The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for organizations around the world, especially within industries like Healthcare, Finance, and Government. In addition to being customer-centric, Okta is also a company built on partners. Many of our Solution Provider partners, especially, are working closely with our joint customers to help them adapt.
As a follow up to our Businesses @ Work (From Home) report, which highlighted how organizations are adapting in the face of COVID-19 through their technology choices, we wanted to see how the changes impacting organizations were changing the demands on our strategic partners, so we conducted a partner survey in May, 2020 to find out. How were their businesses experiencing this rapid evolution of technology, security, and collaboration demands? And most importantly, how were they helping our joint customers during this time?
Our Solution Provider partner ecosystem reaches across the globe. Survey respondents were a sample of 55 strategic partners that represented all geographies. Respondents identified as Solution Provider, GSI, Distributor, MSP and Public Sector organizations. Nearly 50% of respondents identified as Director and above, and nearly 15% of respondents represented organizations larger than 5,000.
Through the Businesses @ Work (From Home) report, we saw rapid growth across our customer base in two major areas: collaboration tools, especially video conferencing apps, and network security tools such as VPNs that extend secure access to remote workers.
We discovered that our Solution Partners are seeing similar growth; 54% of Solution Provider partners surveyed saw a significant increase in demand for collaboration apps and tools since January, 2020, and 47% of partners saw increased demand for security apps and tools.
GSI Partners and Security
Attackers are trying to take advantage of the chaos around the COVID-19 pandemic by launching a flood of phishing and identity attacks. With the traditional perimeter gone, companies need to protect their workers and customers and Security is more important than ever, according to our partners.
Our Global Systems Integrator partners deliver complex, large-scale access-management solutions for the world’s largest organizations. Among our GSI survey respondents, 50% represented organizations with over 5,000 employees and half of those respondents stated that Finance/Banking make up the largest percentage of their customer base. With such a large presence in regulated industries, the importance of strong identity management is top of mind for GSIs and their customers. GSI respondents saw the greatest demand for MFA within Finance/Banking, with 67% indicating increased security demand there, which aligns with our Businesses @ Work (From Home) findings.
Public Sector Partners and Collaboration
Video conferencing has suddenly become pervasive in our lives. As we found in Businesses @ Work (From Home), beginning in January 2020, three of our top seven fastest growing apps are video conferencing tools. When we asked our partners, they similarly saw large spikes in video conferencing usage.
Since January 2020, every Public Sector partner saw very significant increased demand for both collaboration apps and tools in Education as well as Federal, State and Local Government.
When asked to pinpoint greatest demand for collaboration tools within Education as well as State and Local Government, 100% of Public Sector (and MSP) partners indicated video conferencing as the most in demand, over VoIP or other chat tools.
We know industries like Education, Finance/Banking, and Healthcare are particularly affected by the COVID-19 crisis and need to adapt quickly, so we formulated our Solution Provider survey to get a deep understanding of what trends our partners are seeing.
Remote Call Centers and Customer Authentication
The finance and banking industries are facing multiple challenges. Many financial institutions have had to enable remote call centers to maintain customer service quality, and handle a surge of loan applications as customers refinance loans. Financial institutions also need to strengthen customer authentication based on higher call volume. 31% of partners stated that Finance/Banking customers comprise the largest portion of their customer base. 40% of partners indicated that they saw a significant increase in demand for collaboration apps and tools within finance and banking, while 50% saw a significant increase in demand for security apps and tools.
Citizen Portals and Remote Learning
For the first time, government agencies need to provide secure access to remote workers, and enable collaboration between public and private sectors on a massive scale. Educational institutions need to be up and running quickly to provide remote learning access through new learning environments, while providing secure remote access to existing tools. 20% of partners stated that Government and Education customers comprise the largest portion of their customer base. 60% of partners saw a significant increase in demand for collaboration apps and tools within Education, which was the highest increase in demand for all industries within the survey. 41% of partners saw significant increased demand in Government. 41% indicated they saw a significant increase in demand for security apps and tools in Education, and 43% indicated a significant increase in demand for security apps and tools in Government.
Telemedicine and Patient Experience
The healthcare industry is at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, and facing challenges for both healthcare workers and patients. The quick shift to telemedicine and remote work requires rapid provisioning and secure remote access for clinicians. As patients adapt to distanced modes of care, the industry has also had to quickly enable virtual patient experiences by deploying patient and provider apps. Nearly 1 in 5 partners stated that Healthcare customers comprise the largest portion of their customer base, and 54% of partners indicated that they saw a significant increase in demand for collaboration apps and tools within healthcare. 46% indicated that they saw a significant increase in demand for security apps and tools.
Comprehensive Solutions and the Future
Our partners provide customers comprehensive, end-to-end solutions. Many of our partners also partner with our best-of-breed Technology Partners to solve complex customer use cases, and they indicated that they are selling other remote work equipment as well, from laptops to monitors.
In the short term, our partners are helping customers thrive. Understanding how things have changed in the short term allows us to better serve our customers as current strategies become permanent changes. We are better together.