G Suite gains on O365 in race for enterprise

Published on the 13/02/2019 | Written by Heather Wright


Identity verification dominates fastest growing segment…

Don’t trust, verify.

That’s one of the key messages from Okta’s latest Businesses @ Work report, which looks at the state of app usage in large companies – with identity driven security offerings ‘the fastest of the fastest growing apps’.

Representing the empirical data from the logons from 100 million users, Okta’s latest report of software usage provides a fascinating insight into the actual usage of business software.

“Customers aren’t committing to a Microsoft-only environment, with more than 28 percent ‘double-bundling’, subscribing to G Suite as well.”

The annual report, now in its fifth year, also shows that while Microsoft’s Office 365 apps may be continuing to dominate as the most popular apps, they’re not having it all their own way, with Google’s G Suite user base also growing quickly and most companies also deploying competing best-of-breed apps to run alongside Office 365.

Okta, which celebrated its tenth anniversary last week, is a US$9 billion, 100 million-user identity management company and draws data for the report from its network of thousands of enterprise companies, applications and IT infrastructure integrations to provide empirical evidence of exactly what apps large companies are deploying in their businesses.

In an increasingly app-y business world – large companies (2000 or more employees) are deploying 163 apps on average and smaller companies deploying an average of 99 –user-focused security apps dominated the fastest growing category, with KnowBe4, LastPass and Proofpoint taking the top three spots, as companies take zero trust more seriously.

Graham Sowden, Okta APAC general manager, says more and more businesses are realising that with the rise in advanced insider threats, not everything or everyone inside a network can be trusted.

“Adopting a new zero trust framework, organisations are leaving traditional network security strategies behind, and instead shifting to perimeter-less approaches, focusing on users, data, and locations,” he says.

“People (and their identities) are at the centre of this framework – and organisations are looking for tools to help protect those valuable credentials.”

Regulatory change, with the GDPR in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act, are also likely to be contributing to the growth of security focused apps.

KnowBe4, which provides security awareness training, including simulated spear phishing attacks, was the fastest mover for the year, clocking 178 percent growth.

Okta says the app is fulfilling a clear market need, with less than half of survey respondents having ever participated in cybersecurity training at work and reports showing employee error is a big contributor to data breaches.

LastPass, which stores encrypted passwords, and Proofpoint – another email security and security awareness training provider, also clocked growth of more than 100 percent (as did Apple device management app Jamf and Zoom, with Australia’s Atlassian coming in with 91 percent growth).

Meanwhile the classic rivalry between Microsoft and Google continues. While Microsoft’s Office 365 suite was the top app in Okta’s network, customers aren’t committing to a Microsoft-only environment, with more than 28 percent of Okta’s Office 365 customers ‘double-bundling’ by subscribing to G Suite as well. G Suite has the faster growing user base, with active users up 116 percent year on year versus Office 365’s 55 percent, but Office is still claiming nearly twice as many customers as G Suite.

Gmail, in particular, stands out as the number one app knowledge workers wish their company would adopt.

And it wasn’t just Google taking the fight to Microsoft, with 76 percent of Office 365 customers having one or more apps that are duplicates of apps offered by Microsoft. Popular dupes included Salesforce, AWS, Box, Slack and Zoom – making its first appearance and becoming the only app to show up on both the most popular and fastest growing apps categories.

The report also found more companies are leveraging their HR systems in new ways, with three of the top 10 apps by numbers being HR-related: Workday and SAP SuccessFactors, at number two and eight respectively, with Namely claiming the fastest growth by number of customers, followed by BambooHR and UltiPro.

The report also dives into the wider ‘planet of the apps’ including travel apps, personal banking and finance, news, healthcare and project management – where Trello scores a 119 percent growth for the past two years.

Says Sowden: “Our research shows that organisations are increasingly reliant on technology in every aspect of their business, and are investing in new apps, solutions and tools to keep their workforce operating in harmony.

“Companies will continue to seek and adopt tools that allow them to remain competitive, while embracing flexible and customised solutions in an effort to optimise productivity and security in the workplace.”

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