The Digital Enterprise Report: Survey reveals the IT, technology, and security strategies driving the world’s largest organizations

The role of technology leaders today is more important than ever before. They have to manage everything from changing workforce dynamics and shifting business objectives to the technologies disrupting their industries — and they’re responsible for implementing strategies that help their companies succeed, both in the eyes of their customers and business stakeholders.

At Okta, we work closely with technology leaders at many of the world’s largest organizations, and were interested in seeing how they address these competing priorities. To achieve this we surveyed over 1,000 IT, security, and engineering decision makers from global companies with at least $1 billion in revenue, painting a much more complete picture of how they’re building their businesses. Here’s what we learned.

Our first Digital Enterprise Report shows respondents are taking advantage of new business opportunities and technologies while also putting a focus on security. The report also highlights and identifies some of the more forward-looking technological investments of some of these organizations. From investing in IaaS, digital transformation, and agile app development to recognizing the value of Zero Trust and strong authentication factors, a broad spectrum of approaches emerged.

What does a forward-looking organization look like?

In taking stock of how these global leaders line up, we were able to paint a clear picture of what a forward-looking company looks like. Here’s how other companies can follow their lead to excel in a technology-first world.

  • Adopt cloud apps with a hybrid mindset: Increasingly, large organizations are adopting cloud apps to supplement their on-premises systems. While 75% of respondents run at least some apps in the cloud, a majority of large companies plan to still have at least one third of their applications running on-premises. 62% of respondents were over 30% of their way to that end state, sending a signal that while respondents’ cloud journeys are early, many are well on their way.
  • Increase IaaS use: Developing a portfolio of SaaS apps is a good indicator of being forward-looking, but developing applications in the cloud also highlights a truly forward-looking mindset. 60% of respondents said they would increase their IaaS adoption in the coming year, suggesting that a significant number of respondents intend to house their infrastructure in the cloud.
  • Pursue digital transformation: Nearly a third of our survey respondents were in the early stages of considering digital transformation, but without any formal plans. Meanwhile, half were well on their way to becoming digital businesses; either beginning to formalize a plan, or already working on executing against a formal strategy to digitize their business and technology.
  • Prioritize customers’ digital experience through digital transformation: The desire to transform had business implications as well —19% of those who were actively working to digitally transform recognized customer experience as the number one reason to pursue a digital strategy. As the leading priority, digital experience improvement highlights how significant the digital world is for global brands and their customers.
  • Embrace agile app development: For those with a digital transformation strategy, taking advantage of the tools embraced by startups is helping them develop and launch services even faster. Eighty-five percent of the respondents that have invested in digital transformation are using either containerization, microservices, functions-as-a-service or continuous delivery to enable agile app development.
  • Adopt a Zero Trust strategy: Instead of relying on assumed “trusted networks” for employees, contractors, and partners, Zero Trust recognizes that traditional perimeters aren’t enough. Rather, this new approach enables secure access regardless of location, device, or network — and 60% of respondents were working towards or planning to bring Zero Trust into their security practices.
  • Use any strong MFA type: With a broad and diverse set of employees, contractors, and partners, large organizations must adopt strong multi-factor authentication in order to protect users and valuable information. Of the strong factors, 54% of respondents used software-generated one-time passwords, 36% used physical and U2F tokens, and 30% used biometrics-based factors. Ultimately, the spectrum of potential authenticators illustrates how wide-ranging the approach to security can be, even amongst global companies.

These variables showcase technology adoption and implementation across a number of criteria including security, infrastructure, application deployment and development, as well as strategic drivers for digitizing a business. While many global respondents were adopting or participating in a couple of these technology trends, how many are truly forward-looking?

Taken in concert, only 41% of organizations are actively engaging in at least four of these forward-looking markers. While that number may seem low, it’s worth recognizing that the number jumps to 86% when considering just two of the forward-looking criteria. The disparity illustrates how the technological evolution process is just that —a journey.

As these global businesses continue to see returns on their investments, it’s safe to assume they will continue seeking new ways to innovate. Okta for its part, will be right there with them, enabling any organization to use any technology.

To learn more, see the full report: