2017 was a successful and productive year for the Shibboleth Consortium, growing significantly in membership from 21 to 40, expanding the Board and introducing new initiatives. Addressing the challenge of an unfavorable financial position in 2016, the year began with the introduction of planned fee increases for Consortium membership – the first since the Consortium’s inception. We are extremely grateful to all our members, each one of whom reacted positively to the fee increase and maintained their membership.
In order to share more information about the Consortium and to maintain and attract new members, the Consortium has been represented at a number of events throughout the year, including TIIME, TNC, TechX, the Global NREN CEO forum and IAM Online as well as hosting webinars. This engagement with the community enabled us to gather ideas and feedback, determining where our value lies and to adapt accordingly to the requirements of Shibboleth users.
It became clear we had four key areas to address: Growing the membership so as to increase financial stability; provide a greater level of benefit to members; focus the efforts of the development team; and recognise the value of the support provided by the development team. In response, we introduced a revision to the support model, under which only members of the Consortium have direct access to support from the development team on a subsidized basis. This new model has led to significant growth in membership, and, we believe, satisfied the other criteria.
As the Consortium has grown, so has the Board, with representation of five NRENs, two member-representatives and a development team representative.
The consortium begins 2018 with the introduction of a new membership category for multi-site academic organisations, i.e. those with multiple campuses and a shared Shibboleth system. This new category aims to benefit multi-site academic organisations such that all their campuses may be represented by a single membership, rather than each campus joining individually, making significant savings whilst gaining access to the aforementioned support model.
With a much stronger financial position, we are also looking to increase development effort and enhance Shibboleth further to the needs of the community. None of this would be possible without the support of our members, donors and partners. We are hugely grateful to everyone who has contributed to Shibboleth over the past 12 months, and look forward to working with you in the year to come.