Introducing Okta’s New SVP of Global Partners & Alliances: Bill Hustad
Over the past decade, we’ve established ourselves as the global leader in identity by simplifying the complex process of validating, managing, and safeguarding the identities of employees, customers, and users of apps and cloud services. At the same time, we’ve seen Okta’s global partner ecosystem evolve to better serve organizations undergoing critical technology transformations. Identity is foundational to those transformations, and Okta is empowering partners around the world to become trusted advisors for an end-to-end identity solution.
As we continue to accelerate growth and positive change for our partners, please join me in welcoming Bill Hustad, our new SVP of Global Partners and Alliances. In this role, he will lead Okta’s global partner team, where he’ll be responsible for Okta’s indirect go-to-market strategy, execution, and bookings globally.
I had the opportunity to work closely with Bill in the past, and experienced firsthand his incredible business acumen and approach to leadership. He is a multidimensional thinker known for driving long-term growth with strong business development practices across geographic and market segments.
Bill is well-known in the industry for his standout leadership and experience in driving successful partner programs. I recently sat down with him to talk more about his background and approach. Here’s that conversation, edited for length and clarity.
Steve Rowland: Why Okta, and why now?
Bill Hustad: I believe Okta has a tremendous opportunity given the dynamic nature of the market. From the growth of multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud environments, to the rise of remote work and the proliferation of applications — identity is at the heart of it all. And Okta is a company’s core identity engine. Every digital interaction requires identity — from moving to the cloud, modernizing security, and building digital products and services.
Okta is helping organizations around the world securely connect the right people to the right technologies at the right time. Giving our customers the ability to smoothly navigate systems, tools, and resources is extremely important. But it’s even more important that we ensure a secure experience. The confirmations, the patterns, the data, and the availability of this data are key. If we continue to manage these elements well, we’ll not only help customers meet their security goals, but also free them up to focus on other critical aspects of the business.
“Okta is helping organizations around the world securely connect the right people to the right technologies at the right time.”
— Bill Hustad, SVP of Global Partners and Alliances, Okta
SR: Tell us about one of your favorite career moments working with partners and what you learned.
BH: It’s impossible to pick just one, but I’ll keep it to three. I love to see partners win alongside us. First, at a large software company, we implemented the first field ISV reseller model that really simplified the way direct sellers could approach selling a fundamental solution. The second is establishing and growing our relationship with Accenture to the Business Group level (one of 12 companies at this level globally).
Lastly, the work I have done with cloud service providers (CSPs). In conjunction with our partner, we established a Workload Migration Program that made a very positive and material impact on how we jointly went to market. I’m also proud of playing an instrumental role in onboarding Google as a second CSP.
SR: Tell us a little about your first impressions of Okta's partner ecosystem and what most excites you about working with Okta's partners across the globe.
BH: What I found really compelling and interesting about Okta is that it’s 100% SaaS, and the opportunity for partners to win is big. If you think about how identity fits into digital transformation around the world right now — from remote work to edge and hybrid cloud — it’s becoming an integral part of how companies maintain productivity and ensure that users have secure access to the apps they rely on.
I look forward to building Okta’s partner program so that it is central to our overall company and GTM strategy. A strong partner GTM strategy is one where everyone at Okta is invested in our partners’ successes. Partnering is a fun job. Think of it this way: Not only do we get to be part of a great company like Okta, but we also get to see inside many other great businesses. Our job is to inspire, create predictability, and secure joint wins that grow both businesses and drive wildly happy customers.
“Our job is to inspire, create predictability and demonstrable wins together that help us grow both businesses and drive wildly happy customers.”
— Bill Hustad, SVP of Global Partners and Alliances, Okta
SR: At Okta, our partner ecosystem is at the center of what we do. What is the biggest opportunity ahead?
BH: We need to identify high-value market motions, magnify those, and relentlessly execute. I’m constantly thinking about how we expand and leverage an ecosystem based on high value.
We can explore places where we are not doing business currently. A broader partner ecosystem will help us expand to new countries and geographies. Also, partners can actually start creating full-stack solutions for customers, using both Okta technology and other technology partners, that can drive value in the marketplace.
SR: You are only a few weeks in, but what is top of mind as you start your new role?
BH: Listen, learn, and prioritize. First, I plan to spend time internally understanding how we measure and operationalize our business. I’m also looking to connect with peers internally to understand where we've been winning and where our opportunity lies.
I'll be spending a lot of time externally with our partners, learning and asking them about what’s working, and how we've been creating customer satisfaction together. From there, I’ll take action and communicate our efforts, performance, and the opportunities ahead.
SR: Rapid-fire question round: Say the first thing that comes to your mind.
- SR: Foods you love or hate.
BH: I dislike very little and will try anything! I was able to spend some good time in Japan over the years and absolutely love Japanese food and Asian fusion.
- SR: Explore space or the deep seas?
BH: Deep seas, as I think there would be much more to see.
- SR: Last show you binged or watched?
BH: Just recently, Severance. Not sure that I liked it at first, but it kept drawing me in.
- SR: Favorite vacation spot?
BH: Family—Costa Rica. Me—anywhere there is no cell coverage.
More on Bill:
Bill Hustad joins Okta with extensive executive experience. His background includes Splunk's global partner organization, where he led Splunk's strategy and execution in CSP, GSI, MSP, technology partnerships, and channel sales. He served in the United States Marine Corps, where he supported the President of the United States, to a variety of executive roles ranging from CEO to chief customer officer. He has led key functional teams in the areas of sales, product management, professional services, customer success, marketing, business development and operations, and partners and alliances.