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With Great Choice Comes Great Responsibility

Eric Berg

Corporate IT and the services they manage have undergone tremendous change in the past decade. The number of applications has grown to accommodate new verticals, new business functions and more recently apps of all types are “going social.” Employees no longer work from desktops behind the firewall and enterprise IT is increasingly involved in managing partner and customer access to their services. But perhaps the biggest change has been the now broad scale adoption of cloud applications that span every critical business function.

As recent as five years ago, a company could purchase the majority of their enterprise applications from a pretty small set of enterprise software vendors. Whether it was an Enterprise Resource Planning solution (ERP), email and collaboration software, or systems for issue tracking, project management and help desk, it was likely that they were sold and supported by Microsoft, Oracle, IBM or SAP.

The move to the cloud has given rise to functional innovation across all traditional enterprise application categories and has resulted in a proliferation of vendors that provide one or a small number of applications.

  • Cloud CRM is dominated by Salesforce.com, but also includes more specialized vendors in and around CRM such as Callidus, Clicktools, InsideView, Parature, Sugar CRM and Veeva.
  • Content Management includes vendors such as Agilewords, Box, Brightcove, Cloudapp, Dropbox, Sugarsync and YouSendIt
  • Human Capital Management (HCM) is made up of ISVs such as ADP, Bullhorn, Cornerstone, Guru, Halogen, Jobvite, Limeade, OnForce, Paychex, Replicon, SuccessFactors, Taleo, Ultipro and Workday.
  • Messaging & Collaboration counts as vendors @task, AgileZen, BrightIdea, CentralDesktop, Disqus, eFax, Fonality, GoToMeeting, Huddle, InterCall, Liquidplanner, MySurveyLab, Notable, PBWorks, RingCentral, Sharefile, Twilio and Webex.

In addition, the impact of social networks on businesses has resulted in widespread enterprise use of prosumer applications such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

While the use of these cloud applications eliminates the hassle of dealing with hardware, middleware and software deployments, the rise of such a variety of applications from a variety of vendors introduces complexity.  IT must take on more responsibility for integrating and managing access across all of these applications because the vendors are not doing that themselves.

And that’s where Okta comes in. The Okta Application Network comes pre-integrated to more than 1,000 business and prosumer applications (all of those named above are included) – we are doing the integration so you don’t have to.

That means that with Okta, IT has one central place to manage access and identity across all of these applications and it means end users don’t have to know that there are now 30 or 40 vendors instead of three or four.

Like these SaaS applications, Okta itself is a 100-percent on-demand solution. Okta’s catalogue includes many of the most popular cloud applications, covering a wide span of categories for different industry verticals and our multi-tenant architecture allows us to quickly and efficiently integrate with new vendors as they arise. Further our integration to Microsoft Active Directory (AD) means that you only have to integrate to AD once, and Okta federates that integration to your other apps.

In a cloud-first world, IT is faced with greater innovation and greater choice but also greater responsibility to aggregate and integrate these applications so that the business can truly harness the power of the cloud.