Customer satisfaction is dependent on how you are treated before, during and after purchasing from a vendor. Some companies, like Ping, focus on being a long-term partner and are interested in understanding your identity and access management (IAM) challenges and implementing solutions to help improve your IAM journey. Others, like Okta, are interested in the short-term sale and may not always be there for you after the deal.
Few of us would intentionally choose a vendor who would treat us poorly, but it’s often hard to know what your satisfaction will be before the deal has been made. There are three indicators that you can evaluate upfront to help you uncover what a vendor will be like:
1. Net Promoter Score (NPS) 2. Sales Process 3. Willingness to Work with Other Vendors
If you’re considering Okta, read on to see why you should have your eyes wide open and investigate these areas closely before making any decision.
Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an indication of a customer’s likelihood to recommend a company based on a single question: “How likely is it that you would recommend [Vendor] to a friend or colleague?”
Customers give answers on a 0-10 basis. Those who answer 0-6 are considered detractors, those who answer 7-8 are seen as neutral, and those who answer 9 or 10 are deemed promoters. The score can range from -100 (where all respondents would not recommend) to +100 (where all respondents would recommend). NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.
Many factors contribute to a customer’s perception of a company and their resulting willingness to recommend. Does the product perform well for its intended use? Was the sales and contractual process positive? How is the company’s customer service and support? Ultimately, by looking at this score, you can get a sense for how the vendor’s current customers honestly perceive them.
Companies who are truly serving their customer’s needs typically have strong positive scores. Per Qualtrics, Net Promoter Score is the gold standard of customer experience metrics. In December we published our latest NPS survey results, which included 827 participants. Our NPS was 65. According to Delighted, the average benchmark NPS for software companies is 41. Our score puts us in the 100th percentile of the software industry’s scores. Incidentally, our score is also higher than the NPS of some well-known and highly respected brands like Apple, BMW and Gucci.
We thought it would be valuable to give prospective customers a direct NPS comparison with our competitor, Okta, but they do not publicly disclose their score. This lack of transparency should be a concern to potential buyers.
Ping is focused on building a collaborative partnership with our customers, where we champion you and your business needs from cradle to grave. Our customer success and support teams are engaged and responsive. And we not only listen to customer feedback but also act upon it, using it to drive our product team’s innovations and enhancements.
Sales Process Another telling sign of what it will be like working with a vendor is the sales process, which is one of the first interactions a customer has with a vendor. If a vendor’s account manager is only interested in telling you about their particular solution approach and forcing you down an avenue that may not be the best for you, that’s an indicator that they are not going to be a great business partner.
Our account managers build relationships with you by seeking first to understand the problem you are trying to solve and gaining an awareness of your larger IAM goals before laying out a solution. For example, is your situation best solved with a SaaS, on-prem or hybrid approach? This is determined by factors such as your business goals and needs, your IT infrastructure, the specifics of your use case and the critical nature of your applications. Large enterprises need a flexible approach to solving for IAM. Our solutions effectively address the full span of these needs. Okta is a cloud-first IDaaS solution, and their account managers will push this approach, so it’s up to you to take the time and evaluate whether it truly is the best solution for your unique needs.
Pricing simplicity and transparency is another key part of the sales process. We are very clear and open with our clients about our solutions and associated pricing. In numerous analyst reports, Okta is reported to have above average pricing. More concerning, there are often regular add-on costs with Okta that may not be fully disclosed up front, including premiums associated with getting the support package, lifecycle management package, etc., that you may actually need to accomplish your mission.
Recently, Okta has been putting out misleading TCO pricing comparison tables not based on real data and inflated by orders of magnitude in some cases. Okta is also not accurately representing their own cost for a true comparison. This kind of deceptive selling is another caution flag to consider before doing business with Okta. Be sure to ask upfront about the real costs of the project, and consider the implications of a lack of truthfulness and transparency in the sales process that would likely carry over throughout your relationship with them.
We recognize that the investment a company makes in our solutions is important and, beginning with the sales process, we work to make your experience positive. We aim to make you a promoter of Ping in the future by delivering great customer satisfaction.
Willingness to Work with Other Vendors
Enterprises have relationships with many vendors, and IAM solutions often need to work with infrastructure already in place. This is an important reality in large enterprises. As an example, Microsoft is a formidable technology and software company with a presence in virtually all large enterprises.
While Microsoft does compete with us in the IAM space, we are also partners. We find ways to work seamlessly within the Microsoft environment while also extending outside of that environment. In fact, Ping and Microsoft product teams work together to implement out-of-the-box integrations across our product portfolios where it makes sense. We recognize your investment in IT infrastructure is not easily replaced without long-term strategic planning.
Okta, on the other hand, initiated an aggressive marketing campaign against Microsoft. They are positioning for their own directory solution to replace Microsoft Active Directory and have used video and social media tactics to further their agenda while bashing Microsoft. If you’re entertaining Okta as a solution and you have Microsoft in your enterprise, be sure to dig into how the two vendors would work together and evaluate the risks of working with vendors that aren’t united to achieve your success.
Choosing the Right IAM Vendor
When considering IAM solutions, the decision is not only about technology, but also about the satisfaction or buyer’s remorse you’ll experience after purchasing a solution. You’re entering a partnership with a vendor that’s critical to the fabric of your organization. The integrity of that vendor’s organization, along with the priority they place on your customer satisfaction, is paramount.
Before choosing a vendor like Okta, take the time to investigate the topics above, so you can be confident in your choice of IAM vendor—one who doesn’t view your relationship as a transaction, but as a long-term partnership. We have a track record of strong business alliances with our clients. This is proven out by how we approach the sales process, our willingness to partner with other vendors and our high NPS score.