I recently read an interesting article by Ericka Chickowski“Facebook vs. Salesforce: An Identity Smackdown?” at Dark Reading. The article explores many intriguing points:

  • Facebook IDs may be used on a wide number of websites/apps today
  • Expect Facebook to move more into the enterprise, and potentially IAM
  • However, the enterprise isn’t straightforward; it’s complexities could keep Facebook out
  • Salesforce is well positioned to become an IAM player since it’s rooted in enterprise
  • Many organizations use Salesforce today, so it has become quite ubiquitous
  • Salesforce is already making some strides in the identity space (see my previous blog on SFDC IAM)
  • There are pros and cons for both, so it’s a “smackdown” that will definitely take some time


Being a typical Internet consumer, a business user of Salesforce, and a user of traditional enterprise apps, I can relate to this debate. So, it looks like a question of wide versus. deep, in relation to each other.

Facebook is wide, in that they store TONS of IDs, and are integrated all across the Web as many sites use them for user identification. However, they remain shallow when it comes to enterprise functionality.

Conversely, Salesforce is quite deep in the enterprise today, but quite narrow when it comes to integration across a number of applications or sites. Simply, they just don’t have the critical mass like Facebook.

Who will prevail? Well, at this point, it is a hard comparison.

I believe both are poised to disrupt the IAM space. They’ll essentially take much of the traditional IAM functionality and bake it in to their cloud platforms.

Facebook will be successful in the enterprise. Why? Consumerization. Many of us are living consumerization today. Heard of mobile devices like iPads, iPhones, tablets, etc.? These devices weren’t meant for the enterprise — certainly not out of the gates. And you know what? Neither was Facebook.

Did Apple struggle to get into the enterprise? No, they were pulled in. Apple isn’t perfect in the enterprise, but it works. And IT departments make it work. And it’s all because of user demands. (I do think the C-suite helped move things along here.)

Overall, I believe Facebook has the potential to become much more dominant in this area over Salesforce. They have the critical mass behind them and the expertise and intellect to execute. And if Bring-your-own-ID (BYOID) borrows some momentum from the BYOD movement, it could be wind in Facebook’s sails. Because many of us have Facebook IDs, it could be a logical step for BYOID programs.

Mobile, social, cloud and data. We all know enterprise IT is changing. It has to. But does that mean a complete blurring of consumer interests and enterprise IT? These movements will certainly influence IAM. If we can learn anything from mobile and cloud movements, it would seem the answer is a hesitant, “yes.”

Entrust Datacard