Apr 4, 2019 in Profiles in Leadership by DIACC

Profiles in Identity Leadership: Allan Foster

In our recent ‘Profiles in Leadership’ video, Joni Brennan had a conversation with Allan Foster, who is a DIACC Director and VP of Global Partner Success at ForgeRock. The two discussed identity innovation, open banking and Canada’s collaborative approach.

ForgeRock, a digital identity management platform, is headquartered in San Francisco, CA, but is active across the globe.

Allan highlighted the importance of the Canadian community. “We are very involved in the DIACC for the reason that we see Canada as a major leader within the space…Canada is the looking glass for the entire planet.”

He pointed out that Canada’s relatively small size (about 35 million identities across the country) make it a manageable size with which to “do a project and succeed, however, it’s also complex enough to be interesting.” Multiple governments (federal and municipal) add additional complexities.

“If we tried to do this in the U.S., we would spend the next 20 years trying to get a committee together,” he said. “If we get it right in Canada, that model can then scale up around the world.”  

The Government of Canada recently ran a consultation for open banking to better understand the issues around it and how Canada would develop its strategy. As ForgeRock was a key contributor to DIACC’s response to the open banking consultation, Allan was asked why he sees identity and open banking as being so interlocked, or relevant to one another.

“What we’re now seeing is with the digital age, banks are needing to change the way they interact with their customers,” Allan said. He pointed to multiple, often competing entities (“frenemies”) within a sector. One group of banks may offer saving accounts to a certain group of customers, while another one offers credit cards to that same group of customers.

“If we get it right in Canada, that model can then scale up around the world.”

– Allan Foster

“Open banking traditionally is there because customers are feeling locked into silos. As those silos begin to open up, and the forward-thinking banks see an opportunity, the underlying thing that has to be rock-solid is identity.”

DIACC’s uniqueness as well as both public and private sector involvement drew Allan to the community. “We have all of these different stakeholders coming in with the realization that their problem is not unique, their problem is shared by everyone else in the country.  The benefit is for the country to come up with a solution that works for everybody, rather than the more mercenary approach of a technology that works for a company and everyone else gets left in the dust.”