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Office 365 Deployment Today, Diverse Cloud Future Tomorrow

Ed Sawma
Director, Product Marketing

We've written before about Office 365's popularity as a result of Microsoft's pursuit of the enterprise and massive push to the cloud. But Office 365 isn't the only app winning this game. Many cloud apps — from Box and Workday to relative newcomers Slack, Envoy and Zapier — are collectively taking the enterprise by storm. According to our data, most businesses offer their employees between 11 and 16 off-the-shelf cloud apps. In 2015 that grew 33 percent year-over-year.

Our point? A cloud strategy rarely involves a single app. When companies first decide to move into the cloud (for many, it starts with the migration of a core service like email to Office 365 or Google Apps for Work), they must consider the big picture.

These organizations must identify a strategy that works not just through that first deployment — and the subsequent management, refinement and expansion required — but also the next one, and the dozen or so that inevitably follow. By laying the foundation with an IDaaS like Okta early on, businesses ensure speed and simplicity throughout their cloud journey in both the short and long term.

Take our customer Post Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Post Foods whose portfolio includes popular cereal brands like Fruity Pebbles, Honey Bunches of Oats and Grape-Nuts. When the company began its Office 365 implementation, infrastructure solutions architect Larry Woods knew he needed a long-term strategy that would encompass not only this initial deployment but also adoption of additional cloud apps down the road. He also faced the unique challenge of onboarding hundreds of new employees, a result of 11 acquisitions the company had made over the previous three years.

With help from our team at Okta, Woods deployed Office 365 across nearly 4,000 users — a process that would traditionally take about eight months — within six weeks. The process was cost effective and laid a flexible foundation for the company to continue adopting cloud applications and executing on its rapid acquisition strategy.

"We needed to be able to deliver and bring customers on as quickly as possible," Woods said during an Oktane15 presentation. "How do you have a ‘keep the lights on' mentality? The cloud. It's the future. Okta makes it simple for us to get everyone the services they need."

For Bazaarvoice, another Okta customer, Office 365 was not the company's first cloud app. It was, however, the first that needed to be standardized across all employees. Bazaarvoice's Justin Reneau turned to Okta, in need of a fast and effective way to provide single sign-on to Office 365 for 1,000+ users without disrupting the experience for employees, who were already using a combination of Salesforce, NetSuite, Concur, Box and Lifesize Cloud, among others. In just "30 seconds on a weekend," Reneau completed the transition. His users barely noticed the switch — even though the UX looked different with the new email environment — and saw no interruption in service.

Whether a company is transferring 10 or 100,000 user accounts to the cloud, starting with an identity service as a foundation ensures the deployment is quick, simple and free of infrastructure complications. There are long-term gains, too — IDaaS provides the flexibility needed to add any app, continue growth and maximize productivity.

Think of Office 365 as a turning point, an opportunity to lay a foundation that simplifies your future IT cloud decisions. Learn more at www.okta.com/learn/office365-diverse-cloud-future, and check out the Oktane session, "Office 365 or Bust" in the video below.

Ed Sawma
Director, Product Marketing

Ed Sawma is Director of Product Marketing at Okta where he manages B2B and B2C solutions as well as Okta API Access Management.  Ed previously led product marketing for core products at Okta. After starting his career in IT consulting, with a focus on system integration and security, Ed led product marketing globally for mobile applications at Motorola.  Prior to Okta, he worked on Microsoft’s IPTV platform.  Ed has a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, both from Northwestern University.  In his spare time, Ed enjoys cooking and studying the history of food.

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