.

What Clear Skye adds to IGA is a native focus around ServiceNow, which Almeida stated has become the focal point of identity today.

“The market has been around for 15 years, but it is changing with the move to platforms from the growth of ServiceNow,” he said. For 5-7 years, customers have been asking for an access request component of IGA to exist in ServiceNow, and so vendors have been building integrations from their platforms into ServiceNow. Our position is that these integrations aren’t effective. We built an IGA tool natively inside ServiceNow, so this access information is now native in the platform. ServiceNow is the centre, and identity belongs in the center of the ServiceNow platform. Anything on ServiceNow, we can leverage, and they can leverage us.”

Clear Skye’s decision to do this through a pure channel strategy reflects the fact that unlike the broader IAM space, which has been majority direct historically, IGA is traditionally channel.

“IGA is very partner-centric  because it is very integration-centric,” Almeida said. “In automating access to all these systems, you have to integrate, and it’s all very process oriented. So traditionally this space has been channel-centric with boutique integrators and global SIs.”

Clear Skye has a dozen channel partners with the program’s launch, and they represent the boutique integrator element. The partners are: Assertiv Consulting, Burning Tree, ICSynergy, Identropy, IDMWORKS, IPG Group, MavenNext, Metsys, NetBR, S3 Consulting, Sopra Steria, and Zigabyte.

“This boutique community of integrators all know each other very well,” Almeida noted. They co-operate, share resources, and subcontract to each other. Our whole Go-to-Market is to go through these boutiques. They bring velocity to us. Our biggest fear is new competition, so anything we can onboard to partners we will. We will have a services team, but most of that we leave to partners. We want a model that is less about selling a product, and more about selling outcomes. and we will lean heavily on partners for that. There are probably a dozen more partners like this out there, but we have a great core of them.”

Demand generation isn’t a key requirement for partners.

“What’s unique about the IGA channel is that it’s not really about demand generation,” Almeida pointed out. “Many of these boutiques are small. They can architect and help clients build a platform, and we get built into that. So what we really look for is the ability to execute and deliver.”

GSIs are in Clear Skye’s plans as well, but that’s for the longer term.

“We are brand new, and just came out of stealth eight weeks ago,” Almeida said. “The GSIs are all aware of what we are doing. It’s just a question of time. We will interest them because we bridge different practices, ServiceNow’s ITSM  and identity.”

One of Clear Skye’s partners, Paul Bedi, the CEO of IDMWORKS, makes this point in the press release around the program launch.

“We’re excited to partner with Clear Skye, so we can greatly improve IGA results through true alignment between ITSM and Identity Governance on the Now Platform,” Bedi said.

Almeida said that the Elevate partner program will provide enablement support.

“We have a good enablement program with the team that developed enablement for ServiceNow,” he said. “We have invested in that, and offer it free of charge. We assist them with pilots. We do the heavy lifting, with them shadowing us. They also get to sell us at discounts, and we don’t have Tier Two distribution.”

Ultimately, Almeida said that they are a strong value play for partners compared to other IGA players because their native integration with ServiceNow lets them play further downmarket than has typically been the case in IGA.

“There is the opportunity with the ServiceNow platform to go after the small enterprise and midmarket, which has struggled with IGA and has found it to be to complex and expensive,” he said. “The ServiceNow platform opens up a good opportunity for them to go into the midmarket, where there are thousands of prospects.

“It’s also a tremendous opportunity for security or ServiceNow-focused resellers to get into the IGA space. Many security resellers avoid identity. Moving it to ServiceNow brings it more within reach. ServiceNow resellers who focus on ITSM or GRC have skills applicable to identity.”

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