Collaboration drives cloud app adoption in EMEA

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It’s clear, now more than ever, that every company has to become a technology company to survive and thrive in today’s digital world. Many organisations have invested heavily in what the industry is referring to as “digital transformation”. More than just a buzzword, digital transformation can bring unparalleled benefits to the organisations. Reduced costs from optimising and capitalising on digital technologies, rapidly improving customer experiences, increased agility and innovation, and smoother business operations are just a handful of benefits that companies can capitalise on.

Cloud-based technologies and services have made digital transformation strategies more accessible and achievable for businesses. Research conducted by Cloud Industry Forum found that 38 per cent of respondents with a digital transformation strategy say the cloud has given their organisations a significant competitive advantage. This figure is significantly lower for those cloud users who do not have a digital transformation strategy in place, reporting at just five per cent.

Cloud applications have opened new possibilities for businesses, but with so many now on the market, it can be difficult to know which will move the needle for your organisation and drive your digital transformation strategies forward. So, where should you invest??

Okta’s first EMEA Businesses @ Work report — which uses real-world data from our customer base to shed light on trends driving deployment of cloud apps —  reveals that while security and email applications have seen steady growth, new forms of collaboration have been the main catalyst for app deployment in EMEA over the past six months.

Conversational momentum

Of all the apps and integrations in Okta’s network, cloud video conferencing solution Zoom saw the most growth, increasing its customer base by 87.5 per cent. Now that more employees have access to 4G and high-quality smartphone and laptop cameras, video calls are becoming more commonplace, and EMEA organisations are clearly working to accommodate them.

IT teams are also incorporating consumer-inspired functionality in other areas. Slack, the business messaging and productivity app, was the seventh most popular application across EMEA, seeing growth of 33 per cent in the past six months, while Workplace by Facebook saw the same percentage increase. Both services are unquestionably designed for business, but their functionality was influenced by instant messaging and social media. Tools that combine familiar, consumer-friendly interfaces, while retaining the required management and security features for the enterprise were particularly popular across EMEA organisations.

Cloud collaboration wars: Google vs Microsoft

The importance of collaboration is a theme that extended beyond dedicated communication tools like Slack and Zoom. Office 365 is by far the most common application on Okta’s network in EMEA, while Google’s G Suite came in third. Both G Suite and Office 365 allow users to quickly share documents, and co-edit with colleagues on the same piece of work in real time, making teamwork a central tenet of their functionality. Their growth isn’t slowing down either — Office 365 grew 27 per cent and G Suite 46 per cent in the past six months.

Despite the similar use cases for each app, they frequently appear alongside each other in EMEA businesses. Interestingly enough, Office 365 is the most common app amongst G Suite customers, with 55 per cent penetration, while 15 per cent of all Okta’s EMEA customers use both. Clearly, some organisations deem both necessary to provide employees with flexibility.

That said, there are some differences between the organisations that only use one of each. G Suite customers use an average of 15 additional applications via Okta, whereas Office 365 customers only use 11. This suggests that G Suite adopters lean towards a multi-vendor, best-of-breed app strategy, while Office 365 users rely more heavily on the entire Microsoft stack.

Whether it’s Office 365, G Suite, Zoom, Slack or Lucidchart (a collaborative flowchart app that grew at an impressive 87.5 per cent — the second fastest increase in the region overall), it’s clear that EMEA organisations are fully embracing cloud collaboration. It’s no surprise, considering how employees prefer to work from any device, and want to easily communicate with their co-workers despite potential distances or differing time zones.

Developing collaboration

Another trend that Businesses @ Work made clear: the importance of providing developers with the best tools. Developers now face demands to deploy new code quickly, with an emphasis on small, frequent updates to websites and apps. As the environment becomes more demanding, tools that enable technical staff to collaborate and understand each other are important here too. 50 per cent of Okta’s EMEA customers now use at least one developer app, showing the size of their reach.

New Relic, an application performance monitoring tool was the fastest growing in the developer category over the past six months in EMEA, with 58.5 per cent growth. New Relic allows developers to receive information on the status of their software and communicate with the rest of the team to improve efficiency. In second place was GitHub, which allows coders to document their projects and share information with each other, followed by JIRA which offers bug tracking, issue and project management.

All of these tools are linked to DevOps trends, which sees technology teams fuse their development and operations team to improve teamwork and better serve customers. The complex nature of software development means tools that remove confusion and foster understanding are needed to make this possible. As more companies move to this way of working, the category can be expected to grow.

The cloud app conundrum

Okta’s Businesses @ Work report illustrates the increasing importance of collaboration, and how it’s driving the rise in cloud app adoption across different industries and every department. As the world becomes more interconnected and dynamic, methods to aid teamwork are clearly in high demand. More and more businesses will begin to take notice of the benefits that digital transformation can bring. Importantly, this means the scope of cloud applications will become increasingly wide-reaching as time progresses, creating a headache if this involves individual log-ins for each application. Businesses need tools that can manage access to the huge number of apps, along with processes to deploy them efficiently.     

Jesper Frederiksen, GM for EMEA, Okta
Image Credit: Rawpixel / Shutterstock