Asanka Abeysinghe, who has held several technology leadership roles at WSO2 since 2008, is recently promoted as the Chief Technology Officer. Bringing more than two decades of experience in software architecture to the table, he will help WSO2 focus on driving its external architecture strategy, advising clients on digital transformation, and optimizing WSO2’s open-source and SaaS platforms for customer satisfaction and value. During an e-Interaction congratulating Asanka, he shared his plans with the Associate Editor, channel360MEA. Below are the excerpts of how he plans to lead in championing the company’s vision along with WSO2’s corporate reference methodology for development, customer success, and implementation…
Tell us about your role at WSO2?
Since 2008, I have held several technology leadership roles at WSO2. Prior to my recent elevation to the role of CTO, I served as the company’s chief technology evangelist and head of solutions architecture through which I’ve been involved in efforts to advance our platforms, educate the market, and advise enterprises to successfully navigate their digital transformations.
What are your key responsibilities?
My main responsibility is to drive external technical architecture strategy, championing WSO2’s vision, advising key clients on digital transformation, and optimizing our open source & SaaS platforms for customer satisfaction and value.
Considering 2022 was an overall good year, how was the companies’ performance in the MEA region specifically?
It’s been almost two years since we established a presence in the MEA region and this has helped us to have a more focused effort in building our brand and engaging with customers (both existing and potential). We’ve specifically seen interest in this region for our Open Banking and Open Healthcare accelerators as enterprises are increasingly moving toward open APIs in these verticals.
What have been the major contributors to your successful year?
I believe our focused marketing and sales efforts have contributed toward our success in the MEA region. For example, we have actively participated in GITEX and are currently hosting a series of networking events in the UAE and Saudi Arabia to engage more with enterprises and guide them in their digital transformation journey. These have aided in building stronger relationships with key stakeholders through face to face interactions.
Which industries/ market segment did you see demanding technologies (especially for your offerings) the most in the MEA?
At WSO2, we’re on a mission to simplify the creation of digital experiences for our customers as we expand our new generation of SaaS offerings and open-source software to help software development teams innovate faster. As mentioned earlier, we’re seeing more interest for our Open Banking and Open Healthcare solutions in this region and we’re working on a few projects in the government sector as well.
Can you throw light on the Choreo and Asgaredo? Why do you consider them as game-changers?
The Choreo SaaS Application Development suite contains an Internal Developer Platform, and iPaaS, while also supporting SaaS API Management, DevOps and Cloud Native Application development. It is a full lifecycle, cloud native application development platform for creating, deploying, running and governing APIs, integrations and microservices on Kubernetes. The SaaS solution enables organization-wide productivity via self-service teams, governance and security, enterprise marketplaces, and business metrics.
What this means for enterprises is that it will help them to reduce software development costs as well as increase developers’ productivity, freeing their time to focus on delivering innovation at speed.
Asgardeo, on the other hand, addresses enterprises’ needs to bring about customer identity and access management (CIAM) while providing users with the capability to manage their identity and reuse it for authentication across varied applications and create digital doubles by bringing personality and identity together.
Asgardeo, together with Choreo, is capable of leveraging customer identity and access management functionalities to serve a broader range of business use cases that go beyond just IAM.
What has been the contribution of your channel community?
Our channel partners have played a key role, representing approximately 40% of our total Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) for 2022. We’ve increasingly relied on them to drive growth in our regional markets, including MEA. We expect this to continue in 2023.
Any new partnerships or channel enablement initiatives taken in 2022 or planned for 2023?
We continue to invest in growing our partner network while also enhancing relationships with our existing partners to increase our footprint across the globe. In recent months, we have expanded our own internal resources to drive greater collaboration and support knowledge and expertise transfer with partners.
What is your revenue growth expectation for this FY?
From a product standpoint, we believe Choreo and Asgardeo will pave the way in terms of organizations’ digital transformation initiatives.
From a business standpoint, we intend to work closely with our customers and establish more long-term relationships and also build new partnerships via our marketing efforts. We’re projecting a 30% growth in 2023 and continue the trend of being a profitable, lean organization that provides industry-leading products.
The past 2 years have been very tough, (not for you thankfully) how do you see the ME/ Africa or MEA market evolving in 2023? What is your road map for 2023?
As more businesses and governments in the MEA region engage with consumers and citizens online, we have seen a tremendous increase in demand for our open-source technology to deliver and secure their digital services; we envisage more engagement with the rollout of Choreo and Asgardeo products and vertical accelerators.
Our model of early engagement with the enterprise’s technical teams helps us to collaboratively define the problem they are trying to solve and then find the most suitable solution with our platform (including AppDev or CIAM or both).
Do you think the speed of tech adoption in ME is different from Africa? If yes, how would you like to address this?
Although both the Middle East (ME) and Africa are emerging markets, there are variations in technology adoption rates between the two regions. ME tends to have higher technology adoption rates due to the infrastructure and budgets allocated for digital transformation initiatives. In contrast, many African countries face challenges in terms of limited resources and infrastructure, which can hinder technology adoption. To address this, both government-funded and community-driven initiatives, leveraging the cloud are critical to support technology adoption in Africa.
Do you see the coming of chatGPT as technology – a boon or bane?
On the one hand, AI language models like ChatGPT have the potential to revolutionize communication and make it more efficient and effective. However, there may also be concerns related to privacy, security and even employment. So, definite ‘boons’ are enhanced productivity, access to information, personalization, and assistance in various sectors, among others. Among some of the ‘banes’ are misuse and manipulation, possible job displacement, privacy concerns and dependency on AI.
Like any technology, AI language models too can be both beneficial and harmful. In the end, it all depends on how these are used. Developers and users must be aware of the potential risks. Therefore, while I believe these definitely could be a ‘boon’ they must be used with caution and awareness.