With Okta handling workforce and customer identity, Navan can focus on innovation

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2900+

employees across 40 markets using Okta to access their work

50%

reduction in password reset requests

One

single data set for workforce and customer identity

  • Overall business challenges
  • Evaluation/why Okta
  • Implementation as it relates to GTM initiatives
  • Success story
  • What’s next
Overall business challenges

Growing beyond in-house identity management 

Navan experienced a meteoric rise after it put power back into the hands of travellers with its innovative travel and expense platform. Success came at a time when identity-based attacks were on the rise, however. To keep sensitive customer data secure, the team knew they would have to upgrade their in-house customer identity and access management (IAM) system.

Evaluation/why Okta

Better together: Centralising workforce and customer IAM

Navan implemented Okta’s Workforce Identity Cloud to streamline processes and secure the internal environment while the company was in hypergrowth. When it was time to upgrade customer identity, Okta’s Customer Identity Cloud was the clear choice. Using the two solutions together increased visibility and control over IAM across the company, reducing security risks while simultaneously simplifying access and reducing friction.

 

Implementation as it relates to GTM initiatives

A single identity data set = faster response times. 

Centralising customer and workforce identity on Okta gives the Navan team an end-to-end understanding of identity security—a single data set to work with so that when threats occur, response times are minimal. With Okta handling customer identity, Navan developers can put all their energy toward building a world-class T&E platform.

Success story

All about the customer, all the time

The Okta Customer Identity Cloud makes it easy for Navan developers to integrate with business customers and get them up and running quickly. With Okta’s vendor-neutral approach, the Navan team can build their stack their way, and tailor their identity solution to their unique business needs and to those of their business customers.

What’s next

Replacing friction with trust

The list of Okta benefits for Navan goes on: Reduced password resets, improved scalability, the ability to quickly launch new products and integrate acquisitions. Okta’s role in helping the company build and maintain customer trust, however, is foundational. Today, the Navan team is minimising the friction between normally opposed ideas, replacing it with streamlined processes, transparency, and trust.

Navan experienced massive success when it disrupted the travel and expense (T&E) space and put power back into the hands of travelers. But to scale quickly and also keep customer data secure, it needed to move beyond in-house customer identity. The company had implemented Okta Workforce Identity Cloud in 2019, and after evaluating Okta Customer Identity Cloud, the benefits of using them both together were clear: Faster resolution of security threats, streamlined processes, greater focus on the core T&E business, and a rock-solid strategy for building and maintaining customer trust.

Okta’s Customer Identity Cloud has been critical to our success as we continue to scale and grow globally. It enables an easy, frictionless, and secure experience that’s vital to our customers.

Kim Huffman, CIO

In 2015, Navan disrupted the travel and expense (T&E) space with its technology-forward platform. The simple, consumer-grade interface put power back into the hands of travellers, while offering business customers improved visibility and simplified compliance. 

The company’s obsessive focus on delighting customers led to its meteoric rise during a time when identity-based attacks were also increasing. Because Navan collects payment information, personal identifying information (PII), and other sensitive data, its in-house customer identity and access management (IAM) solution soon proved inadequate.

Navan had implemented Okta’s Workforce Identity Cloud (WIC) In 2019, to help streamline processes and secure the internal environment while the company was in hypergrowth. “Okta helps us make sure the employee experience is frictionless—that they always have access to the systems they need to be productive,” says CIO Kim Huffman. 

Three years later, when it was time to upgrade customer identity, Okta’s Customer Identity Cloud (CIC) was the obvious choice. Using Okta WIC and CIC together increased visibility and control over IAM across the company’s IT systems, reducing customer and employee security risks while simultaneously simplifying access and reducing friction. 

It’s a recipe for building and maintaining customer trust over time. Freed from identity concerns, Navan developers can now focus on building a world-class T&E platform.

Identity’s role in maintaining customer trust

Trust is paramount to the Navan brand, and that means delighting customers by exceeding their expectations as well as keeping customer information secure. “Without a certain level of customer trust, we essentially couldn’t have a business,” says Kelly Soderlund, Senior Director of Corporate Communications.

As the company grew, the importance of identity became clear. “Every customer has different needs and requirements, and our job is to recognise and meet those needs wherever they are, on whatever device they are using,” says Chris Price, head of business technology at Navan. “You can only do that if you take an identity-first approach.”

It made sense for the team to centralise IAM and partner with the leader in the space. “Ease of use, ease of integration with our customers, as well as reputation in the space—that all played a role in our decision to centralise on Okta for customer and workforce identity,” says Huffman.

“From a security perspective, it’s critical to have a central identity strategy to protect against evolving threats,” says Prabhath Karanth, head of customer trust and security. “As a company collecting customer data, Navan is responsible for meeting a number of certifications and compliance requirements, and identity is central to all of that. It’s also a starting point for in-depth stack defence and zero trust.” 

Workforce and customer identity: Better together

Centralising customer and workforce identity on Okta gives the Navan team an end-to-end understanding of identity security—a single data set to work with. “It’s a huge advantage when security issues pop up,” says Price. “Having all that data holistically across the system, rather than having to segment and look at things individually, helps us resolve issues much faster—and speed is always critical when you’re under attack.”

With Okta handling customer identity, Navan developers can put all their energy toward building a world-class T&E platform. “That’s exactly where they should be focused,” says Huffman. “Having Okta in place sets us up for more innovation.”

“We are not an identity company,” she says. “If we were building our own identity cloud, we wouldn’t be enhancing it, investing in it and focusing on it like Okta is.”

All about the customer, all the time

The Okta Customer Identity Cloud for SaaS Apps includes the Workforce Enterprise Connection feature, which makes it easy for Navan developers to integrate with business customers. For them, it means their employee travellers face less friction, so they’re more likely to use the app and stay compliant with company travel policies. For Navan, it means more users on the platform, increased business value, and increased adoption, travellers, bookings, and revenue. 

With Okta’s vendor-neutral approach, the Navan team can build their stack their way, and tailor their identity solution to their unique business needs—all of which syncs beautifully with Navan’ approach to its own customers. “We give our travel and expense managers a lot of flexibility and also a lot of control over their T&E policies,” says Huffman. 

CIC’s Organisations feature makes it simple for Navan business customers to configure custom, organisation-based IAM branding and policies within their T&E solution. “We have some highly regulated customers and others with a higher risk tolerance,” says Karanth. “With Okta CIC, we can tailor their service to the level of security that they need.” 

As an early Okta customer, Karanth has followed the company’s evolution over the past seven years. “The beauty of Okta innovation is that it’s based on customer needs,” he says. “I’m always amazed at how well their product road map aligns with what I’m thinking about.”  

Replacing friction with trust

The Navan team recounts a long list of additional Okta benefits: Reduced password resets, scalability, the ability to launch new products and onboard acquisitions with speed and agility. Okta’s role in helping the company build and maintain customer trust, however, is foundational to the relationship. “As we add new customers, we can offer them the same security that we provide for ourselves,” says Soderlund. 

If you think of trust as a matter of reducing friction between potentially opposing ideas, you begin to see clearly how Okta is delivering for the Navan team: For Karanth, Okta reduces security risks while enabling more robust revenue opportunities. For Huffman, Okta helps Navan deliver a stable, reliable product with speed and flexibility. For Price, Okta offers easy access to a wealth of applications and processes, while safeguarding customer data with strict, zero trust security policies. 

“Normally, the tension between security and access creates a lot of friction,” Price says, “but with the Okta platform, that’s gone.”