Okta Partner Summit: 4 Key Updates For The Channel

The identity platform provider will be sharing a number of updates with partners Tuesday, including around new tools, key hires and GenAI opportunities.

Opportunities For Partnering

As cloud identity platform provider Okta looks to continue finding new and better ways to work with the channel, the company is sharing a number of important updates with solution and service providers Tuesday during the company’s 2023 Partner Summit. The event — which is being held on the first day of the company’s Oktane conference in San Francisco — will include remarks from a number of top Okta executives, according to Okta Channel Chief Bill Hustad. Among the Partner Summit speakers will be Okta Co-Founder and CEO Todd McKinnon (pictured), who will be speaking at the summit for the first time. Hustad, who serves as senior vice president of global partners and alliances at Okta, will be hosting the event, and also speaking will be Jon Addison, the company’s interim CRO. Okta expects 500 partners to attend the event in person and another 300 to tune in virtually.

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In an interview with CRN ahead of Okta’s 2023 Partner Summit, Hustad disclosed details on some of the updates the company will be sharing with partners — including around new and forthcoming tools, recent key hires on the Okta channel team and how the company envisions generative AI will help drive new partner service opportunities.

The updates follow Okta’s launch of an overhauled channel program in March, which included a focus on rewarding partners for contributing value in numerous ways beyond just transactional revenue. The redesigned Okta Elevate partner program has included new tiers and incentives, while it has also introduced new specializations and badging opportunities.

Hustad noted that Okta has been steadily expanding its partner base, with the company’s partner count now at 2,100. That’s up 18 percent from a year ago at this time, and up 40 percent from two years ago, he said.

What follows are four key updates for the channel at Okta’s 2023 Partner Summit.

Partner Product Hub

One new tool for partners, which Okta will be unveiling during its Partner Summit, is aimed at helping to better equip solution and service providers with the latest product information from the company, Hustad (pictured) told CRN. The new Partner Product Hub will bring details on Okta products “directly” from the company’s product team, “before it even hits marketing,” he said. “That way, we actually have an avenue to be able to start to inform [partners] before enablement kicks off.”

The launch of Partner Product Hub — which is available now — comes as part of a “reinvigorated approach” that Okta is undertaking around sharing its roadmap and direction with partners, Hustad said.

Planned Portal Expansion

Details about a forthcoming update to Okta’s portal will also be shared with partners during the event Tuesday, Hustad said. The planned update will help to deliver more of a personalized approach to partners based upon their business model, as well as their specific role, he said. The forthcoming portal update will introduce “more persona-based messaging and personalization for partners — so they can get the data, get the help, get the information faster,” Hustad said.

Okta also plans to bring improvements to training and enablement in the portal, including around sales skills and technical skills, he said.

The updates to the portal are expected to be rolling out over the next year, Hustad said.

Key Channel Hires

Hustad said he also plans to introduce his “brand-new team” to attendees during Okta’s Partner Summit Tuesday. The recently added members of the Okta channel team include Maureen Little (pictured), who has been with Okta for nearly four years and was named vice president of strategic partners at the company in April.

Other additions have included Rich Figer, formerly of Google Cloud, who has joined Okta as vice president of the Americas partner organization; Ralph Figuerdo, who has moved into the role of director of public sector alliances; and Carlos Roman, formerly head of global partner marketing at CrowdStrike, who joined Okta as vice president of global partner marketing in August.

GenAI-Powered Service Opportunities

A key message that Okta is looking to deliver at its Partner Summit is that the company is committed to helping generative AI become an “accelerator for our partners,” Hustad said — particularly in their roles as trusted advisors to customers. Okta expects that GenAI will open a range of service opportunities for partners, such as in the area of proactive security services, the company told CRN. For example, when it comes to identity assessment services, threat insights powered by GenAI will enable partners to better understand what’s happening in the customer environment — and then recommend adjustments to the customer’s identity and security systems to reduce risk, Okta said.