Now it's truly universal support, so we can support any kind of field and we can map that data to any service. That lets us push that user profile data and integrate it across every application that a customer would want to do that to. That's a big change. We call that really opening up our directory and integrating our user profile data across all the user profile data for the applications in our network.
InfoWorld: What's the real-world benefit?
McKinnon: It enables every application that the company is using to have the user information. So there will be no system that an employee uses, or no system that a customer uses, that doesn't have, say, their phone number in it.
Right now our customers have a really basic problem. The HR system has their address, but none of the other systems do. Neither the benefit system nor the employee Internet nor any of the other systems that need the address have it, so they have to reenter it. That's a pretty simple example, but it pervades many different company use cases, whether it's customer shipping information or all the things about a user that needs to be replicated across multiple systems. We've solved that problem now.
InfoWorld: What about control over what's shared and what isn't? How is that managed?
McKinnon: It's a rule. That's part of what we're releasing. The customer can specify rules that control what gets copied where. The end-user has some control as well, but the main paradigm is that it's a rules-driven engine.
InfoWorld: Let's move onto the competitive landscape. Salesforce recently announced an identity management system. Do you see it as a threat?
McKinnon: The actual announcement was a little over a year ago. It still isn't really out yet. It's always scary when someone big and powerful and with so much presence as Salesforce tries to compete with you. We looked at what it announced, though, and the company did none of the hard stuff. The best example is that, out of the box, it integrated 25 apps. It takes time to build this collection of integrations, and it also takes time to build a community of users like we have now that will contribute to a community-maintained app.
I think Salesforce is great. I mean, I worked there for a long time. I know a lot of people there. It's an amazing company. I just think it has a lot to do. It has a chance to be a company like SAP. It could dominate several big application categories, and I think what you're seeing is it's going to dabble in a lot of different things.
InfoWorld: What about Microsoft? It's coming on pretty strong in the cloud right now, and after all, it's the Active Directory company. Ultimately, isn't it going to rule in this space?