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Phil Ibarrola

Oct 25, 2015 | by Thomas Hill in Administration

This month's Community Member Spotlight features one of our most active Community members, Phil Ibarrola from ThoughtWorks. We've enjoyed getting to know Phil in both the Community and our brand advocacy group, the Ozone. We hope you enjoy learning about how Phil uses the Community, Okta User Groups and most importantly, how he eliminated 33% of helpdesk tickets to live more closely by his motto, “work to live (not the other way around)".

Name, Company, Title:

Phil Ibarrola, ThoughtWorks, TechOps Historian


Tell us a bit about yourself and your role:

I've been at ThoughtWorks for 10 years and have had a hand in many of our most important IT initiatives.  My role now is to use all my historical knowledge and context of our environment, as well as my connections, to help ensure our teams are deploying solutions in a consistent way across the enterprise.


How long have you been an Okta customer?

ThoughtWorks has been an Okta customer since July 2013.


How has your role evolved since first using Okta?

Since adopting Okta (and other cloud services), my role has changed from managing servers and applications to managing relationships with our service providers.  It's been a difficult transition, because I went from an environment where I had (almost) complete control to an environment where most things were outside of my control.  However, I think the best part is I don't have to sweat the small stuff like backups, hardware.  I can focus more on providing great service and solutions.


What's your best advice for someone just starting with Okta?

The best advice I can give a new customer is get involved in the Okta ecosystem.  That means participate in the online Community, attend you local Okta User Group, and go to Oktane.  You'll get the most out of your investment in Okta by meeting other Okta customers and learning how they have used Okta to solve their business problems.  It's also very important to build a network of contacts within Okta.  This is the fastest path to getting answers when you have questions.  


How would you describe your company culture?

ThoughtWorks culture is hard to describe, however, my favorite thing about ThoughtWorks' culture is its transparency.  ThoughtWorks strives to be as transparent as possible within our organization.  Based on my experience in other companies, it's very refreshing to have a deep level of transparency and leaders dedicated to being open by default.  It's also wonderful to go to work every day with amazing people who are passionate about technology.


What keeps you coming back to the Okta Community?

I keep coming back to the Community to learn from fellow Okta admins.  Okta has fostered an excellent community.  It's always interesting to hear about other environments and how they are using Okta (and other tools) to solve their business problems.


Favorite Okta memory...

My favorite Okta moment is when I received an email from a colleague thanking me for replacing our old dodgy SSO with Okta.  A close second is showing an "MFA challenged" colleague Push MFA with Okta Verify.  It was like she won the lottery.


Okta in one word/phrase...

Intuitive and reliable


Favorite technology (personal or business):

This one is really difficult, but I'd have to say Linux is my favorite tech, because it's so versatile.


What would you do without Okta?

If I didn't have Okta, I would be answering lots of help desk tickets .  True story... 33% of our help desk tickets were Authentication/MFA related pre-Okta.


If you had more time in the day, what would you do?

If I had more time in the day, I would spend more time with my family and read more books.


Favorite travel destination...  

My favorite travel destination is Paris.  The food and wine were amazing.  It's also a walking city.


Best meal you’ve ever had:

My best meal was also in Paris in a small bistro near Sacre Coeur.  I have also had some phenomenal meals at Sunda in Chicago.


Words to live by...  

Work to live (not the other way around)


Favorite sports team ...

I grew up near NY city and I'm a big hockey fan, so my favorite sports team is the New York Rangers.


Why are you looking forward to Oktane15?

I'm looking forward to meeting new people, reconnecting with some people I haven't seen in awhile and my first opportunity to speak at a large industry conference.


How do you stay up to date with technology news?

I have numerous tech feeds on my Pulse mobile app.  I'm also on reddit a fair amount, but the best way to stay up to date is to talk with people in the industry.


Thanks, Phil! Don’t forget to join us at Oktane15 to hear from Phil and other Okta customers.