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Microsoft Beats Out Salesforce as Most Widely Used Cloud App for Businesses

The productivity suite overtook this year as the most widely deployed cloud application.

Asa Mathat

Microsoft’s Office 365 is the most widely used cloud application among businesses, beating out the long-popular, according to a company that helps companies manage their cloud apps.

A report out today from Okta analyzed the use of 4,000 different cloud applications at 2,500 companies in 185 countries. Okta, which provides a cloud service to help companies manage and secure their sign-in credentials across multiple cloud applications, has been tracking the data since 2012.

Okta pegs Office’s success in the cloud to moves undertaken by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to encourage the company’s customers to embrace its cloud software offerings, not just in the productivity suite, but also with its Outlook email services.

Google Apps remains more popular than Office 365 in several countries including Mexico, Brazil, Japan and Australia, the report shows.

The third-most widely deployed application was Box, followed by Google Apps and Concur, the expense-tracking service acquired last year by the German software giant SAP.

The report also found that on average companies deploy between 11 and 16 cloud apps company-wide. This was equally true at small companies and large ones, Okta CEO Todd McKinnon said in an interview.

“When we started Okta to help companies mange cloud identities, people said we were crazy because there weren’t very many cloud applications,” he said. “Now there’s a cloud replacement for pretty much every traditional on-premise app that a business might use.”

While they didn’t appear on the list of the most popular, Okta’s data also shows several newer cloud services that are growing fast. Among them Slack, usage of which grew 50 percent between April and June; PagerDuty, an incident management service for IT workers, grew 25 percent; Survey Monkey grew 23 percent; and New Relic grew more than 20 percent.

The report is the first of its kind for Okta, which specializes in giving companies a single sign-on credential that works across multiple applications, both on-premise and in the cloud. McKinnon says the report hints at a forthcoming research product the company may offer to companies making cloud apps. Okta has raised $155 million from venture capitalists including Sequoia Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners, and is expected to go public as soon as next year. It competes with companies like Centrify and Ping Identity.

McKinnon will be speaking at our Code/Enterprise Series: New York event on Sept. 29. Amit Singh, president of Google for Work — which includes Google Apps — will be there as well.

Update: Google for Work president Amit Singh has responded to Okta’s report saying via Twitter that the study focuses on large companies and has an emphasis on email services. He says that if you expand the size of the sample, Google for Work and Dropbox would top the list.

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