Solving the retail supply chain crisis with identity

Many organisations were vastly underprepared for the massive supply chain disruptions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. As logistical operations hit lockdown, supply chain efficiency, security, customer experience, and brand reputations all suffered terribly – with retail considered one of the industries most heavily impacted by the crisis.

Fast forward two-and-a-half years later, and the scars of COVID-19 supply chain disruption still show. Alongside rising cyberattacks, the lack of control and visibility most retailers have over the technologies their partners and suppliers use can slow down productivity and prevent businesses from satisfying their customers’ demands.

But what steps can retailers take to overcome these challenges, and how can an identity-first approach help restore trust and fuel long-term growth? 

To find out, this post looks at the three biggest supply chain challenges retailers face in the digital-first world, and how modern identity and access management can help solve them.

The rise in supply chain cyberattacks


82% of CIOs say their organisations are vulnerable
to cyberattacks targeting software supply chains -


As rates of ransomware and other cyberattacks on the retail supply chain continue to surge, IT and Security leaders face immense pressures to respond. While protecting their suppliers and partners is critical, many retailers often have little visibility or control over the third-party systems connecting to their network. These blind spots  can (and often do) create open doors for bad actors to enter the network by proxy and spread through all neighbouring IT systems without detection. 

Fortunately, by investing in a modern identity platform like Okta, retailers can leverage a wide range of cloud-based identity applications that can be accessed online by any user along the supply chain network, irrespective of device or location. With tools like Single Sign-on (SSO)  and Multifactor Authentication (MFA), retailers can quickly centralise access management and provide a secure ‘front door’ across every endpoint to eliminate the risk of data breaches through credential-based attacks.

Poor efficiency across disparate IT systems


58.6% of retail supply chain executives wanted to invest more in omnichannel
fulfilment because of supply chain disruption –


When it comes to the supply chain, efficiency is key. Yet, identity siloes built up across multiple disparate cloud and legacy apps make it difficult for IT leaders to manage user access with ease. Onboarding and provisioning partners, suppliers, and franchises is another challenge, leading to poor productivity and high volumes of costly IT helpdesk calls.

With Okta’s Universal Directory and Lifecycle Management many of these challenges disappear. Instead of managing multiple identities across multiple IT systems, IT and Security leaders get a single consolidated view of every supplier, contractor, partner, customer, and acquired companies’ employee. By using this hub as a centralised control point, retailers can then automate key provisioning processes to quickly and securely onboard partners and suppliers to their apps using one single console.

Complex relationships with partners and suppliers


Only 22% of companies have a proactive supply chain network – Zippia


In today’s fast-moving digital-first world, trust is critical for maintaining healthy supplier and partner relations. However, high friction logins, increased security threats, and poor communications along the supply chain can quickly damage business partnerships during a time when unity is more important than ever. 

By simplifying and unifying secure access to partner portals, information, and resources, identity takes the friction out of your partner and supplier relationships, building trust and becoming the glue that holds the supply chain together.

How Okta can help

Every day, Okta helps more than 15,000 organisations across the globe improve supply chain inefficiencies and create more seamless and secure digital experiences for partners, suppliers, employees, and contractors with identity. In partnering with us, retailers like Baker’s Delight saved $500,000 in their first nine months of using our products. Together, we helped connect and engage all 700 franchises along the supply chain, reducing IT related help desk calls by 50% and ensuring every store in their network was achieving the best of its growth potential.

To learn more about how Okta can help your improve the supply chain operations of your organisation, and to reveal why we’ve been named a Customers’ Choice in the 2022 Gartner® Peer Insights™ “Voice of the Customer” report for Access Management (AM) four times in a row, contact one of our friendly experts for a quick chat at whatever time is most convenient.

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