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Managing Passwords, Speed Limits and Automobile Prices: Edmunds Drives Towards Success with Okta

Alyssa Smrekar
Director, Customer Marketing

edmunds.com Your car’s dashboard is fully equipped with the tools you need to drive safely, under the speed limit, with enough oil and in the right direction (hopefully you don’t need help with that, though). The folks at Edmunds.com know a thing or two about these dashboards, as they provide prices for new and used vehicles of every type and stripe. But when it came to application dashboards, they needed assistance from an identity management provider. They turned to Okta.

Much like their “True Market Value” pricing tool that eliminates the stress of haggling for a sale, Okta eliminates the hassle of app log-in and helps IT manage app access. We sat down with Phil Potloff, Edmunds.com’s CIO and COO, so he could explain how Okta helps to streamline access to applications in the automobile industry.

How do you select the apps that you adopt for your employees, and why did you need an identity management solution?

Our internal IT team has shifted from a systems focus to a service focus. And as part of that, there’s been a proliferation of cloud-based applications that have come into Edmunds in recent months. We chose Okta because we had an explosion of cloud-based applications in our environment and really no effective way to manage user accounts and service requests related to those new applications.

Are you seeing benefits of bringing on Okta? If so, what are they?

Our employees can work from any location and with the many cloud-based applications that they use in their daily work. Now their jobs are much simpler. Offering a pure cloud-based solution, Okta really understands how companies use the cloud in today’s world. When you have dozens of cloud applications and dozens more on-premises custom-built tools, keeping those together for your employees in a usable way is a pretty difficult task to manage. Okta provides a simple way for our IT team to keep all of those services together for our employees.

When you’re talking about your employees, do you mean your external sales team as well?

Yes, our sales team servicing more than 10,000 dealers is not only external, but completely based in the field. They rely on more than 30 cloud applications to get their job done by accessing our tools to demonstrate the value of our offering to clients, and our team at the corporate office is responsible for provisioning them. With Okta, we’re able to start opening our internal applications to our 10,000 dealer customers by syncing the identities of all applications, and bringing them under a single login. Not to mention, Okta simplifies the process of adding new services through acquisition, which is hugely beneficial.

With Okta, we’ve also been able to better tailor the applications that we provide the sales team, for example, we built a reporting tool – that’s designed with our brand, usability, and design elements in mind. We also have plans to build a dealer portal to further simplify the way we add new tools for our sales team and dealer clients.

mapsWhy did you go with Okta’s identity management solution over your other options?

When we were looking at single sign-on vendors, there really wasn’t anyone else like Okta that offered a pure cloud-based solution, and that really understood how companies were using the cloud in today’s world. When you have dozens of cloud applications and dozens more on-premises custom-built tools, keeping those together in a usable way for your employees is a pretty difficult task to manage. Okta provides a simple way for our IT team to keep all of those services together for our employees.

Adding new applications is the achilles heel of any single sign-on or identity management implementation. Okta already has thousands of applications already built into their network. When you ask them about adding new applications to their portfolio their response isn’t the typical “that’s on our roadmap for Q2 of next year”. Instead it’s “yep, we can manage that in a few weeks,” or “we have a lot of good options to get that running very quickly.”

How did you know you made the right choice?

Okta’s claim was ease of implementation and their service, and to put that to the test we assigned the implementation to one of our college interns. And he was able to get it up and running within a few days, without any help by the more senior staff. And it doesn’t hurt that the staff love it. I was walking by our Edmunds IT “pitstop”, which is a genius bar-like service we offer, and someone who was being trained on the Okta service yelled out to me, “Hey Phil! I love Okta. It’s so cool.”

Alyssa Smrekar
Director, Customer Marketing

Alyssa Smrekar is our Director of Customer Marketing at Okta. She is responsible for advocacy programs, customer engagement and events. Alyssa manages Okta's annual customer conference Oktane and considers it the best 3 days of the year! She's passionate about getting to know Okta's customers and highlighting their journeys across a variety of channels, both online and in-person. 

Prior to Okta, Alyssa managed field marketing and online demand generation programs at VMware, SpringSource, VerticalResponse and BlueBird Marketing. Alyssa graduated from UC Berkeley (Go Bears!) and currently lives in San Francisco.

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