Each year Okta processes millions of SaaS logons via its authentication system. It kindly aggregates that data to find the most popular apps and publishes an annual report. This year it found that the most popular tool by far was Microsoft Office 365.
It’s worth noting that while app usage popularity varied by region, Office 365 was number one with a bullet across the board, whether globally or when the report broke it down by geographic area. That wasn’t true of any other product in this report, so Office 365 has extensive usage across the world (at least among companies that use Okta).
But as with everything cloud, it’s not a simple matter to say that because lots of people signed onto Office 365, Microsoft is the clear winner in a broader sense. In reality, the cloud is a complex marketplace, and just because people use one tool doesn’t preclude them from using tools that compete directly with it.
As a case in point, consider that the report found that 36% of Microsoft 365 customers were also using Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite), which offers a similar set of office productivity tools. Further, Okta found that 42% of Office 365 customers were using Zoom and 32% were using Slack.
This is pretty remarkable when you consider that Office 365 bundles Teams with similar functionality for free. What’s more, so does Google with Google Hangouts, so people use the tool they want when they want, and sometimes it seems they use competing versions of the same tool. The report also found that of those Office 365 users, 44% are using Salesforce, 41% AWS, 15% Smartsheet and 14% Tableau (which is owned by Salesforce). Microsoft has products in all those categories.
Microsoft is clearly a big company with a lot of products, but the report blows a hole in the idea that because people like Office 365, they are going to be big fans of other Microsoft products, or that they can count on any kind of brand loyalty across the range of products or even exclusivity within the same product category.
All of this, and much of the other data in this report makes tremendously interesting reading as far as it goes. It’s not a definitive window on the state of SaaS. It’s a definitive reading on the state of Okta customers’ use of SaaS, on the Okta Integration Network (OIN), a point the company readily acknowledges in the report’s methodology section.
“As you read this report, keep in mind that this data is representative of Okta’s customers, the applications and integrations we connect to through the OIN, and the ways in which users access these tools through our service,” the report stated.
But it is a way to look at the state of SaaS taking advantage of the 9400 Okta customers using the network and the 6500 integrations to the world’s most popular SaaS tools. That gives the company a unique view into the world of SaaS. What you can conclude is that the cloud is complicated, and it’s not a zero sum game by any means. In fact, being a winner in one area is not a guarantee of winning across the board.