2014: The Year the Tidal Wave of Cloud Hits the UK

The fast-paced nature of the tech industry makes predicting what the year ahead holds a difficult task. As IT decision makers, we’re constantly asking, “What will be the next must-have mobile device, and how will we integrate it into our system? Who will create the next key enterprise app, and how will we give our employees secure access to it?” With the industry constantly innovating, we know one thing for certain – cloud and mobile adoption is only going to increase as we use IT to drive value for businesses.

So what does that mean for the IT industry in the UK?

UK ReportTo find out more about how they plan to optimize their businesses’ IT in this changing landscape, we asked UK IT decision makers what they thought about maintaining security and control in an increasingly cloud landscape. The resulting study gave us a few key insights into the ongoing concerns which IT managers have and the challenges they are experiencing, including:

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Game of Thrones, House of Cards and the Enterprise User Experience

Like most offices on Monday mornings, ours tends to be abuzz with talk of Sunday night television. We have a faction of Game of Thrones fans, some Walking Dead-heads and our marketing team is anxiously awaiting the second season of Netflix’s House of Cards. And that’s only part of the reason why we enjoyed our CEO Todd McKinnon’s latest contributions in GigaOm and TechCrunch.

Game of Thrones

Todd’s piece in GigaOm, ‘Finding the HBO or the Netflix of the enterprise: What we’ve all been waiting for,’ discusses how today’s television programming contains more diverse and niche content thanks to technical advances that enable smaller, specialty networks to produce and distribute more at lower costs – and how that change mirrors a similar explosion of software. As Todd explains, successful companies are emerging to serve certain niche markets thanks to the proliferation of devices and increased connectivity among users, and as a result, the end user has more apps to choose from.

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Box: Building a Rich Content User Experience with Okta

You could say life in the cloud is addictive — and when it comes to Box, which is all about user experience, even the little details like accessing the platform matter.

To ensure this collaborative experience was as secure and seamless for its users as possible, Box went looking for a partner to help them with their user identity management. We jumped at the chance to sit down with Daniel O’Leary, Tosin Onafowokan and Marco Marquez to learn more about how Okta works with Box to provide a secure, seamless collaboration experience.

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Integrate More Applications into Okta’s Application Network

The consumerization of applications and devices is changing the way businesses approach technology. Companies are putting people first, placing emphasis on the user experience rather than the technology itself. IT departments are seeing an even greater proliferation of specialized applications, helping each user be as productive and efficient as possible with the app that best fits their needs. With this growth of applications and focus on the end user, we wanted to be sure our users could easily and quickly integrate and access the applications that best helped their businesses – so after getting various pieces of customer feedback, we created the Okta Integration Wizard a couple months ago.

To date, Okta has integrated thousands of applications into the Okta Application Network (OAN). As we’ve been  extending the depth and breadth of Okta’s identity management service, we’ve opened up the OAN and created an easy-to-use and secure app integration wizard for our customers and partners to add both Secure Web Authentication (SWA) and SAML integrations to the OAN.

One focus of the wizard is to simplify the SWA integrations. While developing this feature, we worked directly with our customers to ensure the integration process was seamless and secure. With their help, we created a tool that allows companies to secure and access any application through Okta and will help the OAN to grow at a much faster rate.

To show you how simple it is, we’re going to run though the process step-by-step. Continue reading →

Finding the Okta DNA: A Day in the Life of Aisha Stephenson

Competitive sack races aren’t usually top of mind when you think about enterprise cloud startups. But when it comes to ensuring our people find their workplace as productive and enjoyable as possible, Okta’s director of people Aisha Stephenson goes the extra mile. For our latest installment of the Day in the Life series, we sat down with Aisha to learn more about how she works with people at Okta and what really makes up the Okta DNA.

What is your current position and role at Okta?

I’m the director of people, and I currently oversee human resources and recruiting. The two certainly go hand in hand: from when we first meet a candidate and go through the process of figuring out if they have that ‘Okta DNA,’ to their start date and throughout course of their employment, it’s great to oversee the seamless transition between a candidate and employee.

Why did you want to work with people at Okta?

I went to college with Okta’s co-founder and COO Frederic Kerrest, but I didn’t have something like this on my radar initially. At the time, I was living in Santa Barbara and had been at the same company for about seven years. One day I woke up and realized that while I liked the people I was working with, the job that I was doing wasn’t challenging me and I wasn’t motivated to doing anything different or creative. So I started looking for other jobs, and happened to hear about the director of people jobs here from Frederic. Continue reading →

Splunk: Crawling through the Digital Muck with Okta

Splunk: derived from ‘spelunking’, the hobby or practice of exploring caves.

Splunk envisions an IT world where big data makes sense and does not require any headlamps or helmets to crawl through the digital muck. In this world, data is both valuable and usable and can offer key insights for critical areas of a business, such as application management, security and compliance. In order to make this vision a reality, Splunk needed its own customized identity management solution – Okta.

Given the company’s enthusiasm for simplifying, securing and making easier access for intelligent data, we were thrilled to sit down with Douglas Harr, Splunk’s CIO, to find out more about their own IT adventure. To hear our full interview with Douglas, watch Splunk’s customer testimonial video below or on our customer testimonial website.

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Okta Highlights from 2013: A Year in Numbers

2013 included many milestones for Okta.  We made the leap across the pond to open our first international office in London. Our co-founders were on mainstream TV for the first time – featured on CNBC’s Squawk Box and on Bloomberg Taking Stock. We hosted our inaugural user conference Oktane13, released numerous product features and expanded the Okta Application Network to better serve our customers.

We have more stats from big things that happened at Okta this past year on our website including a few fun facts about what we’ve been up to outside of the Okta offices. Here’s a quick preview of what you’ll find:

  1. Our Customers: We celebrated major milestones with our customers this year, now working with 600+ enterprise customers across the globe, including London Gatwick Airport, Rotary International and MGM Resorts International. We also had a record-setting 60+ million logins to Okta this year. Continue reading →

Customer Success: More Than Answering the Phone

When Okta’s co-founders set out to build a product that would help businesses adopt cloud and mobile technology, they started by asking CIOs about the challenges they faced adopting cloud. They worked off of constant feedback, evolving the product to best fit the customers’ needs — and this focus on customer success, feedback and collaboration has been at the heart of Okta since then.

Four years later at our recent inaugural user conference Oktane13, Okta COO and co-founder Frederic Kerrest shared additional insight about what customer success means at Okta today. (Hint — it’s still at the core of everything we do.) Hear about how we’re enabling customers to worry less about technology and focus more on innovative ways to drive top line value for the business in the keynote below.

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Giving Back to Our Community: Happy Holidays from Okta!

Community is important at Okta. Not just the community we’ve built within our company walls or the Okta Community, but this epicenter of innovation – the wider Bay Area – that almost all of us call home. To say thank you to that local community, we’ve been working closely with a few charities to give back and wanted to take a minute to share a bit on the organizations chosen and their objectives in the community.

It’s been a big effort this holiday season for Okta – and with 250+ employees (almost twice as many as this time last year), it’s been amazing to observe the teamwork and camaraderie displayed in making these donations happen. We’re also proud to say more than 50% of the company has participated in activities this year…and that Okta has matched all employee donations!

1. Family House: You only need to glance at their @familyhouseSF Twitter handle to realize the massive impact Family House has had on thousands of families in California.

Family House is a San Francisco-based nonprofit providing a ‘home away from home’ to families of seriously-ill children receiving treatment at the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital. It serves more than 2,000 families each year, all of which live more than 50 miles from UCSF and many at or below the low-income status.

Our very own Todd McKinnon also serves on Family House’s Board of Directors and has also inspired our team to give back. (He also tweets about his involvement often!) This holiday season, our company is working to provide Safeway gift cards and gas cards to the families staying at Family House over the next few weeks. We’ve already totalled $1,200 that Okta will match!

Gifts for our our three families!

2. Adopt-A-Family East Bay: This organization is focused on building strong communities and empowering families to take crucial steps toward self-sufficiency, health and happiness. Okta sponsored three families this holiday season for Adopt-A-Family East Bay to to ensure their holidays are brighter – and more fun will be had on Christmas morning. Many of our Bay Area-based employees contributed both their time and money to shop for families that would not have otherwise received holiday gifts. Continue reading →

The ‘Stickiness’ of the Network Effect in the Enterprise

“So, this enterprise thing is real.” That’s how Bloomberg’s Ari Levy kicked off our enterprise CEO panel last night with our CEO Todd McKinnon, Coupa’s Rob Bernshteyn, Jive Software’s Tony Zingale and Veeva System’s Peter Gassner.

And it is real. The top eight enterprise companies to IPO in last eight years are now trading for $48 billion total. And that money is only part of the story. There’s a massive opportunity for companies to connect people, applications, devices and even other companies to create more efficient, secure ways of working in the enterprise. That’s exactly why we brought these four executives together to discuss the potential (and promise) of the enterprise ‘network effect.’

The panelists discussed why massive cloud adoption and mobile usage has revolutionized the enterprise, and improved communication and collaboration in the workplace. Even companies like Wells Fargo, Seton Hall University and Pfizer in industries known to be ‘technology laggards’ are starting to adopt cloud apps to improve their employees’ productivity.

These changes have also given companies like Okta, and the others represented on stage, the chance to deliver real, immediate value that the legacy stack providers just can’t match.

And that value is why cloud applications are so ‘sticky’ in the enterprise and why renewal rates for enterprise cloud companies are so high. The dirty secret of SaaS companies, as Tony pointed out, is that they always have to sell, and they always have to provide value unlike traditional vendors that will just stay immutably on-premises until they’re ripped out. Once a user falls in love with a cloud app like Okta, Jive, Coupa, Veeva, Workday or others, they’ll fight to keep using it.

We’ve seen time and time again how legacy providers lock customers into agreements that are too costly and timely to break. Their solutions are sticky for all the wrong reasons. The cloud is sticky for all the right ones, and they become even stickier when there’s an inherent network effect behind them. The more companies, customers or partners who use Okta, for example, the more valuable our identity network becomes.

That’s the beauty of the cloud model – it forces companies to continuously innovate and it becomes more powerful as more people get involved. And that’s good news for the companies worth fighting for.

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