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Embracing The Cloud: Why Overstock.com Went Shopping for Okta

Alyssa Smrekar
Director, Customer Marketing

Whether you’re looking for a new pair of shoes, a bed-in-a-bag or maybe even a new wall-mounted ironing board, chances are you can find it on Overstock.com, where more than one million products are sold. Not only is its product catalog expansive, but leading online retailer Overstock.com also promises to deliver the best online deals, so customers don’t have to spend their own time investigating discounts, promotions and prices.

But competitive pricing is just one benefit of shopping on Overstock.com. The company continuously innovates to improve the way consumers make purchases and suppliers distribute products. To better serve customers and improve the shopping experience, Overstock.com’s 1,500 employees rely on a myriad of cloud applications from Workday to WebEx and ServiceNow. In order to manage and securely access the growing list of cloud and mobile applications, Overstock.com turned to Okta.

We sat down with Carter Lee, Overstock.com’s CTO, to find out how Okta has shaped the company’s use of cloud technology.

 

What’s your approach to cloud applications? And how have you transitioned?

Overstock.com is a young company, only 15 years old, but we still have a lot of infrastructure that we’re gradually replacing with more efficient systems. Usually those replacement tools are a hosted application, software-as-a-service or some other cloud functionality. We’ve embraced the cloud completely. It’s allowed us to start creating a network in which all of our applications work seamlessly together in a way that wasn’t possible a few years ago.

What was the average employee’s opinion of IT before implementing Okta? How has that changed?

IT was often seen as a roadblock before we started working with Okta. Employees were frustrated with provisioning and deprovisioning and they were swamped with URLs, usernames and passwords. The cloud offers some really great applications, but it also requires a lot of different logins and security hurdles. I wanted IT to have a good reputation and be known as an enabler. IT should be a tool that helps employees get their jobs done, not something that gets in the way.

How did you know Okta’s identity management solution was the right fit?

A few years ago we purchased an identity solution to take on some of these problems, but it never went live for a myriad of reasons. It was a really sore point for us, so it took us awhile to start looking for another solution.

We looked into several different identity management solutions, one of which was Okta. It was clear pretty early on that Okta was the right fit for us because it was able to serve our immediate needs transitioning old infrastructure and connecting applications with a single network and what I anticipated to be future needs. I knew we had some new applications coming and Okta was going to be able to provision those new tools quickly and easily. Okta was the only solution that met both current and future needs.

What makes Okta stand out from the competition?

One thing that really stood out to me was the company culture and employees. They’re dedicated to helping when problems arise and go above and beyond, helping us find new ways to use Okta that we may not have thought of before. Another major advantage Okta has over other solutions is its ability to provision applications in 15 to 20 minutes.

Okta understand the cloud and where it’s headed. They’re constantly innovating, which is why it’s clear to me that they have a big future ahead of them. Okta has the right vision and there’s no other company I’d rather be solving problems with.

What is your favorite feature Okta offers?

It’s hard to pinpoint a single favorite feature. At first, I was most excited about Okta’s ability to consolidate all of your usernames and passwords into one. That was the main reason employees wanted me to look into Okta. But I knew that Okta could do much more than that. For me, the ability to provision and deprovision quickly is my favorite feature. I also like knowing that these applications are secure no matter when or where users are accessing them. That’s huge. To hear the rest of Carter’s interview, check out the the video on our customer testimonial page.

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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