It's Beginning to Cost a Lot Like Christmas

John Milburn
John Milburn
  • Dec 19, 2019
  • 4 min read

While it's the most wonderful time of the year. It can also be the most stressful. For 11 months, we struggle to keep up on the treadmill of our over-scheduled lives. Enter December. The final month throws holidays into the mix, demanding time and effort you may struggle to find. Should you fail, the repercussions can be felt for months after.

When purchasing gifts for everyone and anyone in your life during the holiday season, I tend to agree with the sentiment of "it's the thought that counts." But the reality is the holidays are all about giving the best of the best. Deciding what to give loved ones is difficult in our already busy lives. Yet every year we set out to heroically meet this goal by hitting mostly online stores - after all, it's a new age of modernization - with seasonal fury. And I firmly believe there's an unsung hero hidden amid the battle to accomplish a happy holiday - effective Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM).

I will illustrate with a few totally fictional anecdotes (in case my wife is reading this).

What is her ring size again?

My wife likes jewelry, but I only purchase it for her a few times a year, December being the big one. Like most humans, if I only use a piece of information once or twice a year, then I simply cannot remember it. Hypothetically, let's assume a good example of a critical piece of holiday information is ring size. Giving a gift in the wrong size does not make for a merry Christmas, but what's the alternative? Asking my wife for her ring size year after year? I think not. This is where CIAM comes to the rescue. A relatively quick log-in (more on this later) to the brand historical preference makes everything about my past purchases - and my wife's preferences - easily accessible. With CIAM, I can quickly refresh my memory on critical pieces of information to make a swift, thoughtful purchase.

Who was my favorite pet last Christmas?

Let's talk about that quick log-in. If I am too dense to remember the love of my life's ring size, what are the chances I will remember my password for a website I use once or twice a year? At first log-in attempt, I am faced with the reality that "membering" passwords is hard, and I cannot log-in. I could call customer service if only I wasn't already on a conference call multitasking.

Again, this is where effective CIAM is more useful than even Rudolph on a foggy night. This brand has the foresight to add self-service capabilities to their digital storefront, meaning I can prove my identity and reset my password with just a few clicks. It also means this brand completed a sale it may not have if I had to call a real person.

Not another scarf

It's extremely challenging for me to find new and unique things to purchase my loved ones. While there are many safe bets - for instance, jewelry - an element of surprise is required to make the holidays extra magical. Unfortunately, inspiration often strikes at inconvenient times. For example, let's imagine you are in a busy airport touching base with your spouse over the phone. During this call, the idea for a perfect gift becomes apparent. If you are like me, you need to act now, or the idea will float away like the ghost of Christmas past. In this completely fictitious example, I was pleased to realize the brand in question had a mobile application I could use to transact in motion. Additionally, I was able to register by using existing social media credentials, saving me minutes of frustrated typing with my hot dog fingers on a tiny keyboard. The purchase of this gift depended on the brand's availability on multiple channels, further reducing friction by allowing me to identify myself with my Facebook log-in information.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and are able to exercise careful consideration and affection in your gift-giving during this hectic time of year. My only ask is that as you are leaving out milk and cookies for Santa, you take a moment to thank effective CIAM for your wonderful holiday season. By shaving off the rough edges of our memories and making it easier to forge new brand relationships, I believe CIAM is the unsung hero of the season.

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