It is effortless when the answer to the question proposed can be found in the question itself – Identity. While privacy has been the topic of in-depth discussion between governments, an argument can be derived that strengthening privacy measures is an attempt to protect the users’ identity. The internet consists of a violent and vicious paracosm of actors and characters looking to pounce on fragile digital identities to retrieve sensitive information. This sensitive information is predominantly used to the malicious detriment of the victim. In 2018 the head of the World Economic Forum System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Digital Economy and Society, Derek O’Halloran, said, “Digital identities and access systems are foundational elements of our shared digital future … we need to ensure that new approaches are being laid in a sustainable, inclusive and trustworthy manner. Governments, international organizations, civil society, and business will all play a critical role in creating this future” [1]. A secure and safe digital identity allows for the proper and seamless interaction with the various applications used daily on a digital enterprise level.  

To help comprehend identity access management on an enterprise-level, let us take a look at our smartphone first. According to Google, the average number of apps installed in smartphones is 35 [2]. To access the multiple features in those applications, we must have a digital identity, i.e., an email address. The email address acts as a digital passport allowing interactions with the applications. On an enterprise level, specifically large firms (>2000 employees), the number of applications in the ecosystem is more significant, and providing secure entry and exit is critical for smooth operations. In 2018, OKTA, the San-Francisco based identity management firm, said to the Wall Street Journal that, “The number of software apps deployed by large firms across all industries worldwide has increased 68% over the past four years, reaching an average of 129 apps per company by the end of 2018” [3]. 2020 was when many professionals were forced to work from home and adapt to a new work-life balance. It would only make sense that the 129 app infrastructure would be heavily relied on and asked to operate at a high capacity. OKTA has performed exceptionally well, approximately +95%, during 2020.

OKTA is priced at a range out of my zone, so we found PING Identity after searching through the binder PING. The company is based out of Denver, Colorado, and led by founder Andre Durand. In their Q3 2020 investor presentation from November 2020,  the company states that it provides its solutions to 60% of the Fortune 100 companies, including 13 of 15 largest banks, 7 of 9 largest healthcare companies, 8 of 10 largest bio-pharmaceuticals, and 5 of the 7 largest US retailers [4]. Furthermore, a review of all available earnings statements from Q4 2019 to Q3 2020 shows their subscription revenue percentage to be 94%, 93%, 93%, 92%, and 92%, respectively (placed in ascending order) [5]. This subscription revenue performance can be used as an indicator to understand the strength of partnerships PING has developed over the years. A review of their Day Sales Outstanding ratio shows a reduction to 88.47 days in 2019 from 103.53 days in 2017 [6].  In an interview with Jim Cramer for Mad Money, Andre Durand helped differentiate PING from OKTA by speaking to PING’s genesis in the enterprise market compared to the OKTA, born in the small and medium-sized business market [7]. 2020 has only changed workplace dynamics, and a company like PING potentially serves as an essential component of the digital infrastructure.