What Manufacturers Need From Their Partner Identity Management Solution

Oren Harel
September 1, 2021

We’re living in a digital-first world, and the manufacturing industry is no exception. Digital, cloud-native solutions have taken the place of the binders and books that manufacturing (and every other) businesses once used to use. In 2019, U.S. manufacturers’ B2B eCommerce sales skyrocketed by over 21% and in 2020, sales grew by 10.9% generating nearly $9 trillion.

Most manufacturers rely on distributors and other 3rd party supply chain partners for a significant portion of their sales and day to day operations. And these partners are increasingly relying on online channels to make their sales more efficient. As a result, every manufacturer hoping to keep pace with the competition and attract the best partners needs to offer scalable, digital solutions that partners can use.  

Partner Identity Management solutions are a significant step to addressing the expectations of manufacturing businesses in 2021 and beyond. But what exactly is B2B Access Management and what should you look for when choosing a B2B Access Management solution?

What is B2B Access Management and how does it help manufacturers?

Partner Identity Management is a solution for managing 3rd party identity and access to your applications, portals and digital assets. Basically, it is a solution to give external users access to your data. Partners can manage their own users’ access to resources that you own

Partner Identity Management solutions are designed to enable continuous business engagement by introducing a delegated model for identity and access management. In this model, partners can manage their own users’ access to resources that you own, in a self-service manner. 

Partner Identity Management solutions minimize the effort necessary on everyone’s part to ensure that your partners can access what they need to work with your business, while at the same time protecting sensitive information and systems from unauthorized access.

At a time when manufacturing B2B eCommerce sales are growing rapidly -- indeed, much faster than manufacturing sales in general -- a B2B Access Management solution that efficiently manages access rights is an essential ingredient for manufacturing business success.

The 5 key features manufacturers need from their IAM

Although all Partner Identity Management systems deliver the core feature of access controls for partner organizations, these solutions are not created equally. When selecting a Partner Identity Management platform for manufacturing, look for a solution that delivers the following core features.

1. End-to-end partner identity management

Partner Identity Management is a multi-step process. It starts with identifying a partner organization and assigning access rights to it. From there, partners need to invite new users and assign them specific permissions. And access rights must be updated on a recurring basis as the roles of individual users or organizations within your partner network change. For example, sales team leaders can place purchase orders but sales executives can only access the quotes and marketing materials.

A goodPartner Identity Management solution allows you to manage the complete partner lifecycle. From governing and managing all partners in a centrally consolidated display to delegating user access control to the partner to allow a self-service access model. The last stage in the lifecycle is revoking access to users that should no longer have access to your system. This is particularly challenging in regards to 3rd party identity and access since in many events you will simply not know when an individual has left your partner’s company. In the delegated model, partners can simply remove those users independently.  

2. Easy access to information

Partners may need to access a range of different types of information. Your Partner Identity Management solution should make it as easy as possible for partners to find what they need, without distracting them with irrelevant information.

That means that users should see only products or documentation that are relevant to them when they log into your partner portal. If you have a multinational partner network, information should be presented to each of your partners in their language. If you have different items sold in different countries, users should only be able to see geographically relevant products for them. 

Your partners should be able to make it easy for users to search through resources via the portal. And, of course, the portal should be easy to navigate, with integrated search, browsing and discovery features.

3. Simple request management/support ticketing

Although Partner Identity Management automates many aspects of the partner management process, there will always be requests from partners that you need to handle manually. When this happens, your Partner Identity Management system should make it as simple as possible to respond.

For example, if a partner has forgotten a password, your Partner Identity Management portal should allow the delegated admin who is responsible for handling these requests to respond quickly and easily. An issue like this should not become a generic support ticket that your IT team needs to handle.

If your partners can’t handle requests quickly and efficiently, they become inefficient and that translates into lost revenue. This in turn increases the likelihood that they will choose to work with your competitors.

4. Security

Any Partner Identity Management system worth its salt needs advanced, integrated security features. User requests should require authentication and authorization.

The system should also offer access controls that let you specify on a case-by-case basis or by a defined set of rules which resources each partner organization can access. Likewise, organizations should be able to assign access rights to their own internal users to ensure that every stakeholder can obtain the resources he or she needs, while at the same time avoiding unnecessary access.

5. Audit trails and analytics

You can enhance security further through audit trails and analytics within your Partner Identity Management solution. The portal should allow you to see which partners and users are accessing when individual users log in and so on.

In addition to alerting you to unauthorized access, audit trails and analytics also help you understand which partners are most active within your system, and which resources they use most often. You can use this information to strengthen your partner relationships.

Partner Identity Management as the key to manufacturers online success

Partner Identity Management solutions like PlainID Partner Manager give manufacturers an advantage by delivering an end-to-end IAM solution designed to support the business needs of 2021, security and auditing features necessary to address every stage of partner lifecycle management.

From organization onboarding, to permissions delegation, to permissions updates, Partner Manager ensures that you can work as efficiently with your partners over the entire course of each business relationship.

See for yourself by requesting a free trial.

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