Friday, October 28, 2011

IBM Dropping Tivoli Brand from IAM Suite

I just read this story on Network World about IBM's plans to make Q1 Labs' Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) product, QRadar SIEM, one of the centrepieces of the newly formed IBM Security Systems division. IBM announced the acquisition of Q1 Labs and the formation of the new Security Systems division in the same press release earlier this month.

The news was a bit pedestrian until I read the following:
"IBM is dropping the 'Tivoli' name from the Identity and Access Management suite"
Of course, I did a double-take. As an ex-Tivoli-ean who went around spruiking the virtues of TIM and TAM, I was taken aback. To quote the great John McEnroe:
Years of goodwill (alright, and some bad when stuff didn't work the way we promised they would - but we always fixed it) and brand awareness thrown away. It also means people will no longer be able to deliver one of these Tim Tams to the customer as a joke instead of actual Identity & Access Management software.

IBM Identity Manager and IBM Access Manager just don't have the same ring. The resulting acronyms are harder to pronounce, and downright confusing, respectively. IIM and IAM. Go around talking about "IIM" and people will think you missed a word and uttered something random in place of said missing word. Either that or they'll ask if you have something stuck in your throat and whether you'd like some water. Talk about "IAM" and people in security will assume you are talking about "Identity & Access Management", not "IBM Access Manager", which only partially fulfils the "AM" part of the real IAM.

This "IIM" and "IAM" talk presents a decent enough segue to the fact that the acronym for IBM's new Security Systems division is "ISS", as opposed to Internet Security Systems (ISS), whom IBM acquired over 5 years ago and then re-branded IBM Internet Security Systems (IBM ISS). The old ISS (Internet Security Systems) technology is no doubt going to be rolled into the new ISS (IBM Security Systems) along with the IAM (Identity & Access Management, not IBM Access Manager) suite that is no longer Tivoli and the Q1 Labs technology.

At this point, you may want to take a break. Your brain must be hurting from that last paragraph...

And, we're back.

While we're on confusing branding, which IBM is no doubt very good at, I'll take this time to note something else IBM is also very good at: bad product names. IBM recently released an add-on to Tivoli, oops, I mean IBM Identity Manager, called Role and Policy Modeler (RaPM). Gees, IBM. Why didn't you just call it "Role and Policy Enforcement Modeler"? I'll leave it to the reader to work that acronym out.

So, IBM, seriously...WTF?

Alas, it is with some sadness that I must now bid adieu to "TIM TAM" and welcome, rather begrudgingly, "IIM IAM". I just said that out loud. Must. Wash. Mouth. Out.


Editauren said...

I suppose it doesn't help matters that IAM's is also a brand of pet food?

Ellie Kesselman said...

Two more points of confusion regarding the brand naming of IBM Access Manager occurred to me after reading your quite interesting post.

1. IAM evokes thoughts of Reddit's IAMa first-person confessional type post. Not that significant, though. Not nearly as problematic as Role and Policy Modeler, for which RPM is preferable to the acronym actually designated. I do prefer your suggestion of Role and Policy Enforcement, as there is no ambiguity whatsoever. A catchy and inoffensive acronym would be RoPoE. Sounds friendly and jolly. But then, so did Tivoli. Reminded me of Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, and was just an all-around good name choice by IBM.

2. As you mentioned, IAM also means Identity and Access Management. As a result, I was TOTALLY confused when I read this

from CA the other day. I read the IBM Mainframe blog on TypePad, and notice CA people, well one CA person, leave comments there. CA and IBM are in a somewhat competitive position vis a vis each other, I surmise. So it is very confusing to read about CA using IAM and remember that this does not have any IBM co-venture implications. It clearly does not, but if I were in charge of things, I wouldn't want confusion of that sort to be a possibility.

So to summarize, IBM now has the following acronym'ed security related products and services: IAM, IIM, ISS and IBM ISS. Okaaaaay.....