The Next Marathon: Spreading Trust in a Digital World

We are delighted to welcome Jon Addison as our new Senior Vice President, EMEA General Manager. In this post he shares his observations on the growing importance of identity when creating digital experiences and the role Okta has to play as a key enabler of digital trust.

After arguably the most chaotic and disruptive 18 months in modern human history, it’s safe to say that consumers and employees alike harbour many doubts about their futures in this new, technology-driven world. And who can blame them?

Before joining Okta as Senior Vice President EMEA General Manager, I had the honour of leading a large team across a broad set of international markets. Many were like me, working away from their country of origin, and detached from their family and loved ones when the pandemic hit. Most had used office environments for client interaction, coaching and development, exercise and well-being, social cohesion, fun and hospitality. Then the world suddenly changed overnight. 

The relationship between employers and employees pivoted permanently, with companies much more invested in the security, productivity, and health of their teams in a hybrid model. Many moved at pace to rely entirely on digital channels to engage with clients and supply chains. It’s only now that businesses can take stock and consider their long-term strategy in these areas, and identity has a key role to play in securing digital trust in this new paradigm.

The same can be said for customer experiences. Since the pandemic, digital touchpoints with customers have become business-critical and a key differentiator across most verticals. In truth, identity is becoming a core tenet towards delighting customers and providing frictionless, secure experiences that win customer trust and set organisations apart from the competition. And Okta’s ability to solve all these problems with a single centralised identity management solution is what makes this new journey such an exciting opportunity for me and the rest of my team.

Building the future on a foundation of trust

As a marathon runner, I’m always looking at the road ahead. And after having worked in the identity management space earlier in my career, I always knew how important innovations like Okta would become once larger enterprises began adopting cloud technology at scale. Fast forward to the present day, and it’s exciting to witness the technology realise its remarkable potential.

From our networks, politics, and supply chains to commerce, well-being, and security, identity is the glue that binds our new digital world together, both professionally and personally. But while device proliferation and the digital revolution have given us access to services in ways that we could barely imagine just 20 years ago, they also placed a huge responsibility on organisations to secure trust by making those digital interactions as safe, efficient, and productive as possible. 

Fortunately, at Okta, trust lives at the heart of everything we do. And our position as a world leader in the identity space places us at a significant advantage to help organisations balance the scale between freedom and security in this new digital-first environment. Since joining Okta, my mission is to help organisations of all sizes embrace the hybrid workforce at scale, and create seamless, secure digital experiences that give employees the freedom to work wherever and whenever works best. We also strive to help organisations win customer trust by delivering the consistent, high-value, frictionless online services that set them apart from other competitors in the market.

Sustaining confidence starts with security

For nearly all organisations, the past 18 months have been characterised by disruption and accelerated digital transformation, all in the name of business continuity. With cyber threats increasing, IT networks expanding, and the job of protecting organisations from bad actors becoming more complex by the day, the role of identity in keeping networks secure and building trust becomes critical. 

Today, businesses are settling into long-term working models that take their employees outside the traditional network perimeter. And as enterprise adoption of the cloud continues to grow, zero trust is rapidly becoming the go-to strategy for managing IT security. By delivering an intelligent, agile, and rapidly deployable identity-first security architecture, we can help our customers implement zero trust quickly, providing them with new levels of security whilst enabling them to offer the flexibility and agility they need to modernise, grow, and succeed.

With the great talent we have on the team, the relevance and resonance of our value offering, and the vast untapped white space, EMEA has a lot of regional advantages on our side. But, to win in this market, it’s clear we need to bring our A-game to client and employee engagements every time. The security and satisfaction of our customers’ workforce and customers is vital to their emergence from the pandemic, so building winning long-term partnerships, differentiated by both innovation and care, will be a major focus area for myself and the rest of the Okta team pushing forward.

Connect with Jon on LinkedIn.