Seems to be a fair bit of hype and marketing about the supposed "new" area of Identity Management called "Entitlement Management" and a particular startup called Securent. InternetNews.com, NetworkWorld and DigitalIDWorld (to name a few) have all talked about it as being the "new frontier" even suggesting that Securent is the only startup in this area.
I beg to differ and I'd be willing to bet any vendor or startup out there dealing in network or application access control will no doubt have something to say about that. It's just that it hasn't been marketed well enough in the past. This type of "entitlement management" technology has been around for YEARS. In fact, many of the access management products on the market are built on this type of idea and most offer APIs to allow the externalisation of entitlements. The only thing missing with many of the existing products out there is an XACML interface into them - and I dare say this is being rectified in a hurry.
All the hype-mongers out there should look a little deeper into the solutions out there before "announcing" the arrival of the "next big NEW technologies" and further adding to the hype. Perhaps organisations are starting to take a look at "entitlement management", but it's not new. The only thing that's happening at the moment is that marketing is catching up with the technology. Maybe the marketing departments have leaped on this concept as the next thing to go after because most of the other areas have been marketed to death.
It kind of makes sense because vendors are now beginning to work their way down the application stack in the identity space. Perhaps market research has also helped determine that the security maturity lifecycle of organisations is at this stage in their identity and access implementations. Regardless of the reason, the industry seems to have reached the point where it makes sense to specifically market fine-grained authorisation as a key component. In the past, this was simply "value-add".
InternetNews.com goes so far as saying some vendors don't have solutions in the "entitlement management" space and singles out IBM in particular. The writer of that article should really do his research a bit better. I have a tip for him - go read up on IBM Tivoli Access Manager.