Oktane20 Opening Keynote with Jill Porubovic (Discovery) + Todd McKinnon (Okta)



Todd McKinnon: Thanks for joining us today. Oktane20.

Jill Porubovic: It is awesome to be here even though I'm here and not there.

Todd McKinnon: Yes, that's what we're all getting used to. Speaking of interesting times, how are you doing?

Jill Porubovic: I'm doing great. In many ways, I feel like I was born for this time, from a company perspective. It's been an amazing shift, and we're at probably about between 95 and 98% of our workforce working from home, which is sort of unheard of in the media industry. As difficult as times are, it feels kind of amazing to just all be together and functioning pretty well.

Todd McKinnon: When I think about Okta, working from home, it's a shift but it's not a massive shift. I mean everyone has computers, we all have pretty good networks and a good part of our workforce is remote anyways. How has it in media? Is it kind of like a dramatic difference for everyone, or in general, are people distributed and kind of equipped for this?

Jill Porubovic: Honestly, it hasn't been that big of a shift. Probably the harder part is that last few percentage of the folks that are broadcast folks. You think about our technical operations center, but we've found ways to make it possible for those people to work from home as well. This week, we're in the home stretch and we will be at nearly a hundred percent people working from home.

Todd McKinnon: Talk a little bit more about Discovery. You guys were pretty early in your move to the cloud. Tell me about that transition and tell me about maybe what were the dynamics in the organization that kind of gave you the permission to do that? That's an interesting story.

Jill Porubovic: The first push was to get all of our content to the cloud, to make our content supply chain run from there and give us the flexibility to be able to get that direct-to-consumer lined up so we can support our customers on any platform. That was kind of the first push that we did.

Jill Porubovic: And then that secondary push is with our infrastructure, getting out of our data centers in 18 months. Pushing all of that to the cloud to get out of the equipment, the location, the maintenance costs. And that really is just strategic vision by our IT teams, their broadcast teams, our distribution teams. And if I look at where we are today and our ability to work remotely, really hats off to our network team and our infrastructure team for getting that all in place and providing us that foundation so that we have that platform to have everything else run off of almost seamlessly.

Todd McKinnon: Yeah, we're seeing with some customers that the things they didn't expect to be issues like just the VPN concentrator, right? They never use their VPN that much. Or, like I said before, even some companies aren't even lucky enough to have laptops for everyone. It's great to hear that you guys have a leg up on that.

Jill Porubovic: Well, and you think about VPN and our company and the reason why we're just normal users of it is because we travel so much. VPN is something that we've always had as a standard. Of course, there's people who don't necessarily use it that we've been training, but corporate wide we have enough licenses to cover everybody. We were well-prepared.

Todd McKinnon: One of the things we do at Okta is we have this thing, it's called the Businesses-at-Work Report, where we give information about what our customers use, what apps and what services are trying to help other customers kind of know what's powerful and what's working for customers broadly. What tools are you using? What other tools? We talked a little bit about your infrastructure, but what other specific tools that you're finding are working really well?

Jill Porubovic: And again, it's not like we had to make a big shift or move, right? These are things that we already had in place with that strategic vision of what we needed to do. And you mentioned laptops, right? Getting laptops in place. We started that in 2015. Having that so that we're ready to go there.

Jill Porubovic: Agile Office has really brought us the ability to be more flexible. Tooling wise, obviously, we use Okta and it just works. It's been in place for us so that we don't have to worry about identity. Citrix and Global Protect allow us to have that kind of totality layer of security that allows our teams to be able to join remotely.

Jill Porubovic: And then when we talk about other tools that have really helped us, collaboration tools have been amazing. And really we moved to Zoom in 2018 because we needed a platform that was going to provide us ease of use, but really good video quality, which we demand since we're a media company. And that tool, it's rare in IT that you get to rule out a tool that's just so widely adopted and has such organic growth that it's kind of amazing.

Jill Porubovic: And what's happened is our internal users are using it as a telephone, right? When somebody says, "Can I call you?" They mean, "Can I Zoom you? Can I see you?" Now, it's just this great ability to leverage that tool beyond where we took it before and have hundreds of people joining calls. That's sort of the dynamic there.

Todd McKinnon: I think it's really interesting. I think one of the kind of unforeseen benefits of this whole situation is I think Okta, internally, we will be more flexible with dynamic work and working from home and working remotely. We have a lot of remote people, but we're all pretty office centric I would say. And this will help us, I think, move away from that, so kind of stretching our legs on that motion I think will be a benefit. [inaudible 00:00:05:50].

Jill Porubovic: Yeah, us too. Yes.

Todd McKinnon: How are your customers? How are your partners and how's the community at-large doing through all this?

Jill Porubovic: What's interesting, and we talk about staying safe, right? We are doing everything we can as a company to keep our ourself, our families and everyone around us safe. And when we talk about our customers in the community and the things that we want to try to do for them, we've always been a soft place to land. You have HGTV, Food Network, Discovery, Animal Planet, Science. You have all these great brands available.

Jill Porubovic: And what we've tried to do as a company, being mindful of everybody being from home, is to pull up some more kid-friendly content during the day so that it's a place for kids to land. Parents shouldn't feel bad about their kids watching TV. Science is a great opportunity for kids to learn. It's a great opportunity to sort of just share what we already have and expand on that.

Jill Porubovic: When tough times like this are presented, we always want to be there for our community, but it also allows us the opportunity as a company to really rethink what we're doing and do it in new, better ways.

Todd McKinnon: It's amazing. It's inspirational. We really appreciate you joining us here on the Oktane20 live stream and sharing your story. Thank you very much for being a customer. We'll do whatever we can to help. We're here for you, so don't hesitate to reach out; and I look forward to seeing you next year, hopefully, in person.

Jill Porubovic: Yeah, that will be awesome. It's going to happen. Thanks everybody. Take care and stay safe

Find out how Discovery transitioned fully into a cloud environment to enable customer support on all platforms.