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Who, what, where: A look at today’s workforce

Okta’s 7th Business at Work report takes a deep dive into how the enterprise functions, and examines the apps and services they use to be productive.


Image: iStock/Blue Planet Studio

As the pandemic spread and the world dispersed its workforce in 2020, the enterprise’s reliance on tech not only grew but expanded quickly. The latest Business at Work report from Okta stated that “tech solutions once preferred only by ‘early adopters’ became survival tools for companies across all industries and the population as a whole.” What worked for businesses? With whom did they consult or how did they solve their new challenges? Where did they find the sources and how did they fare? The data was derived from “Okta’s more than 9,400 customers and the Okta Integration Network (OIN), which includes more than 6,500 integrations with cloud, mobile and web apps, as well as IT infrastructure providers.” A “shakeup in our top apps,” the report says, exemplifies how tech was applied out of necessity, because of the switch to remote work. 

More for CXOs

Okta cited its fastest-growing apps: Amazon Business, and the collaboration tools Miro, Figma, and Security was and is a major concern, especially with so many workers relying on their own devices, and the “next-gen” security tools companies are turning to are Fortinet FortiGage and Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect (50% growth since the end of February). Employee engagement was deemed successful with the tools Culture Amp and Lattice as supplemental to existing resources. The data revealed that no matter what a company’s size, each was building “customer-facing” apps at the same pace. Developers’ most popular SDK tool is JavaScript (63%, a jump from last year’s 24%). 

Remote-work stacks were deliberately selected for customized needs of businesses, most notably Smartsheet for project management, Lucidchart for wireframing, and Miro for the whiteboard. Zoom grew 45% between March and October 2020. Culture Amp grew 75% in the past year and Lattice made its first appearance as a top HR tool.

People-centric tools: KnowBe4 grew 46% since the start of 2020. While the hospitality industry has greatly suffered (and dipped into negative numbers), two exceptions rose: Airbnb grew 11%, with 3% growth since the end of February. Disneyland Resort hotels grew 14% year over year and nearly 6% since the end of February. Exercise apps grew more in January 2020 than throughout the pandemic.

SEE: Wellness at work: How to support your team’s mental health (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Security/authentications: Okta Verify grew from 78% last year to 82% today, and the number of authentications with Okta Verify increased 184% between February and October. Weaker factors declined: Okta customers using SMS dropped from 53% to 49%, and security questions dropped from 18% to 15%. Okta’s ThreatInsight data demonstrated that the number of authentications grew steadily over the past six months, “the overall growth of detected threats significantly increased in the late summer/early fall 2020. 

Most popular network-centric security tools, in order: Palo Alto Networks Global/Protect, Cisco Umbrella, Cisco AnyConnect, Zscaler, Fortinet FortiGate, Netskope, AWS Client VPN, OpenVPN, Amazon AppStream, and Barracuda Networks.

Most popular people-centric security tools, in order: KnowBe4, Mimecast, Envoy, LastPass, Proofpoint, 1Password, Proofpoint Security Awareness Training, Keeper, Valimail, and Dashlane.

2020’s most popular apps by number of customers

Cloud platform AWS rose from sixth place five years ago to second this year; Zoom, Docusign, KnowBe4, Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect also grew in popularity.

The most popular apps globally by customers:

  1. Microsoft 365
  2. AWS
  3. Salesforce
  4. Google Workspace
  5. Zoom
  6. Atlassian Product Suite
  7. Slack
  8. DocuSign
  9. Box
  10. Cisco Meraki
  11. SAP Concur
  12. GitHub
  13. Zendesk
  14. KnowBe4
  15. Lucidchart

The most popular apps globally by the number of monthly active users:

  1. Microsoft 365
  2. Workday
  3. ServiceNow
  4. Google Workshop
  5. Salesforce
  6. Zoom
  7. ZScaler
  8. Box
  9. Slack
  10. Cornerstone onDemand
  11. Atlassian Product Suite
  12. SAP SuccessFactors
  13. Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect
  14. SAP Concur
  15. UltiPro

Fastest-growing apps: The data revealed “for the first time, 90% of our fastest-growing apps are band new to the top 10.”

  1. Amazon Business
  2. Miro
  3. Figma
  5. Fortinet
  6. Lattice
  7. Snowflake
  8. VMwareCarbon Black Cloud
  9. Sentry
  10. 1Password

In North America, Amazon Business grew 346% by the number of customers and 2,143% by unique users.

Top Apps from IPO/DPO companies in 2020 (in order): Jamf Pro, Asana, Snowflake, Sumo Logic,, Rackspace, Sprout Social, Zoominfo, BigCommerce, One Medical.

SEE: Software as a Service (SaaS): A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Deploying apps

As the number of available apps increases, the number of apps deployed by customers also grows.

The average number of apps per customer: 88. Unsurprisingly, “technology” tops the list of the industry that uses the most apps (155), followed by media and communications (133), education (126) and retail (120).

Okta’s report refers to apps that top its categories as “best of breed,” and those apps are Salesforce, AWS, Box, Slack, Zoom, Smartsheet, Tableau, Microsoft Project, and Power BI.

Most popular video conferencing apps, in order: Zoom, Cisco Webex, RingCentral, GoToMeeting, 8X8, BlueJeans, Skype, Fuze, UberConference, and

Most popular hotel and lodging apps, in order: Bonvoy, Airbnb, Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels,, Priority Club Holiday Inn, Disneyland Resort, Wyndham Resort, Omni Hotels, and Kimpton Hotels.

Most popular health and wellness apps, in order: Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, Strava, WW, Go365, Virgin Pulse, Nike+, Vitality, Lifetick, and Life Time Fitness.

Most popular apps for social impact, in order:, kiva, kindlink, benevity,, OVIO,, YourCause, and Bright Funds.

Most popular SDKs

Tech-stack developers are using the following most popular apps (and should be noted by any aspiring/recent grads/job seekers as valuable to know), in order: JavaScript (63%, way ahead of any competitors), GO (24%), Java (23%), C# (21%), ASP.NET (10%), Spring boot (9%), Objective-C (8%), PowerShell (8%), php (5%), and Swift (4%).

JavaScript is also the unsurprising No.1 method for data collections at 85%, followed by Android at 19%, and IOS at 24%.

Top developer tools among Okta customers, in order: Atlassian Product Suite, GitHub, PagerDuty, Datadog, New Relic, Splunk Atlassian Statuspage, Jenkins, Sentry, and Atlassian Opsgenie.

Overall noted the report, “the average number of apps businesses are connecting to their CDP has risen to 11, up from eight last year. As businesses further embrace digital operations on the back of COVID-19, their tech stacks are becoming populated with more and more software.”

Over the past four years, the government sector has seen the largest increase in average app deployment, at 140%, including a 43% jump in the past year alone.

Remote Work: winners and consumer’s choice awards 

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Remote Work: winners and consumer’s choice awards 

Image: Okta

Remote work stack category “winners”

  • Project management: smartsheet
  • File sharing: box
  • Video conferencing: Zoom
  • Electronic signature: DocuSign
  • Surveying: SurveyMonkey
  • Messaging: Slack (190% growth in the past year and has more than 10x the No.2, Workplace by Facebook)
  • Wireframing: Lucidchart
  • Whiteboarding: miro
  • Note Taking: Evernote
  • Employee engagement: Culture Amp

2020 review: What the enterprise learned

Forgettable as we hope 2020 will be, it was a watershed year that dramatically and fundamentally changed the way businesses operate, the report concluded. The digital economy continued to rise and organizations are looking for tools and apps to match and surpass the competition. Because of the instability of the state of the COVID-19 vaccination–and its distribution in the US–there will need to be a focus on what the enterprise found to be the most important facets of remote work: collaboration, security, and employee engagement. In other words, businesses must look at how teams work best together, how IT managed to secure company data, and how they pulled employees out of the malaise of sheltering-at-home and into a compelling culture at work. 

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