Okta has overhauled its channel program to recognize and incentivize partners for contributing value in numerous ways beyond just transactional revenue, as the identity powerhouse looks to modernize its program with a broader set of potential “influencers” in mind, Okta Channel Chief Bill Hustad told CRN.
The new Okta Elevate partner program was announced Wednesday and will debut on April 3, featuring four tiers for partners and “new incentives at every level,” said Hustad, senior vice president of global partners and alliances at Okta.
The redesigned program aims to expand Okta’s channel efforts by accounting for partners such as managed service providers, service delivery partners and integration partners in a bigger way than in the past, he said.
With the program’s four tiers — starting with the entry-level Activate tier and continuing upward to Amplify, Ascend and Apex — “now you can move up in that model in many different ways,” Hustad said. “It’s not just, what revenue are you providing Okta? It’s now, what value are you creating to the customer?”
For instance, “let’s say you’re a delivery partner, and you were in an opportunity, helping us influence that deal,” he said. “You teamed with us, and you own the services on the other side — we will count that effort as part of your tier progression. Where before, the only way you could progress was by delivering transactional revenue to us.”
The new partner program launch comes nine months after Hustad joined Okta as its global channel chief, following five years at Splunk, where he was vice president of alliances and channel ecosystems.
Along with redesigned tiers and incentives, Okta is also announcing three new specializations that partners can achieve — in Workforce Identity Cloud, Customer Identity Cloud and Workflows — to demonstrate their expertise in the areas.
Okta is also launching a second way for partners to show their focus areas with the company’s products, with the debut of a new badging model. Partners will be able to earn badges for Managed Service Providers, Tech Champions or Public Sector Experts.
Eduardo Ibanez, co-founder and CEO of San Ramon, Calif. cybersecurity consultancy Dazzpers, which has a major focus on implementing Okta’s workforce identity platform for customers, told CRN that the partner program updates are very welcome.
Dazzpers expects revenue for its Okta business to grow at least seven-fold in 2023 compared to last year, he said. However, since the company focuses more on service delivery than on resale of licenses, it’s a helpful change for Okta to go further in rewarding other types of value creation besides just transactional revenue, Ibanez said.
He’s also expecting to pursue achieving the specialization in workforce identity, which he said should be a helpful option for many partners. All in all, with Okta, “I think that they are putting a good effort into working better with with partners,” Ibanez said.