Ready to make your business as efficient as possible in 2020? Considering the best workplace apps to move your business forward? Fortunately, we did some digging for you. In Okta’s Businesses @ Work 2020 report, they covered the top apps used across the enterprise and how vendor popularity and adoption have changed over time. As the SaaS explosion continues into 2020, your lines of business will likely nudge you to make some changes. Before that happens, we’ll fill you in on some category gold medalists that may come up in your meetings (*cough cough* Zoom) and give you a rundown of how people are using the apps and which may best serve your business.

Read Okta’s full Businesses @ Work 2020 report.

What Is the Businesses @ Work Report?

As many of you know, Okta is a leading identity and access management provider. Each year, they do a round-up of changes in the top workplace applications landscape. According to the report, Okta uses “anonymized Okta customer data from our network of thousands of companies, applications, and IT infrastructure integrations, and millions of daily authentications and verifications from countries around the world” to gather their findings – which, in short, is a lot as they currently have 100 million registered users on their own platform. This wealth of information is laid bare in the “Summary of Key Findings” on their report.

So, What’s the Word on the Apps?

Let’s Start With 2019’s Fastest-Growing App: Snowflake 

Snowflake came out on top as the fastest-growing app across categories in their report. The cloud-based data-warehouse had a massive 273% YOY growth, marking a change among the fast-growing apps. In previous years, collaboration apps such as Zoom and Slack were at the top of the list, followed by security apps Jamf Pro and KnowBe4 in 2017 and 2018, respectively – and now data warehousing has taken center stage. The report has featured startups that have grown into wildly successful organizations (Slack, which topped the list in 2014 and 2015, and Zoom to name a few), so great things are continuously expected from Snowflake in the future.

A Quick Glance at App Winners Across Categories: 

Many of these aren’t newcomers on their own, but they’re forcing others in their relative spaces to find innovative ways to keep up:

The Fastest-Growing Apps Overall: 

This year, six of the fastest-growing apps and integrations are data- and security-focused tools, which are new to the universal top rankings: Snowflake, Atlassian Opsgenie, Google Cloud Platform, Splunk, Looker, and Envoy.

Year Over Year Growth. Photo via Okta.

Changes in Workplace App Usage:  

Need for Best of Breed

Okta joked about there being some serious cases of FOMO (fear of missing out) going around in offices. Although bundle deals and all-software suites are commonplace, companies are refusing to miss out on the capabilities of “top-ranked apps.” For example, although Office 365 includes “personal productivity, communication, collaboration, and content management” capabilities, companies are not always using it exclusively. According to Okta, “3.2% of Okta’s Office 365 customers are using all six best-of-breed apps [Salesforce for CRM, AWS for IaaS, Box for content management, G Suite for productivity/office suite, Slack for collaboration, and Zoom for video conferencing], compared to only 2.4% last year.” They attribute that increase to their customers “prioritizing functionality and employee needs over bundling.”

Side Note: G Suite has also, for the first time, pushed ahead of Salesforce for fourth place for the largest number of monthly active unique users.

Percentage of Okta’s Office 365 Customers (x-axis) Using Each App (y-axis). Photo via Okta.

Interesting Note on Office 365

Although Microsoft Office has more customers, G Suite has a 50% percent YOY growth as compared to office 365’s 38%. That being said, “over 30% of Okta’s Office 365 customers now have G Suite as well.” A redundancy of platform type doesn’t seem to be a factor. 

How Best of Breed and Redundancy Can Affect Your Team: Our Perspective

When whispers go around in the office about what applications to use, knowing the capabilities of each can help you from double-dipping. With the help of business systems, your team can truly investigate whether or not bundling, best of breed or both will benefit your systems and employees. 

For example, due to its web and cloud-only features, G Suite tends to be more suitable for remote teams or organizations that store all of their data in the cloud – but can be enabled for offline capabilities by an administrator (with simpler admin controls). An Office 365 business subscription, on the other hand, gives you access to Microsoft Office apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote, which are more feature-rich for desktop computers (though they do also offer web versions) and are a great option for businesses tied to a Microsoft ecosystem with Windows PCs. If you’re a small- or medium-sized business with more flexible ways of working, G Suite may be the way to go, as opposed to an enterprise with more people working in an office which may benefit more from the Microsoft option. With both offering competitive pricing, it’s ultimately up to which provider brings the most value to your business – if you don’t decide to do a mix of the two.

Developer Apps Are Taking Center Stage 

As far as buying power goes, developers are stepping up with Atlassian Opsgenie, the #1 alerting and on-call management tool, coming in as the second fastest-growing app of the year. Additionally, when Okta looked at developer tools alone, Atlassian Product Suite (including Confluence, Jira, and Bitbucket), as well as Github, were dominating the category’s tech stack. 

Apps and Security

Securing your business apps has always been important, but the topic took even greater precedence in 2019. In its findings, Okta noted that “a 2019 report from the Ponemon Institute estimates the total cost to an attacked organization averages $13 million, up 72% over the past five years.” With the number of tech breaches hitting the news at an all-time high, this means that more companies driven by these applications should start thinking about putting security at the #1 spot. 

As far as security apps, Okta breaks the tech stack down into 4 levels: people, devices, network, and infrastructure. They found that many companies start with the first layer: protecting their people. With more email phishing attacks targeting lower-level workers, apps that secure email accounts are being heavily adopted. KnowBe4, which provides security awareness training, and Mimecast, specializing in cloud-based email management, are the two most adopted security apps in the “people layer.” 

For the device layer, Jamf Pro, the Apple device management solution, is the most popular application. In the network level, Palo Alto Networks Prisma Access (formerly GlobalProtect), the Secure Access Service Edge solution, takes top place. And for the final layer, protecting infrastructure, New Relic, a performance monitoring company, takes the cake (facing growing competition from Datadog). 

So, What Does All This Mean for Your Business Systems Team?

A new decade means even more challenges, requirements and use cases for the cloud are coming and your business needs to be ready. As your lines of business will have new requests for systems and integrations, you will have to decide (with all of these things going through the back of your mind) if what they propose will truly benefit and make business more efficient. Will you double dip, having employees use both G Suite and Office 365, for example? Will all-software suites be your best option or are you going all out on best-of-breed apps, or both?

As the landscape changes, your systems (and the processes between them) and stakeholder needs likely will too. With your business systems team having the benefit of understanding the end-to-end impact of many of these systems, you’ll be in the ideal position to explain the pros and cons to LOBs and potentially C-suite when those new requests land on your desk, enabling you to make the right decisions faster.

Want to see what other apps Business Systems leaders are using (and considering) for adoption and implementation by category? Request to Join Our Community >

Tayleur Hylton
About Tayleur Hylton

Tayleur is a budding technology enthusiast helping to grow the business systems community.