Lessons and Thoughts from Oktane 2021

It’s been an exciting last week highlighted by Oktane 2021. We saw how companies are managing security in a remote environment and innovations around zero trust and identity management.

We are thrilled to be one of Okta’s Premier partners, and share the same vision on improving security and reducing risk. The post-pandemic world will still need solutions around remote work and managing more and more cloud applications.

Oktane had:

  • Thousands of participants
  • Over 100 panels and sessions
  • 61 sponsors

It was a great opportunity to network and discuss security and SaaS management with so many important partners, customers, and colleagues.

Fireside chat with Sylvie, Dropbox CIO

The highlight of the show for us was the fireside chat with our CEO Jody Shapiro and the CIO of Dropbox, Sylvie Veilleux. Dropbox is a joint Okta and Productiv customer, and like many of our customers, faces unique challenges around managing hundreds of SaaS applications. Sylvie shared many forward-looking thoughts around how they’re tackling overseeing risk, training line of business partners, and improving employee productivity.

Changing role of the CIO

Sylvie was the first CIO ever hired at Dropbox in 2017, and has experienced how the role of the CIO is transforming first hand: she had to build out the tech and structure for Dropbox’s IPO. She has watched as the tech and tools that IT needs have shifted and how the CIO role is evolving as well. “I see the role is becoming more and more strategic to the business across all industries. The CIO and their organization have to be strategic partners to the business.”

Rapid Increase in SaaS

The rapid increase and importance of SaaS applications have played a role in that shift. Sylvie shared just how many of the mission-critical apps are SaaS applications.
“Dropbox is a digital-first company and without SaaS we wouldn’t be able to run the business as efficiently as it has been. There is a reason why we see SaaS increasing – it brings value faster and mostly at a lower cost to deploy and manage. However, when it’s not governed well, not only can it become a sprawl, it becomes a big risk for the company, and a driver for productivity challenges. With tools like Okta and Productiv, I can quickly identify investments of low value and engagement and catch anything that may have fallen through the cracks.”

SaaS administration and risk

Sylvie has coined the term “SaaS-at-Scale” and how to manage hundreds of SaaS applications. In the fireside chat she outlines how to best manage these applications and ensure security. She partnered with business colleagues to create oversight starting with a simple 2×2. This creates structure on how to prioritize each application. “The decision is largely based on how broad the technology is within the organization, how critical it is the business and how sensitive the data is.”

Impacting Employee Productivity

Finally, Sylvie discussed how SaaS tools can impact employee productivity and overall business efficiency. The increase in tools has lead to new challenges: “It is a problem when multiple tools are doing the same thing or when employees need to navigate between too many solutions to do their job – this fragmentation creates interruptions in workflows and impacts employee focus – at Dropbox we call this work about work”

We learned a lot from our conversation with Sylvie. The fireside chat is available on-demand for the next two weeks. Please check it out here.

Opportunities moving forward

2021 will be an exciting year, hopefully in a way that 2020 was not. We expect to see new work models, more SaaS applications, and a higher level of focus on improving the employee experience.

The partnership with Okta and joint customer stories like Dropbox show the potential of where technology can take us.

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