Okta’s seamless AD handshake frees Teknion from laborious admin processes



John Comacchio: We're a manufacturer of high end office furniture. We are a mid-cap company. We have a world-wide footprint, so offices all over the world and manufacturing as well. We have the great challenge of servicing great customers, which are global 2000 customers. They have big expectations of us, and we want to meet their expectations. Technology is a big role in that.

Within IT at Teknion, one of the big strategies that we have is visual, virtual, mobile, and social. As you see, being here, our product is very visual. People want to see it, so we have to make sure that our systems allow the visual aspect of our product to really be seen and to be appreciated.

The virtual side really is cloud because we're world-wide and because we're a mid-cap company. We don't have all the resources of multi-nationals but we need time to market. We need to get to our customers fast and we need to get to our people fast around the globe, and cloud helps us with that.

Mobile is really a big part of it because we like to spend most of our time with our customers and servicing them. We want to make sure that our people have access to everything they need to help the customer, and mobile really meets that.

Of course the social aspect is really where the world is going, from a social communication perspective. People sit in our furniture, they love our furniture, and they want to talk about it. We want them to talk about it, and we want to encourage that social connection as well.

From the IT side, as we look at our infrastructure and look at how we do identity management, we found that we have a very traditional method. People had to VPN in, basically. Once you VPN in, you get into the data centre. Now that you're in my data centre, I have to now secure you one more time through active directory. There was a long, laborious administration process around who was where and how. Not to mention the delay and the frustration of trying to VPN in. As we roll the cloud apps and as we made our on-prem apps, cloud like, we had to look at a way to find this to be simpler. So we started looking at companies like Okta, and we discovered that this is the way to do it. We do so single sign-on in the cloud; let the cloud, Okta, handshake with the on-prem systems, the active directory, and let it do all the work seamlessly behind the scenes so that the actual consumer, our users, didn't feel that pain.

The top features I like about Okta is that it previsions automatically with certain clouds. We're a user of Box.com. It provisions automatically with Box, same with Salesforce. That automatic handshake makes life a lot easier for us. That is a great feature.

I think the second great feature is it allows us to connect to on-prem systems. It doesn't distinguish between cloud or legacy on-prem. Of course the handshake with active directory. It's a very seamless handshake. It doesn't have the laborious administration part of active directory. Once we set up AD once, and Okta handshakes, it's a single source. It makes it a lot easier for our IT folks and of course our end users. They just love the single sign-on, which seems to them to be a dream. We support that.

At Teknion, their IT departments focuses on visual, virtual, mobile and social – all very important things when you’re a manufacturer of high-end office furniture. But when it came to customers accessing their information, they realised the IT structure was very traditional, having to VPN in and then get secured by active directory. Now with Okta, all of Teknion’s apps integrate with the Okta directory. Now the single sign-on process is easy for all of their on-premise and cloud applications.