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Okta and Auth0 to expand APAC coverage

Okta’s acquisition of rival Auth0 will enable both companies to expand their footprint in the Asia-Pacific region as demand for identity management services soars amid the pandemic

Okta’s acquisition of rival Auth0 will enable both companies to better address the growing demand for identity and access management (IAM) services in the Asia-Pacific region.

The $6.5bn deal was closed earlier this month and the two companies are now looking at ways to leverage their joint expertise to better serve their current and prospective customers, according to the regional heads of Okta and Auth0.

Okta’s take on IAM has traditionally differed from Auth0’s. It has sought to ease the pain of managing employee and customer identities through its cloud-based platform and a no-code approach, while Auth0 has focused more on developers who still want to code.

Those developers would still need to meet specific business requirements and no-code is often not an option, said Graham Sowden, Okta’s general manager for Asia-Pacific.

And while developers do not want to build authentication systems from scratch, they want as many IAM capabilities as possible out of the box, but from a developer’s perspective, he added.

“Identity is a massive problem, and we were addressing it from different perspectives,” said Richard Marr, Auth0’s regional director for Asia-Pacific. “And now, with both of those perspectives covered, we can provide choice and coverage on this problem for all our customers and prospective clients.

“We can focus on helping organisations build mission-critical, revenue-generating, customer-facing applications with developers, and supporting them so that they can focus on other things besides IAM.”

As with any merger and acquisition, product integration between Okta and Auth0 is on the cards, though it is uncertain what the outcome will look like.

“Okta has made no secret of its identity engine as the forward platform for integrating everything to do with identity,” said Sowden. “There will be work in that area, but it is too early to say.”

Although the two companies will remain separate to avoid stalling their respective businesses and revenues, Sowden said they will continue to develop both platforms and remain committed to their respective technology roadmaps.

“We’ve both got very strong roadmaps,” said Marr. “The view is to put the foot to the accelerator on those roadmaps and continue that investment. Part of it will be to look at which integrations make sense and when. But at the moment, those roadmaps are being heavily invested in.”

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Marr said Okta and Auth0 have been focusing on the public sector business in Australia and New Zealand, at state and federal levels. The two companies also have teams in markets such as Japan, Singapore and India, although Okta is present in South Korea while Auth0 is not.

“There is commonality and disparity, but together we get more footprint and coverage, which is quite interesting to see,” said Marr, noting that Auth0 has seen good growth in Southeast Asia, Japan and India, a market that is just picking up.

Part of the growth comes from increased remote working amid the pandemic, which has spurred the demand for IAM services that provide remote access to enterprise networks and cloud-based applications.

“We’re probably never going to go back to where we were,” said Sowden. “Globally, we’ve seen massive acceleration of cloud adoption. Both our organisations are cloud-native and see that the future of on-premise is very much a legacy one, so we’re definitely riding that wave.”

Marr said efforts by enterprises to improve customer experience, which has been impaired by the use of separate identity systems for different applications, have been a key growth driver.

“Each of those applications have a separate identity service, so they don’t have a single view of their customer that they need to cross-sell and upsell,” he said.

Another source of growth has been the modernisation of customer-facing monolithic applications to reduce the cost of change and improve business agility.

“Customers want to break up those apps into microservices so they can push changes through much faster,” said Marr. “Identity is often baked into that monolith, and it’s preventing them from moving to the new architecture.”

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