Today, at their virtual Okta Showcase event, identity vendor Okta is announcing two new Okta Partner Connect specializations. Both are Services Delivery specializations. The Customer Identity specialization is an explicitly services-focused one around Okta’s core capabilities. The Okta Access Gateway one is for partners helping customers with broad digital transformation projects as they move to a hybrid IT model.
While Oktane is Okta’s major user conference, and is held in the spring, Okta rolled out Showcase for the first time last year as a fall event, to highlight new product developments and showcase their innovation on a more regular cadence. These channel announcements are not new product, of course. But they reflect to a considerable degree the impact of the pressures created on customers by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Both of these specializations relate to some degree to the COVID economy,” said Jessica Ponce, Okta’s Director of Partner Success. “Both of them were already in the pipeline, but COVID accelerated the need for them, particularly as people shift to remote work. So the timing was perfect.”
The two new services specializations also reflect the transition within the Partner Connect Program to respond to partner requests for a greater emphasis on services. There are now three Services Delivery specializations in the program.
“We are redefining specializations,” Ponce indicated. “When we started Partner Connect two years ago, we were more focused on their Workforce opportunities. Partners now want more services opportunities. We wanted to give them the opportunity to differentiate there. It gives them the ability to focus on what they are good at.”
The Okta Access Gateway is designed to solve hybrid IT access issues, by connecting on-premises legacy and custom-built applications to the Okta Identity Cloud.
“The partner angle increases here with customers moving to more remote work,” Ponce said. “Identity is a core of that, and the modernization of on-prem applications that we are seeing accelerate as organizations think about their digital transformation strategy plays in to the Okta Access Gateway specialization. As they adopt to the new normal, we want to make sure we provide partners with tools and resources.”
Ponce said that this specialization is really geared around larger projects.
“Historically, our partners have focused on Workforce, which is a quicker implementation, but hybrid is a bigger footprint,” she stated. “It addresses the requirements of customers that are moving away from legacy infrastructure to applications and integrations.”
The new Customer Identity specialization is also focused around large services opportunities.
“Organizations want to make sure they give their customers the best experience, as remote work and digital transformation become the norm,” Ponce said. “These bigger scope projects cover everything from scoping to implementation, making sure all aspects like mobile apps work well. The big global GSIs often handle these big scale projects.”
In addition to announcing the two new specializations, Okta also stated that they have seen an over 400% increase in their global channel partner ecosystem in the last two years. This includes all types of partners, not just the large integrators.