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Love Thy Neighbor: Pennrose Unifies its Workforce across Properties with Okta

Alyssa Smrekar
Director, Customer Marketing

Over the past 40-plus years, Pennrose has developed more than 200 properties and 14,000 housing units in a commitment to cultivating neighborhoods that sustain generations. With properties distributed across 11 states and the District of Columbia, it was a natural move for the company to adopt a set of tools that let its workforce of property developers, managers and maintenance teams stay organized and access applications from anywhere.

We sat down with John DeSantis, Vice President of Information Technology, to hear how Okta has helped the company increase employee productivity, reduce IT spend and maximize security.

What's your approach to IT infrastructure?

We try to be as cloud enabled as possible. It's where technology is today, and where Pennrose is today. We are totally focused on mobilizing our workforce right now, and it's important to us to create that efficiency with all our employees, whether that be for our property management or maintenance employees. We want our widely distributed employee base to be able to access their information from anywhere, on any device, while still preserving visibility into user activity and access and reducing the risk of a security breach.

What led you to Okta in that process?

We had the support of an off-premises SharePoint environment – so not online, but in somebody else's domain. An alternative was doing federation services, which was too costly. We needed to find a provider that would help us bridge that gap and create a single sign-on experience for our users. It made sense for us to look to the cloud and Office 365, as we were already a Microsoft partner and wanted to create a more seamless login for our users.

We trusted Gartner and, after looking at the Magic Quadrant [Okta was named the the sole leader this year], we decided on Okta. It was a no-brainer.

So once you selected Okta, what was the onboarding process like?

Okta helped us create that seamless, single sign-on login with Office 365, our off-premises SharePoint environment, ADP and other apps. The onboarding experience is really simple. We use Active Directory, so in creating a user, Okta is able to sync and get that user up and running in our cloud within five minutes.

How do things look after implementing Okta?

The payback on our investment in Okta was almost immediate. Before Okta, users were unable to reset their own passwords. Now, there's a very simple portal for users to reset their passwords and update their security questions – since deploying Okta, we have seen a 75 percent reduction in help desk ticket requests related to security and passwords. This enables my team to focus on taking our cloud infrastructure to another level.

We have saved more than $40,000 per year in IT costs with Okta, and have enhanced overall security and increased productivity by giving employees a centralized place to access applications from their mobile devices or iPads. Okta also makes it easy for us to adopt new applications more quickly.

Want to hear more about Pennrose's experience with Okta? Check out our case study on how the property management company achieved 1500% ROI, and watch our interview with John DeSantis on the customer testimonial page or in the video below.

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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