Recently, Portadi, the company I co-founded with Tomas Soukup, was acquired by OneLogin.
The genesis of Portadi was the fact that, just like all early adopters of cloud software, we had accounts and company data everywhere. Inevitably, this created chaos and we could never tell who got access to what. We knew the problem was only going to get bigger as enterprise software would continue to move to the cloud. So back in 2014 we set out to simplify how workplace teams control access to their web-based tools — and we knew we had to disrupt the status quo.
Our industry is called Identity and Access Management (IAM) and it is as old as computer networks themselves. The term describes a very complex problem for IT professionals, but for us, users, it boils down to “Why the hell does this page ask me for my password again?”.
Despite years of effort, this problem is still not addressed well by vendors in the on-premise world, and even more poorly addressed by some in the cloud world. The result is accessibility gaps — users can’t easily get to the tools they need to do their jobs — and consequently productivity drains.
At Portadi we have pioneered a very simple method for user credentials management for the thousands of cloud apps we rely on every day. Unlike other IAM vendors, we started with the user, not the administrator. Our focus is on a delightful end user experience — what I see in the browser, how I share a new app account with my colleagues, how I switch between accounts without logging out — that has been the very foundation for Portadi.
There’s little incentive for infrastructure vendors to simplify their existing offerings. After all, their buyer is a well-trained IT admin. You can imagine Microsoft’s reluctance to touch Active Directory for the fear of alienating their customers. However, many successful products came out of reduction (think Slack or Dropbox) — reduction of the user experience, removal of features and functionality down to the bare essence of the product. The praise followed and it came from users, not admins.
We are in the midst of a major shift in the workplace - more telecommuting, more remote work, fewer desks, more notebooks, and definitely more cloud apps. Companies and employees have high expectations around productivity, pushing B2B cloud apps to the forefront of IT admin attention. These admins have the delicate task of keeping productivity and security in balance. This created an opening for modern cloud-first infrastructure products to come in with beautiful design and simplicity for end-users, as well as security and control for the admins.
I am incredibly excited for our team to join OneLogin, and I can’t wait to show you what we have in the pipeline. It’s time to make enterprise software awesome.