IT Brief New Zealand - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
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Top apps and services  revealed as organisations negotiate COVID-19
Thu, 10th Mar 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Organisations adopt collaboration and security tools with a vengeance, as they accelerate migration to the cloud, according to a new report.

Identity provider Okta has announced the findings of its eighth annual Businesses at Work report. The research explored what applications and services organisations in Asia Pacific and across the globe use to remain productive and secure.  

Businesses at Work 2022 takes a holistic look at Okta's network of 14,000 global customers and more than 7,000 integrations with cloud, mobile and web apps, and IT infrastructure providers to better understand the apps and services that powered work in 2021. The year's top apps include a combination of productivity suites, security solutions, and scheduling software.

"Ballooning infrastructure costs, rising cyberattacks, growing customer expectations for tailored digital experiences, and an increasingly dynamic workforce accelerated digital transformation in 2021," says Graham Sowden, Okta general manager for APAC.

"As our relationship with technology deepens, the role of identity in providing seamless access between people and technology has become critical," he says.

IDC is predicting that by the end of 2022, half of the Asia Pacific economy will be based on, or influenced by, digital technologies.

Globally, collaboration and security tools are the two most popular categories of tools deployed through the Okta Integration Network, showing a 28% and 31% year-over-year growth respectively.

The power trio Google Workspace, Zoom, and Slack have won a large number of new customers across APAC. Google Workspace grew 68% YoY in terms of number of customers in the region, while Slack and Zoom grew 40% and 37%, respectively.

Also in APAC specifically, network security tool Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect, workflow platform ServiceNow, email security tool Mimecast, and small business accounting software Xero were the most popular among customers.

Globally, collaboration tools like Notion, Figma, Miro, Airtable and saw a surge in customers throughout the year, in tandem with the rise of remote working.

Compared to the previous years report, 70% of the fastest-growing apps are new to the top 10. Clearly, the rapid shift to remote work drove firms to adopt new technologies to keep their workforces connected, secure and productive.
"Remote work has made content collaboration tools outright essential for corporations during the pandemic," says Sowden.

"In particular, we see that videos and meetings continue to connect people in a remote world, especially in APAC, where employers are arming their employees with collaboration platforms such as Zoom."

Ricky Kapur, head of APAC at Zoom, adds, "We are proud to be recognised as one of APAC's most-used productivity applications and services.

"Zoom is constantly innovating with our diverse ecosystem of partners, including Okta, to provide organisations with solutions that empower their hybrid workforce," he says.

"With employees wanting greater flexibility in where and how they work, we are committed to driving secure and seamless collaboration for employee engagement and overall company success."

Being able to access workflows and productivity tools from any location, on any device has turned into a business imperative. In fact, cloud migration is not just increasing, it's doubling, and complexifying, with organisations choosing to use multiple cloud platforms instead of putting all their cloud computing in one virtual basket.

AWS remains the runaway favourite cloud platform globally, showing a 32% YoY growth last year and contributing to a total increase of 152% since 2018. Meanwhile, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is boasting an increase of 40% since 2020, a whopping 365% from where it ranked in 2018.

The report found firms are also continuing to invest in security-related applications, with Netskope (a network security tool) now the fastest growing app worldwide by number of unique users and VMware's Workspace ONE (an endpoint management tool) remaining high on the list.

In addition, businesses are increasingly turning to higher assurance and adaptive forms of authentication like Okta Verify and WebAuthn to secure access to applications. Globally, SMS as a security factor dropped from 53% three years ago to 47% today, while security questions dropped 18% three years ago to 13% today.

The research suggests that even when organisations increasingly license productivity suites, they still want to invest in best-of-breed apps that mirror some of the apps licensed under the bundle.

Of Okta's Microsoft 365 (the most popular app) customers globally, 33% deploy four or more best-of-breed apps, up from 20% four years ago, highlighting the growing importance of flexibility and functionality as employees work remotely. Some 38% also deploy Google Workspace, this year's third most popular app by number of customers. Another 43% use AWS, the second most popular app.

"This year's report clearly shows that organisations across the globe are leaning heavily into two areas: choice and collaboration," says Sowden.

"This is a wise move and Okta is excited to be able to support some of APACs largest and most complex enterprises as they evolve their technology strategies."