WSO2 takes the Journey of Rewards
Referring to American information technology entrepreneur and inventor Steve Jobs, co-founder and chief architect of WSO2 Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana quotes “the journey is the reward” at the recently concluded WSO2Con Asia 2016, which saw over 450 participants including IT professionals and representatives from 120 companies from over ten countries within Asia – making it a truly Asian conference.
The keynotes were delivered by founder, CEO and chief architect of WSO2 Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana, president and CEO of Codegen, Dr. Harsha Subasinghe, research scientist of Codegen, Beshan Kulapala, director of the Institute of Architecture of Application Systems at University of Stuttgart Dr. Frank Leymann, and vice president of Product Management at WSO2 Isabelle Mauny.
Apart from all the high-tech talks, the keynote delivered by Weerawarana at the opening of WSO2Con, grabbed the attention of the audience as he talked about the journey of WSO2 and its vision for the future.
Last year, WSO2 marked ten years since it started its journey with just 12 employees – which now exceeds over 500 employees and more than 300 customers, who are the real big players in the business. WSO2 boasts of enhancing companies like Boeing, eBay, and StubHub who are building competitor-eclipsing company-advancing capabilities in record time – owing to the technology that it has provided.
Innovator of Middleware
From the beginning, WSO2’s vision has been to become the number one middleware platform. However, Weerawarana says there is still a long journey ahead of them as they steer towards that goal to become the leading innovator in the space of middleware. “Whether we become the number one in terms of revenue is not what matters. What matters is being the primary provider in our business platform,” he says.
WSO2 was set up not just to reinvent technology but to innovate other things. The company has been in the forefront of a global movement that’s making enterprise middleware exponentially more cost efficient, collaborative, and faster – while making Open Source freely available for people to access and use without constraints. At the same time, they are about changing and remodelling the way the business is done. “We are still innovating as rapidly as we can. We do not take our customers for granted and we do not take technology for granted,” Weerawarana adds.
In a world where US companies are known to build such software, building them from this part of the world has made it truly remarkable. “Open Source in this part of the world is important. One of the things about Open Source software is that it is really free to use. There is no catch… thousands of companies are using WSO2 software free of charge. We have no problem with that,” he assures.
He adds that there are two kinds of people in the world – people with time and people with money. “People with time will use it to save money and people with money will use it to save time. Our main paying customers are people with money who want to save time. Our non-paying customers are people with time who want to save money. Both are happy with us,” he explains.
The company also enables its customer to become a better digital business. “We do not do any of these things ourselves. We are a tool provider. We build the technology and we build the capability to provide certain services, support and ongoing services to empower them,” Weerawarana says.
On the technology front, WSO2 doesn’t go with the traditional saying that the customer is always right. “We listen to the customers but as technology specialist we believe it is our job to do the right thing when it comes to technology and to drive the technology forward. We learn from our competitors, analysts, research papers, our customers and other individuals – and integrate that knowledge to figure out what we shall do next,” Weerawarana says.
Internet of Things
According to him, a lot of technology vendors tend to follow the hype – right now the hype is IoT – two years back it was API before that it was Cloud etc. But WSO2 makes it a point never to position itself as a particular kind of company because there is no set of bullets in technology and there is no one particular type of company – or there is no one right solution for everybody. “We are building something that is supposed to last centuries,” he adds.
Weerawarana compares its one dimensional competitors to those who believe in the concept of snake oil – which is believed to be the remedy for all kinds of illnesses. “In the technology world, you cannot solve all the problems using one tool. You need a broad set of tools to address different dimensions of the problem – and put them all together to come out with solutions that people want to see – and want to know – and want to do. That’s what we do. That is the fundamental differentiation between us and our one dimensional competitors or platform vendors,” he says.
Complementing the keynotes and guest presentations, WSO2Con 2016 had a series of sessions and in-depth tutorials delivered by leading technical experts from WSO2 in variety of subject areas. Topics included enabling technologies, best practices for implementing mobile and IoT solutions, cloud deployments, API management, security, integration, and many more high-tech talks – which glued the crowd to the conversation that was building up – followed by interesting feedbacks and comments from participants on WSO2 twitter page.
WSO2Con has previously travelled to Barcelona, London and San Francisco – getting its enterprise customers, partners and researchers involved in building a discussion on market forces, technology developments, and best practices for advancing in the connected world.