IBM has released a new version of its Tivoli Identity Manager software. The company said it was the product's first major update in more than two and a half years.

TIM 5.0 is used to manage user access rights and password information. It automates new account setups, offers users the ability to reset their passwords without an assist from a help-desk employee, and monitors for unauthorised changes.

A major focus of the update is speeding up deployment. The product features a range of guidelines, wizards and templates that can cut deployment times in half, claimed Joe Anthony, programme director of identity management for Tivoli.

However, administrators who desire the most fine-grained control over user access will still have it, according to Anthony. "We did not take those capabilities away from the administrator. If in a given area they need more capabilities, it is very easy to gain access to those capabilities," he said.

Matt Hickmott of Watson SCS, an identity- and access-management consultancy, was a beta tester on the 5.0 release. "I think the new functionality is very good," he said.

IBM's claim about reduced deployment time rings true, according to Hickmott. "It's probably about half. A lot of the customisations you used to do are already built in," he said.

Hickmott did single out one area of weakness, noting that the product's self-service user interface resides on the TIM 5.0 server. "Ideally, you'd have that outside TIM so people don't have access," he said.

Pricing for TIM 5.0 varies depending on the number of users managed or on a per-processor basis,