WPP, winner of Okta’s Business Innovation of the Year Award 2020, describes how company-wide collaboration was transformed through its partnership with Xalient and Okta.

WPP has grown substantially since it was founded, through organic growth and acquisition. Now, with 350 group companies, WPP is the world’s largest marketing and advertising sector group.

To fully harness the power and creativity of its employees—and provide customers with the best experience possible—WPP needed to make it easier for employees to collaborate. WPP needed to find a way to pull together 120,000 employees working in 112 countries, while keeping its IT environment as secure as possible.

Partnering for success

WPP turned to Xalient, a secure network transformation services provider, for advice. After considering the complexity of WPP’s infrastructure, plus the additional challenges presented by duplicate employee profiles, a combination of on-premises and cloud-based solutions, as well as the proliferation of personal devices, Xalient recommended a modernisation strategy rooted in cloud-based identity management. Xalient also suggested building this new consolidated infrastructure around Okta’s flexible and reliable identity solutions.

A secure, modern environment 

Sherry Vaswani, CEO at Xalient, summed up the partnership, “Together with our partners at Okta, we are rebuilding WPP’s environment by establishing a single identity architecture that makes it easy to share resources, solutions, and knowledge across its various organisations. As a result, WPP will eliminate duplicate employee accounts, streamline access, and provide new employees with near-instant access to the tools they need to do their jobs. Best of all, a strong layer of security will protect the whole environment.”

Accessing experience and expertise

WPP moved forward with several goals in mind: to shift on-premises infrastructure to the cloud, to leverage the Internet as their network transport layer, and to make all tools and resources accessible through shared platforms. Before WPP could begin its modernisation initiative, however, it needed an IT services provider that was experienced and creative enough to guide the process.

WPP turned to Xalient, an IT services provider that specialises in helping companies increase resilience and agility.

“Xalient specialises in disruptive technologies, and as such, was able to bring us new innovative thinking,” says Graham-Hyde. “The company was also agile enough to get things done fast.”

“Xalient suggested we focus on identity because our end goal was a WPP identity in a  Zero Trust environment,” says Graham-Hyde. “We wanted overarching security that would protect us in a cloud-based environment. Zero Trust is the way to go, but you can’t deliver it unless you know the identity of your users, whether they’re accessing your services from a café or another part of the world.”

 A proven identity partner

To solve all of these issues, WPP needed a strong, flexible identity partner. Xalient evaluated a number of options on behalf of WPP, and based on Xalient’s recommendation, the group selected Okta. Sherry Vaswani, CEO at Xalient comments, “We recommended Okta for two reasons. First and foremost, the product is recognised in the marketplace as being at the forefront of identity management; and second, we knew that it could be implemented rapidly to solve WPP’s most pressing issues”.

By the time the Okta rollout is complete, WPP anticipates that all 120,000 WPP employees and external client users will be able to collaborate and share resources and applications through a new WPP-branded portal called WPP-Open.

One very welcome benefit of deploying Okta has been the ability for WPP to enhance its response to the recent Covid-19 pandemic by helping WPP provide rapid, secure access to a number of new remote working solutions for staff working from home. In addition, Okta, now the single, central source of truth for employee identity, is proving central to knowing where WPP’s people are.

 A simplified future

As WPP continues on its transformational journey towards a secure, unified infrastructure, Okta and Xalient will continue to offer WPP flexible support, consultation, and solutions. The end result of these combined efforts? Improved employee collaboration, a secure, scalable foundation, and a client experience that’s designed to exceed all expectations.

 

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