Beyond login: Enabling rapid innovation for SaaS

For today’s SaaS companies, the pressure to rapidly innovate and seamlessly scale is intense. 

Evolving macroeconomic pressures mean SaaS companies need to do more with less. And every B2C innovation amps SaaS customer expectations. AI has further transformed the competitive landscape, presenting both an opportunity for product differentiation and a threat. There’s just more that attackers can do now — and they can do it faster. 

So SaaS companies also need to do more — and they need to see speed and security gains just so customers can keep up with the rate of change, much less deliver more than expected.

As the number of SaaS companies introducing new products continues to rise, the core differentiator has become customer experience. In a recent Deloitte report on SaaS, 47% of respondents indicated they were willing to “pay for better quality services that can enable successful outcomes,” with 49% indicating a willingness to pay for Customer Success (CS). The report states, “As customers are offered more choices at every stage and for every use case, the onus increasingly shifts to providers to deliver experiences that mitigate adoption complexity and drive value realization.” (Full disclosure: Respondents spoke about SaaS products like Slack and Okta.) 

Bottom line? SaaS is a function of CS because it employs repeatable practices to drive customer value through user adoption by creating low-friction self-service tools. That CS experience starts with Customer Identity because Customer Identity is the first digital touchpoint you have with your customers. It’s also the digital touchpoint they’ll encounter again and again as they return to your business. And the CIAM powering that touchpoint is what can drive value realization.

New features to drive scale and value announced

This is why Okta is investing in several key features to help SaaS companies scale and drive value with Identity. Here are some highlights from our Oktane23 announcements for Customer Identity Cloud.

Authorization — updated

With passwordless options, adaptive Identity controls, and lifecycle management, authentication has come a long way from the days of slapping a username and password box on your homepage. In many ways, authorization is where authentication was ten years ago, leaving businesses grappling for solutions. This results in wasted development time, inability to scale as new users and resources are introduced, and gaping security and compliance risks.

Developers need solutions that give them the flexibility to define authorization in a way that fits their business–whether that’s coarse-grained, fine-grained, or anything in between. They need solutions that allow them to centralize authorization, taking it out of the application. Solutions that are granular yet dynamic enough to help them manage complexity as they grow. 

Last year, we launched OpenFGA, an open-source authorization solution that allows developers to build granular access control using an easy-to-read modeling language and friendly APIs. 

Today, we’re excited to announce Fine Grained Authorization or FGA. FGA is a new way to think about authorization. It allows developers to design authorization models in a way that's centralized, flexible, scalable, and easy to use. It’s available today in Limited Early Access and will be generally available in the first half of next year. 

Improved onboarding and scalability 

Okta Customer Identity Cloud will now support SCIM, a standard System for Cross-domain Identity Management, allowing customers to automate user access provisioning and deprovisioning across applications. This streamlines operations, enhances security, and facilitates scalability, all at no additional cost when integrated with Workforce Identity Cloud. Inbound SCIM will be available in Beta later this month (and Generally Available in the first half of next year). 

Meanwhile, Self-Service Single Sign-On (SSO) empowers Okta’s customers to delegate SSO configuration and maintenance to the customers of their applications, providing greater scalability, customization, and security. By empowering your customers to manage SSO on their own, Okta enables faster implementation whilst also reducing the burden on support teams and freeing up resources to focus on higher-priority tasks. Self-Service Single Sign-On is scheduled to be released in beta in the first half of next year.

Interoperability — making connections easier

The Okta Integration Network (OIN) easily allows users to push their apps from Customer Identity Cloud into the network with one click. With OIN being the Identity industry's broadest and deepest set of pre-integrated cloud apps, it’s easy for customers to manage user provisioning and ensure seamless access to any technology. Using CIC, you can direct your engineering resources towards your core competencies, letting Okta handle enterprise-ready Identity. 

Okta AI — Fueling SaaS app development

Generative AI represents a technological paradigm shift. In addition to our existing AI-driven capabilities, we unveiled Okta AI at Oktane. This comprehensive set of AI features and capabilities embedded across both of our clouds draws from the reach and depth of our integration ecosystem and customer and developer footprint.

Okta AI transforms the Identity experience, removing administrative burdens, and delivering great user experiences, all while protecting against sophisticated AI-enabled security attacks. New Okta AI features will allow you to accelerate app development velocity through more robust configuration and optimized critical developer workflows while minimizing user friction, increasing trust, and increasing conversions.

Ready to accelerate your business with Identity? Learn more about Okta Customer Identity Cloud for SaaS Apps here.