A New World Order for IT
The first steps toward embracing the new digital world order does not necessarily have to be disruptive ones. IT leaders are finding new opportunities to reinvent the enterprise with next-gen single sign-on, provisioning and mobility management. IT leaders are finding new opportunities in an era of digital disruption. This executive brief provides a quick overview of how they are driving growth and increasing efficiency by securely connecting the digital enterprise with customers, partners, suppliers and distributers.
A fitting motto for the modern CIO might be an old adage—times of great change also bring great opportunity. Amidst today’s technological upheaval, the role of IT has become even more crucial to the success of an enterprise. Not only are IT leaders required to support critical business services, they are increasingly expected to take responsibility for organizational goals like sales growth, increased productivity, improved customer experiences, and stepped up efficiency.
In the new world of mobile apps, cloud services, and the Internet of Things, people, processes, data, and devices are all converging to reshape how day-to-day business is done. Companies are reaching out to customers and partners— and even intelligent objects like connected cars and monitoring systems—and modifying the products and services they bring to market as a result. To an unprecedented degree, the future of an enterprise lies in the hands of the CIO and her IT staff who orchestrate these connections and act on the benefits they bring.
In re-imagining business environments and rethinking business models, CIOs face an abundance of options. They can deploy best-of-breed modular platforms, or they can develop homegrown solutions. They can replace traditional, manual processes with software and evolve hardware products into services offerings. What they can not do, however, is continue business as usual. In almost every industry, startups are challenging incumbents with radically new user experiences and innovative products and services. IT departments that resist change will not remain competitive for much longer.
The first steps toward embracing the new world order do not necessarily have to be disruptive ones. Just encouraging connections with customers and partners can have an immediate impact on organizational goals. Following are examples of simple IT initiatives that can kick-start an enterprise’s reinvention based on the successful experience of Okta’s customers.
Seven Ways IT Can Drive Growth and Increase Efficiency
• Apps for flexible ordering — An easy-to-use mobile app will encourage customers to order ahead, whether they are thinking about dinner or office supplies.
• Apps for easier financing — Expanded opportunities for connection make it possible for customers to apply for alternative forms of financing while checking out products on the showroom floor.
• Apps for loyal customers — A loyalty app with built-in ordering increases engagement and offers an additional sale channel.
• Customer forums — Deploying a customer forum or integrating with an existing community allows customers to support each other.
• Mobile catalogs — Linking a mobile catalog to in-store inventory ensures customers find what they are looking for and provides a better customer experience.
• Portals for channel partners — Providing marketing materials and simple tools for managing external sales forces will empower partners and make them more productive.
• Portals for suppliers and distributors — Applications for easier ordering and inventory management increase collaboration and efficiency across supply chains.
For decades, IT departments have gotten used to quietly saving the day. While indispensable, their efforts received little recognition. In the new world order, however, CIOs and IT leaders will not be able to avoid the limelight.
In addition to keeping the back-end of companies running, they will also determine how the front-end connects with customers, partners, suppliers and distributors and the devices associated with them. Indeed, they will determine how information from the front-end feeds into the back-end, and vice versa, transforming traditional companies into dynamic, data-driven enterprises that compete and win at the intersection of the digital and physical worlds.
Business Transformation Starts with the User
As IT leaders focus on building new connections with customers, partners and intelligent objects, the challenge of identity management quickly rises to the fore. Every device and every app, whether it’s home-grown or a best-of-breed cloud service, needs identity. From IT’s perspective, users must be quickly brought onboard, securely authenticated, centrally managed and easily retired according to security policies and integration requirements. The same applies to devices and smart objects.
In the past, identity and device management was typically handled by on-premises solutions that were either proprietary or purchased from third parties. This approach had significant drawbacks—there were large upfront costs in developer time, license payments and hardware; the solutions took many months to deploy; they were expensive to operate, maintain, and secure; and they required ongoing attention from IT. Frequently, they also suffered from the hidden problems of fragmentation as new systems were stood up across an enterprise.
In recent years, an additional shortcoming arose: As enterprises increasingly became mobile and moved to the cloud, and embraced services that needed to connect to large numbers of devices, traditional identity and device management couldn’t handle the requirements presented by cloud based applications and these connected devices. Okta developed its integrated identity and mobile device management solution so that companies could easily and securely connect with all users and devices. With the Okta Platform, enterprises bypass the challenges posed by legacy identity technologies.
Because the Okta Platform is cloud-based, always on, and architected by security experts, IT teams can reduce the total cost of ownership for identity and device management infrastructure and focus on the value-added parts of their offerings. The features that IT depend on from Universal Directory and Federation to Adaptive MFA, Lifecycle Management and Device Management are all built in and fully integrated, tremendously accelerating the delivery of new initiatives.
In addition to significant cost savings compared to traditional solutions, identity and device management as a service increases the effectiveness of every part of the business:
• A single user identity not only ensures a cohesive customer experience, but it also puts users, and their devices at the center of digital business.
• Simplified business processes spring from a more sophisticated understanding of how users interact with different business units and with each other and the role connected devices play.
• More accurate targeting lifts the results of sales and marketing campaigns, and also boosts customer satisfaction.
• Increased collaboration at the highest levels drives stronger results across the board, as IT spearheads projects that bring together stakeholders from every function.