Customer may have a need to link to a website's interior pages beyond the home page. Deep linking provides a method for efficiently directing a user to a context specific web page that may be several layers deep in a web site beyond the site's home page.
If the home page = www.symantec.com
A deep link that could be used would be = www.symantec.com/business/support/page.html
Another popular use of deep linking involves the Concur Expense Reporting application. Often email notifications are sent out to managers to notify them of a pending staff member's expense report. Deep linking enables the manager to be taken directly to the desired report without having to manually navigate to it from the application's home page, saving half a dozen mouse clicks, while providing user specific content.
The use of deep linking is often born out of a need to reduce the number of clicks a user must endure to navigate to a desired resource. Thus, saving time and achieving accuracy in delivering the user to the intended resource.
As this topic relates to SAML, this means that when a user initially lacks authentication, they are redirected to the Identity Provider (IdP) for authentication (AuthN). Upon successful AuthN, the user is redirected back to the originally requested URL that resides interior to the site's home page.
For VIP Access Manager and O3:
Deep linking is achieved by passing the targeted URL to the IdP via the RelayState URL parameter
By definition, only SP-Initiated workflows support deep linking. Deep linking is not supported by IdP-Initiated work flows.
Not all SAML enabled applications work with deep linking. Not all application vendors support SP-Initiated work flows.
If this functionality is required by your organization, please confirm with the application vendor that they support deep links when SAML is used. Many application vendors provide SSO Implementation Guides that layout the conditions and parameters to enable such support.