A Day in the Life of Bob Burke: From Successful Customer to Customer Success

Having previously spent eight years as a director of IT, Bob Burke — Okta's Director of Customer Success in EMEA — is by no means a stranger to the challenges that senior IT leaders face in today's cloud and mobile world. Introducing new technology can be a strenuous process, which is why the team at Okta strives to make the complex world of identity management as painless as possible.

We sat down with Bob to learn more about how he has transferred his past experience as an Okta customer to our customers today, and what made him make the shift from running an in-house IT team to joining Okta. Read on to learn more about Bob and his role helping customers connect in the cloud in our latest "Day in the Life" blog segment.

What do you do at Okta?

I started my Okta career on the West Coast, but now I'm based in the UK building up the EMEA customer success team. Together we're making sure customers are happy and healthy with the product and achieving everything they set out to achieve when they first started investigating the world of identity management. This includes raising awareness of Okta within their organisations and to inform them of Okta's potential to save costs and increase security.

How did you hear about Okta?

When I was in biotech, I was on my own journey moving our company to the cloud, and I saw the efficiency and change we could put into effect in a short space of time. This led me into investigating the world of single sign-on, and that's how Okta's name came up. Some of my peers had mentioned great things, so I got hands-on with a free trial. Before I knew it, I had a few apps set up on the solution, and I got several other adventurous employees to try it out — all with a great response. I signed, and then I was suddenly rolling out an identity management programme across the company! I didn't even know IDaaS existed until we started using Okta, but it immediately became a critical part of our infrastructure.

So you started as an Okta customer. What led you to become an employee there?

The up and coming nature of a start-up always appealed to me, and the growing power of the cloud meant that, to me, it just made sense to move to a cloud organisation. I had never been in a product supporting role; I was always in a more operations-led role. When I went to Oktane13 as a customer, I was blown away by how successful the team had been in putting together their first user conference. Meeting the team, especially Arun Shrestha, at that time the Head of Customer Success at Okta, left me with a really positive impression of the product. They turned me on to the company as a whole, and made me think, "This is the kind of place where I want to work!"

What do you like most about working with Okta customers?

I love it because I'm working with people who are essentially doing the job I used to do! I speak their language and I know their issues. Not only have I been in their shoes — especially as an Okta customer myself — but I know the challenges they face in deploying an identity management service for the first time. Trying to explain such a service to their end users, being concerned about adoption issues and driving good value for the organisation — these are all the same issues I faced. Helping our customers drive that strong ROI and evidence the value back to their internal stakeholders is what I get very passionate about.

What is your vision for the customer success team?

For EMEA, my vision and goal is to grow our team into the world class Customer Success organisation that the US team is already. I want to make sure we are in complete alignment globally as we grow and scale to ensure our customers get the same fantastic service experience across all regions. However, I'm of the mindset that if we ever think we've fully arrived at the pinnacle of customer success, we're fooling ourselves. As our products and services evolve, our concept of customer success should as well. We need to constantly challenge ourselves.

What is the one thing keeping IT leaders up at night?

More and more, it's all about security. As organisations move towards the cloud and realise the value that can be found, they are increasingly worried about the exposure of their services and their customers. It's certainly an area Okta has been investing heavily in with Adaptive MFA, which is where we are helping to address this gap.

And, as always, we ask our "Day In The Life" candidates how they would define Okta in one word. What's yours?

Innovative. Cloud is always at the heart of IT. Those companies who choose to ignore it, will be left behind. As organisations move to the cloud, Okta is helping them meet the challenges that accompany it, ensuring that they realise its full benefits.

Do you think Bob is on to something? We want to hear from you! Check out our careers page for open positions.