Peterborough needed to simplify IT. Okta helped them do it.



Richard: We're a unitary authority in the UK. We've got about 180,000 residents and about 1,400 staff. We run everything from the bin collections on through housing benefits, right through to our social care, schools admissions, education, many, many different services. We've traditionally had a server room in the town hall. We've got something like 300 servers sitting in there. They're getting towards the end of their lives. They're five, six, seven years old. I think some are even eleven, twelve years old and really on their last legs.

What we've had to do is look at the challenges we've got as a town. We've got huge budget pressures coming in the next couple of years. We need to change the way that we work. We need to be more collaborative. We need to have better solutions. We need to make stuff more mobile. All of these requirements that we've gathered led to us coming up with a pure cloud strategy.

Identity management's always been an issue in the council. I think you could probably walk around the council today and pick up some mouse mat and find passwords written on post it notes hidden. The reason people do it is because we have so many systems that they use and each have to have an individual password. Looking at single sign on, looking at the Okta product set, it just makes life so much simpler. One sign on, one log in, you can have access to all the applications you need.

Okta's our first move into what I call a true cloud sort of platform. Obviously it's got to be right. If you get the first one wrong you're not going to get very far with the rest of the estate. We had to make sure that Box worked and worked well. Them coming to us and recommending Okta was just another part of that. You open a webpage, you type Box into the search bar, you're put straight through into Box. We're moving them from a rigid sort of file structure that they've had for years and years and years into a completely new way of working. Just to make that as easy as possible for them, that just makes the rest of the roll out so much simpler, so much easier. To me, the whole pure invisibility of Okta is the greatest benefit I've got.

I think, really, a lot of the American companies, at the moment especially, they are adopting the model of customer success managers, customer experience managers. For us as an account, we're quite a small account. Having that sort of knowledge and availability of staff on call, basically, is vital. We are moving to the cloud. It's the first big move. There's not a lot of local authorities that have done it in the UK. We are quite relying on the expertise and technical knowledge of those guys. We are looking toward the private sector, see what they are doing, how they are working. Again, the knowledge that the customer success managers bring is vital in delivering that.

It is so much easier, the whole process. That, again, means that the IT staff, they don't have to worry about how they're going to control these sort of things. They can worry about, okay, how does the department now use the new application. What can they do with it? What can we do to help them with it? We know the back end's taken care of. We know it's going to be up and running. We know that Box is going to be up and running. We don't have those problems to worry about any more. The availability is there. Let's get on and do it.

The unitary authority of Peterborough, UK may have 1,400 staff, but they deal with about 180,000 residents. That comes with a wide range of services, from maintaining their residents’ social care right through to garbage bin collection. Anything to make their job easier is an asset, and for their IT team, it means taking advantage of cloud-based technology for their systems. Through Okta’s Single Sign-On capabilities and their ever present Customer Success team to guide them every step of the way, Peterborough’s authorities are in good hands.