Okta for Mergers & Acquisitions
Okta recognizes that Identity, and a modern, cloud based approach to identity and access management, is a fundamental tool that can transform businesses. Read more to learn how Okta has helped Engie, Broadcom, News Corporation and Seventy Seven Energy speed up the M&A process, while empowering users with enhanced productivity and driving down security risk.
In today’s competitive environment ability to acquire new products, services and market share through successfully executed mergers and acquisitions has become a key differentiators for companies. Identity sits at the intersection of people - parent and acquired employees, partners and customers and the technology, applications, devices, APIs and services they consume.
Okta recognizes that Identity, and a modern, cloud based approach to identity and access management, is a fundamental tool that can transform businesses. Read more to learn on how Okta has helped Engie, Broadcom, News Corporation and Seventy Seven Energy speed up the M&A process, while empowering users with enhanced productivity and driving down security risk.
A services plan that works for you
The energy industry is facing dramatic change. In a 2016 presentation at the Bpifrance Inno Génération entrepreneurs fair in Paris, Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE Group, called climate change “a fundamental and general invitation to every one of us … to invent something completely different.”
Isabelle Kocher has put that call into action, charging ENGIE, an international purveyor of power, natural gas, and energy services, with leading the transition to a more sustainable, de-carbonized world. Isabelle Kocher’s “something completely different” revolves around “two inextricably linked driving forces: energy and digital.” On the one hand, developing renewable energy solutions to create a world with “better geopolitical balance.” On the other, taking advantage of the Internet of Things to help customers streamline and optimize energy consumption.
To help ENGIE’s 150,000 employees forge the way in this new energy world, the company is moving from a hierarchical business model to one that is flat and distributed across 24 geographically oriented business units. As Deputy Group CIO Claude Pierre explains, “The old world was centralized in terms of energy production. We are moving to a more decentralized environment, with more renewables in the energy mix.”
“Our customers want to be more involved in the way they consume energy, the way energy is produced,” says Claude Pierre. As a result, ENGIE is bringing its focus closer to the local level, to develop solutions that are aligned with the specifics of local markets.
A search for agile connection
For its part, ENGIE Group Digital and IT Department is challenged to support those 24 new business units with consistent, reliable global solutions, while giving them the freedom to adapt quickly at the local level. Early on, Claude Pierre and his team knew that cloud solutions would play a central role in the transformation, along with the ability to support mobile access.
The right identity and access management solution would be key. “Our ambition was to set up a global solution covering all geographies and enabling all applications to be accessed from anywhere, from any device,” says Claude Pierre. That solution needed to be simple, secure, and user friendly.
In evaluating vendors, Claude Pierre had three primary requirements for the company’s identity solution:
1. Reliability. ENGIE employees work around the clock, all over the world, and it’s crucial that they be able to access their IT solutions at all times.
2. Neutrality. While ENGIE Group Digital and IT Department planned to implement Microsoft-focused collaboration and productivity tools, they wanted to be sure that the new platform would connect as deeply and easily with nonMicrosoft applications, as well.
3. Future-readiness. For an industry that is changing so quickly, it was critical to deploy an identity solution that would encourage and facilitate ongoing adaptation and innovation— for the foreseeable future.
A kinder, simpler M&A experience
The ENGIE team was impressed by the Okta user experience, and by the support they received from Okta during testing. Security was also a critical factor in the Okta choice. Local IT managers appreciated the fact that Okta was non-intrusive, working with existing on-prem infrastructures, rather than forcing wholesale changes or potential openings for hackers.
But if you could point to a single reason that ENGIE chose Okta, it would be this: Like many giant enterprises, ENGIE experiences constant M&A activity—buying companies, spinning off companies, and doing their best to keep everyone happy and productive through it all. Okta Universal Directory makes it easy for IT to synchronize data from various directories across the company, greatly simplifying what had been an extremely complex and time-consuming process.
Today, it takes two weeks instead of two months to begin collaborating with a newly acquired domain. With all 100+ AD domains now connected to Okta, ENGIE easily provisions users across all domains into a single, consolidated AD domain, making synchronization to Office 365 much simpler. Okta Single Sign-on has replaced AD FS for federating users to Office 365, and when it’s time to deprovision users, one AD update is all it takes to remove access to both cloud and on-prem apps.
With Okta, ENGIE gains newfound agility and responsiveness for integrating new applications, for integrating or spinning off businesses, and for making the dramatic shift to a distributed business model.
Distributed IT that works globally
The ENGIE team was on an extremely short timeline, considering the size of the company and what they were trying to do. Youssef Tahani, chief infrastructure officer, was charged with delivering a collaborative platform for 120,000 employees by early January 2016—just a few months after they signed with Okta. They would start by rolling out Yammer and Skype, following it with Microsoft Exchange online and the rest of the Office 365 portfolio.
Okta implementation took all of three months, and was closely integrated with local support activities, so that each team felt actively included in the transition. “This decentralized model of support and service is key for us,” says Youssef Tahani. “On the central team, we have a lot to learn from our local colleagues, who face many different configurations, situations, constraints, and agendas.”
ENGIE Corporate IT worked closely with local IT organizations to design processes and define central infrastructure components. The team created what they call “technical joining rules” to provide a consistent structure that allows each organization to access the common platform in the same way. Once on the platform, local IT teams could then easily “turn on” any other applications that are required or preferred by employees or business functions in that region. By January, local teams had connected to the platform and the program was underway.
A more inclusive enterprise
Once Office 365 had been deployed across the company, requests to add more applications to the platform began rolling in. First came Syncplicity, a file sync and share application. Then came OneHR, a company-wide human resources management tool.
Okta made it possible for ENGIE to completely de-correlate cloud applications from on-prem infrastructure so that IT could separate a lengthy AD clean-up project from the onboarding of new cloud apps. Today, the time to onboard new apps has been reduced by seven days, and word is spreading among ENGIE’s business leaders. At this point, IT has integrated more than 40 applications with Okta, at the request of various global and local business managers.
The company also brought an additional 50,000 field workers online for the first time. People who were never included in AD because of the licensing cost have been added to Universal Directory and connected to the HR system. A whole new world has opened up for those employees, who can now collaborate with the rest of the company and be included in ways they hadn’t been before.
A strong internal foundation
ENGIE is currently using RSA SecureID for multi-factor authentication, but plans to implement Okta Multi-Factor Authentication, adding another layer of security for a highly regulated industry leader. Okta simplifies security and access across the company, making it as easy and secure for employees in the field to connect to their work as it is for someone on the corporate network.
For the moment, ENGIE is focused on solidifying its internal collaboration platform and integrating all the application requests coming in. Once that phase is complete, it’ll be time to enable a broader platform ecosystem that includes partners and customers, as well. At that point, Isabelle Kocher’s vision of integrating energy and digital to address planetary challenges could take on a life of its own.
Achieving the best of both worlds
When large organizations announce sweeping organizational changes, they’re often met with resistance. It’s hard for people to accept a shift in the way they work, even when that shift ultimately works in their favor. The ENGIE transformation is remarkable because of how swiftly it occurred, and how quickly its leaders gained the trust and confidence of local teams. Youssef Tahani and Claude Pierre attribute much of that success to the reliability, performance, and simplicity of the Okta platform. At Okta, we know nothing takes the place of good leadership.
About ENGIE Group
ENGIE Group is an innovative power, natural gas, and energy services company employing over 150,000 people worldwide. The company develops its businesses around a model based on responsible growth, to take on the challenges of energy’s transition to a low-carbon economy: Access to sustainable energy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the rational use of resources. Learn more at www.engie.com.
M&A growth fuels need for driving productivity
Over the past decade, Broadcom has evolved to become a highly diversified semiconductor company with technologies in many popular devices.
The company has grown through a series of mergers and acquisitions. On average, they’ve completed one to two acquisitions a year, and with each acquisition the company has grown in size.
Managing changes in IT infrastructure from organizational transitions proved to be a major challenge. In acquiring a company, one of the first steps was to bring the company into Broadcom’s culture and IT’s tool set. “That can be challenging, especially when you’re on a certain platform, and they’re on something completely different,” reported Broadcom’s identity management and services manager, Neeraj Malhotra, who’s been with the company through each acquisition. “Those challenges are more easily overcome when you’re using a cloud-based service.”
Search for a comprehensive identity provider
Management also recognized the importance of understanding the identity and makeup of the company they were acquiring—each employee, the different business units, and their roles in the go-forward company. From an IT perspective, it was critical to know how to entitle employees to the different types of applications they needed to access to do their jobs effectively.
In the early days, the company used Oracle for single sign-on (SSO) and CA Arcot for multi-factor authentication (MFA). As the company increasingly moved to the cloud, they needed to find a better, more agile identity solution - one that was scalable and could meet the needs of a growing company.
The need for a new identity provider became critical as the acquisitions grew larger. IT had to integrate vastly different IT infrastructure, systems, services, and strategies with its own. Part of that process involved consolidating Active Directory with 6,000 users to provide one source of truth for identity across multiple domains and on tight timelines.
When IT started their search for an identity provider, they ruled out on-premises solutions from the start. “We had a vision early on from our CIO that said, ‘Let’s try to leverage the cloud as much as possible,’” Malhotra explained. That meant no longer having to deal with on-premises servers and infrastructure, the associated costs, and the pitfalls that come with its management.
Improving productivity and agility in the cloud
Broadcom selected Okta to consolidate identities and provide a 100 percent cloud, single sign-on solution with multi-factor authentication. During the initial 2012 implementation, the company easily brought on LSI users with Universal Directory, integrated 20 cloud apps for SSO, and enabled Okta Verify for MFA. Broadcom was able to meet timelines and budgets because, with Okta, there was no additional infrastructure to build and limited configurations needed. The service was easy to use and quickly adopted by new users. With Okta, IT reduced its dependency on Oracle to just the remaining Oracle apps and completely replaced CA Arcot with Okta MFA. All other services and any new ones are integrated with Okta.
Broadcom further improved employee productivity by providing seamless access to best-of-breed cloud services like G Suite, Box, and Workday. “The beauty of it is that everyone gets a single portal, has the applications they’re entitled to in that portal, and can access those applications with a single login,” Malhotra said. With G Suite, IT could move their large email infrastructure—which traditionally required multiple servers in different locations—to the cloud. Gone are latency issues. “There’s no worrying about whether an employee located in India or an employee located in Europe can get to the Okta portal or login. All those issues were resolved,” Malhotra stated.
From mobility to secure mobility management
Employee demands for mobile access also grew over the years. Broadcom’s IT team found that its global employees expect seamless access to their work apps, regardless of device and location. “Having the flexibility to work from anywhere at any time opened up the productivity of our employees,” Malhotra explained.
However, by embracing mobile, IT faced new challenges. “When you have multiple devices—and in our case, thousands of devices located globally—you need a way to manage those devices and ensure they are secure.” Malhotra explained. Okta was the only integrated identity and mobility cloudbased solution that could benefit both end-users and IT. “There is a value-add in having an identity provider who is also is offering us our mobility management product,” Malhotra stated.
Broadcom implemented Okta Mobility Management (OMM), allowing employees to easily sign on to their apps from any device. With Okta in place, employees no longer have to face mobile password problems, and quick user device enrollment gives users the right mobile apps and services from day one. Plus, “Once employees sign in on their mobile devices and into the Okta mobile app, they’re able to access all the applications they normally would on a traditional desktop or laptop system,” Malhotra acknowledged.
“We found that Okta has a great product portfolio with their OMM product, which gives us the ability to manage the devices and ensure there are security policies in place,” Malhotra shared. “We’re even able to track down if a device has been lost or stolen, and we can do remote wipes on it.”
Effectively scaling the business
In 2016, another large acquisition added substantially more new users than ever before, a consolidation of directories was once again critical. Universal Directory integrated company domains and provided users with seamless access to over 40 apps. Additionally, the acquired company came with its own MFA (Symantec VIP). With Okta’s third-party MFA integrations and flexible policy framework, integration was simplified.
During the acquisition Malhotra also did a Mobile Device Management (MDM) analysis with a side-by-side comparison between OMM and Airwatch. Following the analysis, Malhotra decided an integrated mobility and identity management solution with Okta was best for the move-forward company.
Broadcom has significantly improved the productivity level of employees with Okta. They can connect Amazon Web Services to their AD using the Okta agent and solve a multitude of login and user-administration issues in a matter
of minutes. No more credential-reset fiascos. No more profile synchronization challenges. “Having a cloud provider like Okta that is leveraging Amazon Web Services makes it easy for us to ramp up employees quickly,” Malhotra explained.
Lifecycle Management is critical to help ease the challenges associated with acquisitions. Working with the Okta and ServiceNow partnership, IT is engineering an automated onboarding service through Workday. “With the automation we’re working on with Okta and ServiceNow, we hope to eliminate any manual intervention,” Malhotra said. The employee gets onboarded in Workday, which triggers orchestration in ServiceNow and, at the same time, triggers application provisioning in Okta. Using group rules Okta seamlessly assigns role-specific apps and entitlements based on users’ attributes. When Workday reports that an employee leaves, Okta will automatically suspend access to all applications.
HR-Driven IT Provisioning
Onboarding Acquired Employess after M&A
Expanding identity management and access management externally
Since mastering internal-employee access, Broadcom has expanded its Okta implementation to enable key partners to authenticate to a specific portal. Partners now have the right level of access to just the specific information they need. Okta provides a more federated sign-in flow and eases administration for IT.
Next up, Broadcom is working on deploying additional applications, leveraging Okta APIs for its external users.
Throughout the organizational changes over the years, Broadcom trusts Okta to handle identity, so their employees can focus on growing the business.
About Broadcom Limited
Broadcom Limited (NASDAQ: AVGO) is a leading designer, developer and global supplier of a broad range of digital and analog semiconductor connectivity solutions. Broadcom Limited’s extensive product portfolio serves four primary end markets: wired infrastructure, wireless communications, enterprise storage and industrial and other. Applications for the company’s products in these end markets include: data center networking, home connectivity, set-top box, broadband access, telecommunications equipment, smartphones and base stations, data center servers and storage, factory automation, power generation and alternative energy systems, and electronic displays.
A growing media and information company
As a global media organization, News Corp is a poster child for digital innovation. compelling and timely content is the goal, which makes information security a top priority for its companies. Add to that the rapid transformation from print to digital and all the pressure to identify reliable business models, and you have a situation where daily, unrelenting change is a fact of life.
In 2013, News Corp separated into two distinct organizations. 21st Century Fox became a separate world-class media and entertainment company, while the new News Corp focused on development and expansion of its global publishing assets. The company had long included traditional media brands, such as Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, The Times of London, and book publisher HarperCollins. Now, it would expand further into real estate, digital ad tech, and marketing solutions.
In the succeeding few years, News Corp purchased Move, Inc., an online real estate services network; Unruly, a social video ad platform; and Storyful, a social media news agency. News Corp also expanded its global digital footprint with a focus on in India—purchasing VCCircle, a digital data and venture capital network there, and investing in the Indian digital real estate market.
A case for the cloud
News Corp customers are diverse, as are its 25,000 employees, who now show up for work in offices around the world. When Dominic Shine became CIO in 2013, the company’s enterprise technology stack was failing to keep up with the people it was trying to serve. Each company was pursuing its own technology strategy and solutions and employees were also using their own solutions, e.g. Dropbox, to enable them to work easily out of the office.
Information security is really important for a high-profile media organization. Ramin Beheshti, Head of Enterprise at Dow Jones, is partly responsible for keeping the privacy of the company’s employees secure. “Attempts to get their passwords, to get access to their emails and other applications, that’s been a cause of concern,” he says.
News Corp set itself a goal of putting three-quarters of its computing power into the public cloud, to help modernize its infrastructure and make the company more agile and responsive to employee needs. They selected Google Apps for email and collaboration, harnessing the experience of one business unit that had been using it successfully, and exporting it to the rest.
The company followed a similar pattern with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Dropbox, identifying successful solutions within pioneering business units and using them as a model for modernizing the employee experience. The strategy worked to secure those solutions and put them under IT control—but, for employees, getting to them on a daily basis was another issue.
The usability-security challenge
By 2013, the News Corp IT environment was patched together with six different single-sign-on solutions and a growing number of pins, passwords, tokens, and access points for users to keep track of.
“Identity was a real impediment to productivity,” says Shine. “Security access to systems was cumbersome. People were unable to work easily when they were not in the office. This was a major issue for a company that needs to be always on 24 x 7.”
Needless to say, when News Corp IT set out to find a new identity partner, the last thing they wanted to do was add another single-sign-on solution. “We wanted something that would replace the other sign-on solutions,” says Beheshti. “We wanted to see a track record of investment in the product, and we wanted a cloud provider.”
User experience was paramount, but the team needed to strengthen security at the same time. Flexibility and choice were high on the list, as well. “The software market is fast-moving. Solutions we take for granted today may be superseded by better solutions in the coming years,” says Shine. “What’s really important is that we have a consistent framework, but we can swap out individual applications or components to make sure we are always giving our business users the best possible solutions.”
The team looked at identity solutions from Okta, Microsoft, and Google. “Microsoft was okay if you’re a Microsoft shop, but wasn’t particularly open if you look at the wide range of other solutions that a company like News Corp needs,” says Shine.
By comparison, the News Corp team found Okta to be “the Switzerland of the identity access software world.” Shine says Okta “provided really good access to a very large number of applications and was clearly committed to ensuring that open access as the market developed.”
In August 2015, News Corp rolled Okta out to one business unit for an initial trial. The pace picked up quickly after that. In nine months, the company deployed Okta to all of its businesses, replaced some existing SSO solutions, and connected more than 150 apps to the Okta platform. “That was much further than we anticipated to go in the time frame we’ve had,” says Beheshti.
A unifying force
As employees got used to using Okta as a single point of entry to their apps, it became easier to introduce other tools, releasing them on the Okta platform where people could see them.
“It’s interesting,” says Shine. “Okta now has its own identity within the organization. People relate to new capabilities being added to Okta. It has become a unifying force in allowing people to understand the applications that are available.”
“We have the best of both worlds,” he says: A consistent set of hero applications common to everyone in the company, as well as ways for individual business units to easily deploy applications specific to their context. For IT, Okta offers secure access to News Corp’s cloud infrastructure and storage capabilities, which are primarily on AWS.
With Okta, News Corp doesn’t have to choose between security and the user experience. Because the system works and they have fewer credentials to remember, News Corp employees are much less likely to look for workarounds. The team deployed multi-factor authentication together with SSO, which gives vulnerable users and apps an extra layer of security.
“There are very few times in IT when you come across a silver bullet,” says Beheshti. “Okta is a fan favorite amongst my team and across the business because it solves the two pillars of usability and security.” Employees who were typically skeptical about new IT solutions now stop Beheshti in the corridor to tell him how much Okta has improved their ability to access their apps and get work done.
“Our information security and legal teams are happy because now we have multi-factor authentication. Our business users are happy because they have fewer places to go and fewer passwords to remember,” he says.
Having a reliable, unified SSO solution has changed the landscape for News Corp IT, as well. Password reset requests have been significantly reduced, and at least one full-time staff member, formerly dedicated to managing and administering SSO systems, can now focus on more strategic work.
Productivity is on the rise. News Corp employees used to suffer from up to 10 application access outages every year, lasting 30 minutes each. There are no such outages with Okta. With the time saved by people not being locked out because of password confusion, the benefit is significant.
A whole greater than the sum of its parts
Openness and the ability to connect to existing and future solutions are key for a company looking to expand its business into new markets globally. That’s true whether you’re talking about one business unit adding to its mix of apps, or a parent company acquiring a new business.
Okta has already revolutionized the way News Corp can onboard newly acquired companies, says Shine. “Before we had Okta, when we bought a new company it took a long time to get that organization onto the same approach around identity and security, and to get them using the same tools.” Okta makes that process much faster and more efficient, saving the company over 1,000 hours each year on synchronizing and consolidating domains after M&A activity. Today, the company can share content and products across business lines, and realize the value of an acquisition more quickly.
“Okta plays a key role in this because it is the front door to those applications and those services,” says Shine. “We can make the teams more efficient, and increase the velocity of the transformation we’re driving.”
A roadmap to mobile and beyond
With global SSO and MFA steadfastly underway, the team is adding Universal Directory and Provisioning to its identity portfolio. “For some of our business units, onboarding and provisioning is a very manual process,” says Beheshti. “That causes issues not only for the hiring manager, the person coming on board—but also things like auditing, in terms of who has access to which applications.”
Over time, News Corp IT plans to minimize the need for Microsoft Active Directory. With Universal Directory, the company can automate 70% of provisioning tasks. Already, new News Corp employees are up and running on their apps about two hours sooner than they had been before.
Automated provisioning includes deprovisioning, of course, which adds to the security boost: One update to the master directory, and an administrator can quickly remove access to both on-prem and cloud apps. Provisioning also includes extensive reporting and visibility into News Corp’s entire IT environment.
The company also has Okta Mobility Management in its sights. “News Corp has a very simple view on mobile,” says Shine: “Mobile is the platform as we go forward.. This is also true for the consumers of our products… Working in a mobile context for many people now is the primary way that they work. For any tool that we choose to deploy, it’s important that mobile is core to that product’s architecture - that the product is fundamentally designed to work really well on mobile, as opposed to being an afterthought.”
The team looks forward to gaining greater security over how employees use their mobile devices, guiding them with News Corp policies and procedures without intruding on their privacy. IT estimates a significant bump in productivity as employees gain easier access from anywhere, on whatever device they happen to have at hand.
Beheshti is also looking at introducing Okta integration into News Corp customer products, starting with B2B interactions, such as ad sales. Looking at the News Corp family of companies, you can see how those secure connections could eventually reach consumers and business people at every moment of their day.
About News Corp
News Corp is a global, diversified media and information services company focused on creating and distributing authoritative and engaging content to consumers throughout the world. The company comprises businesses across a range of media, including news and information services, book publishing, digital real estate services, and cable network programming and pay-TV distribution in Australia. Headquartered in New York, News Corp conducts business primarily in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Seventy Seven Energy
An unusual candidate for cloud
When you think of companies built in the cloud, oilfield services may not be the first industry that comes to mind. Seventy Seven Energy’s cloud-first infrastructure is an asset that sets it apart.
“Oil and gas is subject to a lot of boom and bust, and mergers and acquisitions,” says Chris Dodds, systems architect for Seventy Seven Energy. “If we can flex our IT up and down to meet business needs, that’s really powerful.”
Seventy Seven Energy spun off from parent company Chesapeake Energy in July 2014 with 5,400 employees, and Dodds’ team was given just 12 months to create, from the ground up, all the systems to support the new company. “It was a greenfield opportunity,” says Dodds. “Everything from phone systems, to computers, to data center, it was all new build.”
Dodds embraced the chance to start with a clean slate, letting legacy Chesapeake systems and data fall away. “We wanted something that was flexible in standard space so we could plug into anything that we wanted, rather than being tied to specific protocols or vendors,” he says.
The upstart organization did have a few legacy on-prem apps that would be hard to get away from, however. Dodds faced the challenge of tying those apps together with all the new cloud services they would be implementing. The team was convinced that deploying best-in-class solutions was the way to go—but how would they turn it all into one secure, cohesive system?
A modern perspective on identity The team already understood the importance of identity management for user provisioning, access, and systems security. After reviewing traditional identity management solutions, along with a few startup companies, Dodds and his team chose Okta for a several reasons:
The Okta Application Network
The Seventy Seven Energy team could see that, of the many cloud solutions they planned to implement, most were already in the Okta catalog. The hard work of integration had already been done, so each app could be added with less than two hours of configuration time. Gone was the need to spend months deploying Microsoft Active Directory Federation Services and building each integration.
After running through various competitor demos, it became clear that Okta’s breadth and depth of provisioning integrations made it by far the simplest solution for onboarding and offboarding users. The breadth and depth of Okta’s provisioning integrations meant that Seventy Seven Energy could their application provisioning requests and streamline the remaining manual processes.
Dodds was so impressed by how well Okta could tie users and apps together that he decided to master Seventy Seven Energy’s user IT record in Universal Directory, rather than in Microsoft’s on-prem solution, Active Directory.
The team appreciated the way Okta’s Adaptive MFA could help build extra protection into the system, while flexing to various user needs. Seventy Seven Energy knowledge workers represent vastly different security, connectivity, and user experience requirements: Some sit in offices, while others connect from rigs out in the field. Okta’s flexible policy framework meant IT could customize granular MFA rules to meet those needs.
Keeping admins sane and users productive
Without Okta, says Dodds, Seventy Seven Energy’s first year would have been brutal. Since launching, the company has rolled out 100 different applications to a new and shifting employee base. Right away, the team connected their ADP human resource solution to Universal Directory. HR personnel simply enter new or changing employee profiles into ADP, and using the Okta API, and the data is synced with Universal Directory and all the applications the employee is authorized to use. IT admins now have a central repository for users and apps and a single dashboard from which to manage all those user attributes, apps, groups, and the policies that apply to them.
Dodds is proud of the modern approach the company has taken, using APIs and automated protocols, rather than timeintensive manual processes. “Our total approach to IT has been, ‘Stay out of the user’s way,’” says Dodds. Seventy Seven Energy employees love Okta for the ways it just works. In the past, it took two days for new employees to gain access to everything they needed. Now, the process is almost instantaneous. They also love the time it saves them each morning as they log into all the applications they need with a single password.
Taking charge of the future
Talking to Dodds, you know that this is someone who values independence above all, and his approach to IT makes that supremely clear. Yes, the company launched with Office 365 as its productivity suite, but the team holds large, traditional vendors at arm’s length. “We don’t want to lock in with anybody,” says Dodds. “If we decide in the future that we want to roll out Google Apps, we can do that and it’s not a big deal.”
That independence extends to IT’s daily to-do list. Okta has freed IT staff to move into stronger business analyst roles, where they can exercise their creative intelligence. Rather than remaining chained to their desks dealing with manual tasks, the IT team is out working with various business units to understand how technology can help them work more efficiently and strategically.
As one of the first Universal Directory customers, Seventy Seven Energy IT also played a big role in the evolution of one of Okta’s flagship products. The two teams have been in close contact, with Seventy Seven Energy IT offering ideas for new features, along with feedback as they’re implemented.
“We’ve been able to drive the product in the direction we needed it to go,” says Dodds. In the process, they’ve helped make Universal Directory better for everyone who uses it.
About Seventy Seven Energy
Seventy Seven Energy is a diversified oilfield services company providing a wide range of wellsite services and equipment to U.S. land-based exploration and production customers. Through its umbrella of affiliates, the company offers comprehensive upstream services, including drilling, pressure pumping, and oilfield rental tools. Operations are geographically diversified across active oil and natural gas projects in the onshore United States.