PwC and Okta: delivering cloud identity solutions
Okta is a cloud identity platform focussed on enabling organisations to use technology securely, as Paul Rooke, Managing Director - GSIs and Advisories, explains: “We promise to always protect the identities of our customers’ work force and their customers. We have 14 offices around the world, 2,700 employees, approaching 9,000 customers and six and a half thousand integrations with other technologies.”
As companies look at their digital transformation programmes, they don't want to get locked into legacy applications that take years to roll out, and they don't want to be locked into identity solutions that are stuck onto those applications as an afterthought. We take away the headache of identity, allowing PWC to focus on the business requirements of their clients.”
The partnership has afforded Okta the ability to get a broad view of client requirements, as Rooke explains. “PwC are authoring not just identity strategy, but across digital transformation as a whole. With PwC at the forefront of a client relationship, they work very strongly with our own professional services team, our own customer success organisation, and our engineering teams, to really get deep into our technology and make sure that our technology fits the requirements of those large programmes and customers.”
Rooke identifies legacy migration as one of the keys powering the relationship into the future. “We’re able to leverage Okta’s Access Gateway into legacy tools, whilst at the same time moving that organisation, as part of it’s transformation program, into the new world. That involves replacing on-premise apps with cloud apps, and at the same time, having Okta sitting on top of everything as a cloud technology that retains a gateway into legacy systems.” The company is further empowering users by putting its technology into the hands of developers. “Developers can actually build Okta into their own home-grown applications. That's something that PwC can offer as a service to clients, guiding and helping them strategise around that.”
Rooke remains confident in the strength of the partnership and its ability to withstand the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it has presented to clients. “The remote work piece has obviously developed at pace this year, and that’s something PwC and Okta can deliver solutions for. For example, a soft drinks organisation is now managing the relationship with suppliers and their distributors globally using Okta as the identity solution. That's something we’ve only seen accelerate this year.”
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”