Identity management is one of the big challenges to be faced in easing the adoption of cloud within enterprise. Okta (more on them here) and Cloud Sherpas (more on them here) have announced a partnership that is squarely aimed at easing the barriers of entry into enterprise for Google Apps.
It’s quite a simple deal, while Cloud Sherpas is a pure play Google Apps shop, they realize that the vast majority of their prospects will be using a variety of SaaS applications – that being the case, having the ability to authenticate multiple apps, and manage the identity across the organization, greatly reduces the barriers to entry for Google Apps.
The deal has impacts for both users and administrators;
- Users gain the ability to Single Sign On to multiple applications
- Administrators get to greatly ease the process of rolling out Google Apps (and other SaaS products) to their users
The interesting thing here is that Cloud Sherpas has long been about tying added value services onto Google Apps – they realize that a small subscription revenue stream from merely reselling Google Apps isn’t sufficient to build a viable business – instead products like SherpaTools adds a valuable functional breadth to the core Google Apps products.
According to Cloud Sherpas, they begun using Okta internally to manage their own application access, and this usage led to the partnership being inked. It’s interesting that Cloud Sherpas chose to partner rather than build in this space – Identity Management isn’t overly far from what they’re trying to offer with SherpaTools and I would have thought it more likely for them to build their own identity management solution rather than partnering with a third party – having said that I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cloud Sherpas also partner with other IM providers such as OneLogin to give customers a full range of options. I put this to Cloud Sherpas VP Mike Cohn who said that;
Cloud Sherpas product development efforts are focused on building applications to solve challenges within a Google Apps deployment. Identity Management is a broader issue facing companies adopting multiple SaaS applications. It just made sense to partner with a best-in-breed solution provider in this space versus building a solution in-house.
(Cross-posted @ The Diversity Blog - SaaS, Cloud & Business Strategy)