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How authorization enables a successful customer experience

Learn the top five outcomes we typically hear from enterprises about how their modern approach to access improves customer experience.

Security teams will look at authorization as part of a broader challenge around achieving Zero Trust, and that makes sense.

However, when working with customer teams, the focus (and the word we hear often) is really access — access to information within applications.

Whether you use the word authorization or access the outcome of shifting to a modern approach is still the same. You have the opportunity to significantly improve your user experience, especially for your customers.

Here are the top five outcomes we typically hear from enterprises about how their modern approach to access improves customer experience.

1) Create adaptive user experiences

As we have all seen in our own purchase experiences, the more tailored a product can feel, the better the experience. Organizations (and consumers) are inundated with more subscriptions and products than they have ever had before.

Therefore, the more a product can provide a user experience that adapts to their personalized needs (e.g. pricing, localization, dynamic content relevant to their role) the better chance you have of retaining them as a long-term customer.

If access policies are tightly coupled with the application, building an adaptive user experience can be extremely difficult.

By decoupling access policies from the application itself, you can easily connect to different systems and dynamically change the user experience based on the user’s attributes (e.g. role, customer tier, location, etc.) without having to make any changes to the core product.

2) Provide instant access with accurate data

To have a successful experience, organizations want to ensure the user, customer or partner can get the right information at the right time.

In the past, application teams struggled to achieve this as they often duplicated data sources to try and achieve greater performance and fault tolerance.

Unfortunately, over the past couple of decades, this created a huge problem for organizations when it comes to presenting users with accurate insights. As more data sources get created, organizations struggle to understand the source of truth and increase their privacy risk by the day.

The goal of achieving a high performing experience that is also fault tolerant no longer requires data duplication.

By decoupling the access decision from the application with a high performing service (proven to handle thousands of decisions a second) that can go directly to the source of truth for data, application teams can be assured that they are presenting their users with accurate information.

3) Simplify user onboarding and registration

Onboarding is often the first impression users get of your product or service. It is through this process organizations can either create a delightful experience or a frustrating one.

By adopting a modern approach to access and decoupling policies from applications, product teams can assign attributes to users based on already existing variables.

For example, in a B2B (business-to-business) scenario where enterprises may have many different users using the product, there are options to consider leveraging attributes and variables from their own organization to inform access (e.g. roles, device etc.) via a single sign-on (SSO) approach.

Another way is by simplifying the user onboarding and registration experience as users are brought in the system. When organizations adopt a modern access control strategy, the user does not even realize access decisions are being made.

This is because the users do not have to answer twenty different questions to get access to their data as the context is driven by data already available to the organization.

For example – when letting a user login there are various questions that run in the background of the application, like where did you log in from? Have you filled out this information about your profile? Did you use things like one time passwords?

The goal is to find out if, based on the information collection, there is anything out of the ordinary, then making an intuitive decision based on trust. The user doesn’t see any of this going on and in the end they are either allowed access to the data/application or they are denied access.

4) Scale access to millions of users

When organizations build new applications, they often do not think past their initial users. As the organization grows, they will need to address how the application will support millions of transactions on a daily basis.

If not using a modern access control architecture, there can be a struggle to scale, particularly  if policies were only hard-coded into the application.

As the application scales, a failover is needed. More policy engines can be added, but you are still hard-coding everything into the application.

This can become ugly, but if you have a load balancer and run services eternally, you’ll find that as more people join the application, more services will be turned on automatically using modern development principles, which help with scaling.

5) Accelerate time-to-market for new product updates

Authorization can accelerate time-to-market for new product updates as the enterprise does not have to release a new version each time.

When using a modern access control architecture to define features and packaging, it makes it easier to make changes and updates. This is because the organization can make changes to policies in the authorization engine which are then pushed to the application instead of making changes to the application code itself.

If you consider how many applications each organization has, this can become an enormous time savings instead of making these changes on every application.

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About the author

As the chief product officer for Axiomatics, Mark is responsible for shaping the company’s innovation and product strategies. Mark has more than ten years of experience across product management, product marketing and business development, with companies including e-Share, Titus and Accenture.