Customer Spotlight: Experian Charges Forward



Lorraine:  Welcome to the first breakout session of Oktane17, we're really excited that you're here and we want to make your Oktane experience excellent. I'm really excited to introduce two phenomenal speakers to the stage as well as a great customer success story that we're excited to share with you. Alpa Jain is the VP of API Center of Excellence at Experian, and then Cole Breidenbach is our VP of Value Consulting and Strategy at Okta. They're going to share with you the experience, story about how they've monetized the APIs within Experian and then also how Cole has supported with the business value model that helped drive adoption across all of Experian's GO's. We're excited to welcome them to the stage, please silence your phone and avoid going in and out just because we've got the video running back there. Welcome.

Cole B:  Morning.

Alpa Jain:  Good morning. Thank you, thanks for having here today. We started our journey about a year and a half with Okta ago, a year and a half ago with Okta. Really happy to share our journey today with Cole and talk about what's really worked well, what hasn't worked well, what are some of the key we're leanings. Walk you through some of that and how they helped us essentially build the case for why we should be moving towards Okta. 

Before we do that, I wanted to share a little bit about Experian, and a large part of that is just simply, obviously get to know who Experian is and what we do, but a big part of this and the relationship that we have with Okta was really needed to understand our business and understand our business model and where we're headed. Where we're headed in a year or headed in five years. 

The difference complexities in each of our different markets. You can see up here that Experian, we were, very proudly say that we're a leading global information services company. We're also now saying we are technology company right? Previously in the past we would have said technology, internally we're a service provider, but now over the past few years, we've really started to transform and Okta is one of the key partners that has helped us achieve that, become a competitive differentiator in our market and really start to grow. 

From an overall perspective, we're a company about 17, 16,000 employees. We operate in about 39 countries and that doesn't necessarily mean we have bureaus in each of the countries but we have various operations potentially in those countries or bureaus or have some sort of marketing presence in those countries. Our largest markets are in the US, Brazil and UK. Brazil and UK toggled back and forth just given the currency exchange. We're actually headquartered out of Dublin so we're exchanged on a [inaudible 00:03:16]. Our North American headquarters is actually in Costa Mesa, California where many of us are based out of. 

I'm sure here, most of you know what Experian does right? Or at least, we provide credit report and scores to consumers right? Or to financial institutions. We're actually much more than just a core credit bureau and providing scores and reports to consumers and businesses. We help people and businesses and organizations connect. The way we do that is we do that through modeling, segmentation, decision analytic, software. We provide these services back to our clients to make the right decisions so that we can help consumers, no different than everyone sitting in this room or myself. When you're standing at the line at Cole's, are you being prescreened for the right type of offer? Are you getting that discount? Is that offer valid and right for you? Those are the type of decision and capabilities that we offer our customers and our clients to provide value back to their consumers and ultimately our consumers.

Most of you are also probably familiar with our Direct to Consumer business which is a large part of our presence globally. That's more of the identity, thought protection products that we offer for consumers to actually connect and invite to Experian and monitor and take control of their own credit history and even get some education along the way. As I mentioned, we are really there from an Experian perspective, not just to provide the core information to our clients, but to help our clients make those right decisions, cause as we all know, in this type of digital market, it's very critical to give each of us the right offer at the right time at the right place and make the right sound decisions based on our credit worthiness, credit risk, and just eligibility overall.

This is just a small sample of a few of our clients right? Primarily, we're focused in the financial services industry. We've actually expanded globally into different areas, so we now also work with healthcare, we also work with the automotive. We have a wide range of clients that we not just sell our core credit business to or core credit information on consumers, but a lot of marketing data, again the decisioning data, or the decisioning capabilities that we sell with the long ... Our core credit business as well.

With that, we're gonna start to talk about our SSO experience or what we started with a couple years ago. From an employee perspective, you can see that we had multiple different tools in our toolkit essentially. Where that comes from is we're actually a company that grew over many years by acquisitions. We're probably a company of 100+ acquisitions over 15 years. What we historically did is we were very good at integrating our marketing, our product teams, [inaudible 00:06:12] compliance. We left technology on the side. For whatever reason, we left them on the side and we let them run their own data centers, their infrastructure. We didn't really even bring the product development teams together. They completely got to set up their own shop or maintain their own shop. As a result, we required many different tools and technologies over multiple years. The reality is, and we joke about this and it's something we're cleaning up internally as part of our transformational project across the organization is we're probably not mad at technology that we have not liked and not purchased right? 

We have everything under the sun you can imagine right? When you start to look at these different tools that we have for employees, we had a very disjointed experience right? We had multiple products and vendors. Each of the businesses had to manage their own vendors. We call them vendors, they weren't really partners at that time with us. We knew overall, decreased productivity. When you started to look at these different solutions, it was almost a no brainer right? When you start to think about Single Sign On and [passport 00:07:17] while there's Okta right? What can Okta start to give us? That's when we started to really bring the different pieces together.

Before we bought in, we had to develop a business case and that's where Okta jumped in and helped us tremendously right? It was not only just about building that business case, we've all probably put business cases together here right? I know exactly what the payback period needs to look like for the CFO to sign off on right? I know exactly what the ROY needs to look like. We can put those numbers together, but it never really is the right solution for us right? In the sense that we needed to make sure that we were bringing our people along and really selling that Okta was the right solution for our company and why it was so transformational.

Cole B:  It's a great point and I want to do a little bit of Q&A here with Alpa on the process, because as they looked on the previous side we looked at how they have this different disparate solutions across their enterprise and building the business case. Help me understand why that was so critical when we started the beginning of the partnership and you got engaged with us? 

Alpa Jain:  Right. Before we had met Okta, we were going through a massive transformation from an IT perspective. I mentioned earlier that in IT, we were generally viewed as a service provider right? That's not exactly what you want to be viewed at right? When I used to sit on the product side I used to call my IT folks and say, "I need a server spun up" They're like, "Well that's gonna take you six months." I'm like, "Well I just lost my client." Right? We had a lot of work that we had to do. We knew from top down, the message that was being delivered to us is that you guys had to become a competitive differentiator. How are you going to do that? Part of building this business case and where we needed Okta's help is that we knew we had a massive cultural shift to go along with the transformation right? Okta is transformational, but they really helped us understand when we built this business case together. 

How do you bring a transformational technology and your people along in the same journey, in the same path? That's where we had to ... We struggled quite a bit very honestly right? We used a lot of Okta help to bridge the gap between that because again, I can manipulate the numbers right? We can get the right payback period, I can get the right ROY, right? But at the end of the day, we had to build the belief in this technology, and the technology in our people, but we also had to be very ruthless in the fact that we had to sunset a ton of our existing products and solution. To this day, we are very ruthless right? That is a commitment that we've made, but that's a commitment that we also hold Okta accountable for as well right? In helping us roll out these new solutions but also sunset a lot of the existing solutions that we have.

Cole B:  It's a great point, and typically related to that, typically when I talk to customers about this kind of role, this kind of value consulting and strategies role, they're immediately skeptical right? They say, "Oh it's another vendor ROY assessment, we all know where that goes. Our guys aren't betting that. It's just to try hold price in a deal or something like that." I think we viewed it differently and can you speak to a little bit about how our organization partnering with you and the engagement was a lot different?

Alpa Jain:  Yeah. Okta, they came in and they actually understood our business models right? It's a great example last week too where we're continuing that so it's not just that we built this business case and we left it. We continue to build upon that business case as we roll out the new solutions that are coming out. What they really do is they sit down with you and they start to understand the use cases right? All of us, we've probably gone to [inaudible 00:10:42] right? How important is it for my business perspective that if I'm being instant prescreened at the point of sale that I get the right offer at the right time right? If Okta is part of our process which they are right? We have to make sure that goes seamlessly from a customer experience right?

Taking that knowledge, sharing that knowledge is how you guys really started to differentiate yourself. To sit down with us, understand those use cases, cause the reality is, if I can't pull a credit report on any one of you, our clients, our retailers will waterfall immediately into the next bureau. I can't lose that business, right? I can't have a minute of downtime even right? It's sub second delivery and that's why when you guys come in, or Okta comes in, they really sit down to understand what are those different use cases and how can we make sure that it's not just about rolling out from a B to E perspective but what are our implications from B2B perspective and how is that gonna add value back to you. 

Cole B:  Agreed, and I think when we went through the entire process with you guys, what was exciting is we started with that B to E. The internal phasing use case. As we started talking to you and digging with the team more and talking with different stakeholders in Allen and in Costa Mesa with all the different teams we started thinking, "Well have you guys considered X, Y and Z over here because we can help you solve those issues that you're having in those units as well." I think that was very important. You did also touch on something else that I think is important and that's when ... When I talked to our customers and specifically [inaudible 00:12:08], I think this story with Experian and Okta is very special is that a lot of vendors will build business cases upfront with their customers. Very few of them will come back and use that as a success framework that you can demonstrate value back in the business that's quantified right?

If somebody down the road a few years says, "What's the value this solution is actually driving?" It's great to give a couple bullet points on a slide, but have you actually worked with the vendor that quantify that and be able to demonstrate that business since, "Hey, here are the operational benefits this is delivered to my organization." That's actually something that at Okta that makes our business value program completely different. [inaudible 00:12:48] tails very nicely with our customers success program and we're gonna start to focus on a lot more of that moving forward here in the future in terms of developing those business cases, holding each other mutually accountable and really helping more of our customers drive lifetime value with our solution. Moving from being a solution to a platform to a full blown partner, it's a key differentiator for us as a part of our program.

Alpa Jain:  It's great, and that was great Segway into this next slide because when we worked with them, we had to work very close with procurement right? Everyone has procurement teams right? Procurement's just focused on the lowest price, let's be honest. When your Chief Procurement Officer comes up to you and says, "This is the best technology I've ever seen." You're like, "I did my job right." Right? We built the business case right. Even the finance team. The finance, our Chief Revenue Officer, our Chief Financial Officer, they look at these savings, and these savings were broken out by working very closely with Okta to help us identify what are some of those hard cost, what are some of those soft cost?

Are we talking about cross avoidance? Are we talking about cross savings? We were very specific and when we built that business case of how we were gonna categorize it and how are we gonna be measured on success. To this day, we go back to our business case which is a bit unusual in the Experian case although things are changing. We actually go back and say, "What was our payback? What are those cost savings?" We're continuously held accountable. Again, it comes back to we're incredibly ruthless when it comes to turning off technologies right?

We're incredibly ruthless when it comes to the Reuse of the Oracle licenses. Whatever it may be, we are making sure that we're capturing those savings and we're realizing those savings. Okta's done a great job of helping us along that way in doing so. 

Cole B:  I think that's a really nice Segway into the next slide as well as you talk about the deployment journey and from legacy to current state and how we've stayed involved in the value process. If I'd measured something upfront and said, "Hey Alpa, you can sunset X, Y, and Z in years two and three of your contract with Okta." We line that up with our PS team and make sure we stay engaged to say, "Hey, these contracts come up and then next two to three years, let's make sure that our statements of work in our sales and project plans all line up with those key value milestones and in that way we just ensured success throughout your deployment." 

Alpa Jain:  I couldn't agree more there. From a journey perspective, I won't read all the bullets and happy to share our project plans, you can reach out to our PMO if you want to see them. I think the main message here for me was, "No software is perfect." We knew that we weren't gonna buy everything day one right? We were very upfront with Okta and Okta was very upfront with us. They knew that we could not take on more than what we could chew at that time right? We had to be very strategic in the areas that we wanted to focus on and they helped us do that right? They helped us not only just establish a relationship, so we no longer view Okta as a vendor.

Seems small, but they're a partner and they helped us build out the proof of concept, they helped us show that it was really successful right? Again, I go back to when your Chief Procurement Officer says, "Best technology ever." We all know we did our job right, right? Those are compliments that run through your organization that feel great. Again, it's about biting off little chunks right? Making sure that we're successful along the way and we weren't gonna buy everything in day one. A lot of this has now led to, how do we share more use cases, more business applications? How do we share more of the business models that we're starting to think about as you guys continue to engage with us and get feedback from their product organization.

How their product needs to morph and change and adjust potentially to us, or they'll see a pattern across different clients. That's really where our journey is right? We've got little pieces that we're implementing and rolling out, we've done a great job in our B to E for our implementation now and our focus on our B2B, and a lot that's starting to surface a lot of discussions between our professional services team to say, "This is where we really need some help, these are some features, here's some risks that I cannot take on being very candid right?" Saying that, "I won't migrate some of my customers until I have these solutions or these features in place."

Cole B:  Completely, and it's just part of this, I know last night when we were having dinner with you and some of the other folks from the Experian team, one of the key themes that popped up was time to value. The ability for you to deploy very quickly so can you talk a little bit about that? 

Alpa Jain:  Yeah. I gave the greatest example right? I need a server spun up right? I had to monitor entire file population for one of my clients. Used to call IT and they say, "Oh it'll take you six to nine months to get a server up." Guess what? My clients already left the building right? When you talk about the agility, the nimbleness of how fast we had to deploy, we had to show very quickly that this team could do it and that's part of our broader transformational effort that Experian's undergoing overall. 

Moving from that, service provider becoming competitive differentiator. We're a large organization, we have multiple stylus right? One of our biggest challenges is that, some of the parts of the other business that still don't even use all of our services right? How do you bring them into the fold. That's where again it comes down to the little pieces right? Showing that we could deploy very quickly with the partnership with Okta and that it was a success. Now that we got the bind and support, we're able to roll it out more globally and more quickly as a result.

Cole B:  Absolutely, and just cause we're looking at the journey side here and talking a little bit about that. When we go back to coming back to our customer base and helping them realize value, making good on that initial business case that we modeled for them. There were a couple of really interesting things we did with your team, specific to your B to C use case where we went to one of these GOs and we actually built some custom models and what the cost per user would be for them using legacy solutions versus going with Okta, and what we essentially helped you guys develop was the value playbook so they could then take that and drive adoption across the different GOs in different areas and say, "Hey you should sunset these Oracle solutions or all those legacy stuff you have because here is how much it reduces your cost per user and that's how with the chargeback model, that's how things work."

Along with that, I think one of the best perks here is if you look under [inaudible 00:19:02] and 2017 with the API access management business case, going back with the partnership piece. I think that was a totally interesting situation only because we hadn't build a business case around API access management, so it was a total partnership and we were lucky enough walking into that room with you and your team that you would actually sit down and spend the time with us to look at those areas of savings around, well actually that'll help us in terms of rolling out for this GO, for our dev ops team and having that centralized, access management platform to manage those policies, attributes and all of that stuff essentially without having to pull those APIs down each time to fix them. 

There was a bunch of area of savings that actually we would then able to cycle back into our product team and say, "Hey, as far as PMM and TMM go for some of our customer phasing marketing, these are some areas that we should start talking about." Some really interesting stuff as part of building the partnership that it's a feedback loop that I think was critical and continues to be great as we grow together. 

Alpa Jain:  Absolutely. Let's talk a little bit about results. We've touched on this a little bit right? We've talked about benefits and learnings. Obviously, we've done a successful migration of the employee applications, we have some works still to do right? We've learned a tremendous amount along the way. Being perfectly candid again, it hasn't always been perfect right? It's not always all smiles.

Cole B:  It's not puppies and rainbows all the time.

Alpa Jain:  It's not puppies and rainbows right? There's a lot of heated discussions, but good discussions right? On, "Where do we really need to go next." Right? What do we need to do from a B2B perspective? I'm very focused on that right now cause that's the next big deliverable that we have from our perspective, but we're very dependent on, "How do we partner with Okta to make sure that those features are now built into their solutions so that I can deliver back value back to my customers and my clients." Right? Cause I look at it this way, "My customers are now your customers." Right? You're part of our process, so if I'm gonna be held accountable, I'm absolutely gonna come and hold Okta accountable and as it should be. Again, not a vendor relationship, a very much partnership focused relationship. I think we've seen, we've grown quite a bit over the past year, year and a half right? 

Last week we had a team out in Allen, Texas with us, where we did this exact same type of exercise where we sat down right? We had a few issues that we had to work through, but the broader discussion was around where we headed, what are some of those use cases that are most relevant? Cause that's what really gonna drive our adoption or our continued adoption and it was very receptive, and now there's tons of followup conversations that are going on obviously this week. That's where we know that no software is perfect right? This is a true partnership that we can actually grow and build together.

We've touched on the savings and the benefits a little bit. What we projected is that roughly about $9,000,000 in total cost avoidance and savings over the next five years. It's a substantial amount, but again we are very ruthless right? When we have to shut off a technology, we shut it off and we often use our IT folks as guinea pigs right? They don't get a lot of notices, we do a lot of learnings with them before we go out into the business right? The business tends to come back with a lot more backlash than we can probably wanna take on. With our IT folks, we drive them hard, we make sure that we achieve those savings and you can see that we're already starting to realize some of them this year, but we're projected at 9,000,000 over the next five years.

Cole B:  Just to go back to that piece really quick, I'm just curious, when you started talking in procurement and finance about some of those soft cost savings, some of the metrics around productivity, how are those received? I think we all know how those are received and viewed by [inaudible 00:22:47]

Alpa Jain:  They're not received at all right? They don't wanna build in to the business case right? They don't value really productivity and efficiency, but we still measure it right? At the end of the day, it's a story that we're gonna continuously tell. Just because finance and procurement says, "Those are not real savings." Right? Even though we recognize that they're real savings and we want to track our success against that, so we still capture those metrics, we still measure ourselves against those and we still communicate throughout the organization right? We continue to do so.

Cole B:  I think one of the other areas that I think you and I talked about when we were building the API access management business case was, how has Okta helped you drive top line benefits? If you can speed your time in the market with some of those APIs and services, whether you're making it faster for your developers to do the authentication piece and deploy the API or the service or getting them to your customers faster, how does that help your top line? One of the revenue in packs and I'll never forget you looked at me across and telling me like, "I'm not sure we can include that in the business case, but we should. We should start looking at things that way, how solutions can help our top line, help our growth benefits." Even though we didn't include it in the business case, I thought that was very interesting. You said, "Can you help me do that?" Yeah, we'll measure it. Good bullet points nonetheless.

Alpa Jain:  I think it goes back to how it's not just about deploying the technology, it's the cultural shift that we are trying to do within the organization right? We have massive initiatives around one Experian bringing our different stylus together. Discussions like that, and when I say, "Can you help me?" That's how we shift the organization to the direction that we want to go in and what's what's so important to us.

From an internal adoption perspective just a couple of numbers right now you can see 107% internal adoption, the seven obviously over the 100% that's mostly focused on our contractors right? We all have contractors. I'm seeing some nods here, so that's like the numbers don't add up. You can see, right after we have about 170,000 total activated users and about 20,000 licenses today. 

Our approach when it came to growing out the solution was very strategic as well. I had our teams look at all of our top applications right? We wanted to be successful, we knew that we had to focus on certain areas and if you look at service central, sorry that should say service now but it's just our own internal branding. We focused on the areas that would make the most impact right? Part of that was going through all of our applications and making sure that where we're gonna get that most adoption and how we're gonna show those cost savings going all back to the business case and tying it all back together.

We're taking the same approach when it comes to our B2B migrations in the sense that we're looking at our top applications, we're looking at our top customers, revenue generating applications and focusing on the ones that are gonna make the most impact now that we've had a tremendous amount of learnings and success, we are now confident and comfortable with taking that risk and taking that leap and then also building the next set of business cases that we need to get additional funding to do more roll outs for more implementations.

What's next for us? I've touched on this a little bit and you can see these are all varying stages but these are our primary focus areas over the next year, year and a half for us right? Continue the B2B side, the B to E side, look at Okta MFA, and then Okta mobility management, another big focus areas for us so all work streams that are actively going at the same time and again happy to share those project plans if you're interested into diving into any of those details. 

Where we wanna go and this is probably my favorite part of any product or presentation is, what can you do beyond the B to E implementation and what does it really mean to partner? We talked about building a business case right? Which is critical. We talked about giving them product features right? Making sure that they understand our use cases. We want to take it a step further and this is where a lot of credit goes to Andrew, I don't know if Andrew's in the room, right there, and [inaudible 00:26:51] who built the demo for us. It's taking the solution to the next level right? Starting to think outside the box and what do we need to add to our employees that will make them more efficient, more productive. It's not a solution that may work or may not fit, but at least we're thinking outside the box and saying, "Let's go try this out with our employee base to see what we can get." We're gonna do a quick little demo of something that again the Okta team built for us. 

It's using, I'm gonna say Alexa while she's on mute. Here we go. Obviously I wanna log in to Experian right? I wanna leverage my friend here to get me in. Alexa, tell Experian to log me in- Alexa, tell Experian log me in hello. 

Alexa:  Hey Alpa, What picture do you see? Reply with, "This is a picture of a."

Alpa Jain:  This is a picture of a lion. 

Alexa:  Correct. It is a picture of a lion. What picture do you see? Reply with, "This is a picture of the."

Alpa Jain:  This is a picture of the batman. 

Alexa:  Correct, it is the picture of the batman. Where was your last purchase? Reply with, "My last purchase was at."

Alpa Jain:  My last purchase was at Starbucks.

Alexa:  Correct, your last transaction was at Starbucks. What was your city of birth? Answer by saying, "My city of birth is."

Alpa Jain:  My city of birth is Calgary. 

Alexa:  Okay, logging you in now. Have a great day Alpa.

Alpa Jain:  This is where we want to really start to change how we approach the experience internally and externally. We want to take these ideas and partner with Okta, they're willing to partner, their willingness to partner with us has been fantastic. How do we take to the next level and what do we do right? I'm sitting here going, "Yeah it may not have Alexa at work, but maybe I could do it, Hey Siri." right? We could really change that experience and that's where we wanna start to head towards as we continue on the roll out of Okta overall.

Cole B:  Absolutely, and I think it's about [inaudible 00:29:22] a lot too, it's not just focusing on the tactical stuff, the day to day, what's in front of us, the blocking and tackling, but it's actually looking forward with the more strategic. Some of these types of things and the fact that we're able to partner together and further do things that can innovate together.

Alpa Jain:  Absolutely. Well that's it. 

Speaker 4:  [inaudible 00:29:44]

Lorraine:  Eight minutes and then we'll go ahead and wrap up. Any questions from the audience?

Speaker 6:  [inaudible 00:29:53] back here. Question for you, outside of those major applications, what were some of the challenges that you faced with some of the applications that may have been homegrown that aren't the ones that you see? 

Alpa Jain:  I'm chuckling because we're still facing them okay? A lot of our challenges come around security right? Just our policies that are set in place right? That has been a big hurdle for us right? Trying to get them into ... adjust to the new way of doing things. I would say, security's probably one of the biggest ones, and I think outside of that, it's still the people. I go back to people. Fundamentally, the technology, and you can rewrite policies, you can work with security. If you can't get the people to go with you, we're stuck, we just can't move on and it's a lot of that is changing their mindset.

Lorraine:  The question?

Speaker 7:  Hi, can you talk a little bit about your APIs and access management that you're trying to do? I think the demo's got that over and all over it, but make it a little bit more insightful on it.

Alpa Jain:  Yeah so actually, I have [inaudible 00:31:08] here is gonna do a session in the afternoon on just the API access management, so we haven't actually ... We just started this with Okta, we just built the business case. We haven't really gotten to that space yet, we're now just starting our integration with Okta and our API management told us [inaudible 00:31:23] so we're just starting that integration so I don't have a lot of learnings but probably later on today we'll share the vision and the strategy behind it.

Lorraine:  Alpa, Cole, thanks so much for sharing your success story with Experian and we'd love to hear your thoughts and feedbacks so please make sure to submit that on the Oktane17 app. Enjoy the rest of Oktane, thank you.

Experian’s 125 year business has transformed from a credit bureau to a data services technology company that empowers Experian employees, partners, and consumers with a diverse set of tools–all consolidated on one identity standard. Join VP of Strategy Alpa Jain, to hear how Okta is a catalyst for Experian’s technology innovation as it leads the industry in monetizing the API micro-services economy. Learn about the Value Playbook Experian used to drive adoption of Okta globally across 17,000 employees and 100% of its internal and business-serving apps, including retiring six on-prem identity services within months and providing the identity layer for the Credit Tracker consumer app.