GitLab is one of the most well-known developer management tools used by countless dev-teams across the world. Providing support and tools such as issue-tracking and continuous integration/continuous deployment pipeline features, and more, it is has become a mainstay in the development community.

Where there will be a growing demand for the these services is the inevitable rise of digital transformation, especially post-COVID-19. This pandemic has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that companies need to be digital-ready. The impact of a global shutdown and growing economic crisis has left companies – both large and small – with a choice of digitise or give up.

person using laptops
A common sight in any developer team

While this sounds harsh, it is the new reality. So, we thought it would be a good time to speak to Anthony McMahon, Regional Director, APAC, GitLab, to find out more about the growing demand from the region and what he believes the future will look like.

Digital transformation is a hot topic right now as companies – both large and small – struggle to adapt to the new working realities. How do you foresee GitLab being able to help transition traditional companies to become more digitally-capable?

Every industry is undergoing a transformation. Every company needs to drive innovation and efficiency, improve how their teams work, and get ahead of their competitors, all with the goal to deliver new and improved customer experiences. 

So the question now isn’t whether to digitally transform or not, it’s how soon and how quickly can organisations transform to remain competitive? 

At GitLab, our premise is that an organisation cannot deliver digital transformation initiatives if they are also not transforming how they design, develop and deploy software. Another way of thinking about this is rapidly and securely managing idea-to-code, then code-to-cloud.

GitLab helps these organisations achieve their objectives with a single application for the entire DevOps lifecycle. We help simplify the software delivery toolchain – simplifying integration and helping teams get back to what they do best – deliver great software. By supporting businesses across the entire software delivery lifecycle – from idea to production, we eliminate silos and integration issues that come from organising work and tools in a sequence of steps and handoffs. GitLab unleashes collaboration across the organisation – giving visibility into the workflow, process, security, and compliance across the DevSecOps lifecycle.

How has Gitlab been able to establish itself in Southeast Asia, which is traditionally a challenging market due to traditional business models and a lack of local tech resources for key markets like Singapore?

Our customers in Southeast Asia are looking for the right people, processes, and platforms to enable them on their digital transformations, and building these partnerships is critical to meeting customer demands and enabling their achievements.

Partners are key to expanding GitLab customer solutions and capabilities on the ground in Southeast Asia. Offering migration, integration, and adoption services for the GitLab DevSecOps platform with cloud-native agility. 

This year, we launched the GitLab Partner Program, which is focused on partner relationships propelled by incentives and investments that will grow GitLab skills and capacity across the DevOps ecosystem. As businesses evolve their DevOps practices, we want to invest in a partner community that is built on strategic relationships that create greater value for the customer.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you have faced in your expansion?

The Southeast Asia region is a dynamic, developer heavy region. We see nothing but the opportunity to help organisations accelerate innovation and help drive economic growth, as well as encourage and open up remote work opportunities for many people.

Our biggest challenge has been finding the right partners that share this vision and also have the skills, experience, and capabilities to expand GitLab’s market coverage. We also have set ourselves the challenge to engage with the GitLab open source community in every country, to help them learn, adopt and contribute to GitLab. 

Finally, we look forward to working with universities and educational institutions to further enhance their ability to help their students advance their skills for coding, data science, and cloud operations. 

We are excited to work with our partners and customers in the region to provide ongoing skills development.

Could you briefly run-through the benefits of using GitLab for digital transformation?

Ultimately, we go back to the three objectives that organisations are looking for as they undertake digital transformation – cost and efficiency, speed and security.

GitLab offers teams a complete software development lifecycle (SDLC) in a single application. By simplifying your software development toolchain, GitLab reduces licensing costs for the different tools, lowers integration and management costs. The developer experience also becomes more consistent, efficient, and collaborative, enabling them to deliver better products faster.

A fragmented and complex DevSecOps toolchain can slow teams down, delaying releases and revenue. A complete DevSecOps platform in a single application breaks down the silos across Development, Security and Operations. Allowing better visibility, more collaboration, and faster speed to deliver, continuously. 

While speed is of the essence, organisations shouldn’t have to trade-off security and compliance in order to innovate faster. 

According to GitLab’s fourth annual DevSecOps survey, there is an industry-wide push to “shift-left” bringing security into the development cycle earlier, increasing development efficiency and strengthening security capabilities. However, the research shows that there is a clear disconnect between developer and security teams, with uncertainty about who should be responsible for security efforts. 

By aligning around a single approach, GitLab provides greater clarity and enables stronger collaboration between the developer and security teams.

What are the trends you are seeing in digital transformation in the region?

COVID-19 has accelerated the need for companies to embrace a remote workforce. This “suddenly-remote” working model was not factored into many organisations business continuity plans (BCP). Whether the work-from-home/anywhere approach continues we will have to wait and see. Although what is clear, is that organisations need to transform to ensure they are (work from home) WFH-ready. 

There is already impressive digital transformation happening in the region. Just look at the abundance of tech unicorns, entrepreneurs and small firms that are using technology disruption to grow. There has also been a great level of investment from governments in helping to grow the digital economy, providing better citizen services as a business to consumer like experience. 

There are still issues across the region – the sharp contrasts between the digital landscape and the access to digital skills. At GitLab, we see there is still room to realise the full potential of technology as an enabler for growth and innovation.

What are your plans for expansion in the region?

We have hired a go-to-market team to support some existing GitLab engineers in the region, and our next focus is on further partner recruitment and enablement.