mii parade – identities go marching at #cat10
I’ve just returned from Gartner/Burton’s Catalyst 2010 in San Diego (“just” returned when I wrote the first draft, not so much now that I’m finally getting to edit and post…). One of the sessions (Wednesday morning in the identity track) featured GM presenting about their fairly advanced and very well thought out identity management processes and platforms. They had a very mature outlook on what the real sources are for identity and how to empower the business to leverage the value of those identities over time and through the lifecycle.
Perhaps the best example of that was how they manage identities that are not really fully baked, management of avatars. The presenter from GM made a great analogy to explain this. He talked about the Mii parade from the Wii. If your not a Wii person, this needs a bit of context. On the Wii you have an avatar called a Mii. In many games that Mii is what you see on the screen to represent you. Since the Wii is designed to be multi player, you can of course have many Mii’s on a system. Apparently his daughters are just like mine. They make a Mii for every kid that shows up at their home; mine even make them for characters in books and people they meet away from home. What use is the Mii if there is no one to play as them? In some parts of some games, there are parades and other places where crowds appear. And these Mii’s, played with or not, show up on those crowds.
GM will make an identity for anyone that comes to their facilities, even going as far to assign them a unique identifier. If that person eventually ends up as a contractor, then they will retain that identity. If they become an employee, they keep the same identity. And if they leave, the identity is still maintained. They also do similar things for what they termed “people of interest”. These are people like an employee’s spouse, who would be in some systems to receive benefits and there for have one of these avatars or half-baked identities. So, with all these avatars in their systems, when they go through to do large reports and such, they end up with a Mii parade with all these avatars that are not users as such showing up in the crowds.
This struck me as being deeply right. Most organizations want to reduce the identities they have at all costs. But identities are data, and data has value. Of course, Quest and I are fans of reducing accounts and points of access, but that’s quite different. This is about having many singular identities that can be used to fill out your Mii parade so that it acts and feels as real as possible. The rich context can only lead to better and fuller business decisions over time.
For those of you who made it down this far, here’s a sample of what a Mii parade can be like when you just tell the Wii to have all the Mii’s go marching: