In 2019, Gartner analysts shared a compelling observation: “Open source is becoming the backbone for driving digital innovation.”  Indeed, open-source unlocks innovation at scale and plays a vital role in enabling enterprises to fast track their digitalization journey. With robustness, scalability, affordability, and agility as key benefits, open source enables businesses to leverage solutions that land at the forefront of digital innovation without the fear of vendor lock-in. With its inherent flexibility, open-source empowers businesses to develop modern software strategies that cater to our customer’s needs. 

As Southeast Asia’s digital economy continues to grow at a rapid pace, it’s worth taking a look at where open-source stands throughout the region.

The multifaceted phenomenon of open-source in Southeast Asia

Generally, the maturity level of open source adoption throughout Southeast Asia varies from country to country. In developing countries like Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, open source awareness and adoption levels are vastly and seemingly different. 

In Vietnam’s manufacturing-based economy, companies mainly use Linux open source technology to run enterprise resource planning applications, whereas in neighbouring Thailand, from the government to private sectors, users are adaptable to using both enterprise-grade and community versions of open source technologies. Farther to the east, users in the Philippines are accustomed to buying open-source subscription services as open-source projects support everything from government and education sectors to small and medium enterprises.

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With a startling number of 175.4 million internet users among its 260 million population, it is not surprising to see Indonesia listed as one of the top users of open source, which see wide deployment across government, telecommunications, IT, healthcare and banking services. Similarly, Malaysia’s government has been very receptive to implementing open source solutions among its public sector agencies. Consequently, open source has also been widely adopted by other major verticals throughout the country, including telecommunications, IT, education, finance and service sectors. Contrary to its developing neighbours, Malaysia has espoused a balanced rate of adoption between the community and enterprise-grade versions.

In contrast to its Southeast Asian neighbours, Singapore continues to be a trailblazer for incorporating open source advanced technology as part of its digital transformation. Working to unify the nation through digitalization, the country has implemented a series of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) initiatives across the public sector, the private sector and its citizens. With its Services 4.0 vision guiding the nation’s response to capture opportunities in the digital economy, Singapore is using emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a cloud-native architecture to boost the Infocomm media ecosystem, enabling faster time to market through encouraging innovation. By using open source to drive these advancements forward, it is no surprise that Singapore was ranked the second-highest growth of open source contributors in the world. 

Open-source for emerging technologies 

Open-source container technology is one way of supporting innovation like AI, big data, analytics, 5G or edge computing. Because they are portable and lightweight, containers allow developers to rapidly develop and seamlessly deliver applications that are infrastructure and platform agnostic. They are easier to manage through application lifecycle automation, and because they allow one to do more with less hardware, they lower the total cost of ownership. Moreover, container technology can be deployed on-premise, in the cloud (private or public) or even in a hybrid cloud model. 

Because of its unique versatility, container technology has been employed across government, telecommunications, IT, banking, fintech and healthcare sectors around the globe. 

In Singapore, the government has announced they will deploy Kubernetes open-source container management system to support the nation’s mobile digital identity system, running digital transactions for citizens and businesses in a secure, seamless and convenient manner. Even Asia’s leading online shopping portals are tapping into container technology in a bid to generate best customer experience with faster time to market for service rollouts. 

As Southeast Asia countries continue to explore open source in various forms, opportunities abound for open source players and organizations who look to become digital-ready. When an organization decides to look for an open source partner to help them build their digital transformation, it will have literally hundreds to choose from. The most valuable thing about enterprise-grade supported technologies is that they will liberate IT staff from standard maintenance operations, allowing the staff to focus on developing those innovative leaps that will enhance the competitive edge for the organizations in the marketplace.

To find the best open source partner that fits your organization’s transformation strategy, you should look for a partner who is deeply rooted in the open-source community unlocking innovation for mission-critical applications and committed to delivering agnostic, enterprise-grade open source solutions with zero vendor lock-in and high-quality service and support. 

Above all, your open source partner must work in lock-step with your organization by simplifying the existing IT applications, modernizing the infrastructure through cloud-native technologies and working with the organization to accelerate innovation which knows no boundaries, from the core to the edge and beyond. These are the ways an open source partner can truly create value and help your organization unlock your greatest digital potential.

This article was contributed by Phillip Miltiades, President, Asia Pacific & Japan at SUSE

About the author

SUSE taps SAP veteran Phillip Miltiades to lead APJ business - Software -  CRN Australia

Phillip has over 25 years of working internationally & domestically with the best run global, regional and local businesses in the world. Phillip joined SUSE as President – Asia Pacific Japan in May 2020 with full responsibility over the business and growth ambitions. An integral member of SUSE Global Customer Office, Phillip supports our customers and partners to realize business outcomes that create sustainable value at lower cost of ownership and with no risk to strategic business imperatives. Phillip’s previous responsibilities included SAP COO Digital Core, Asia Pacific Japan, SAP VP S/4HANA Cloud, Asia Pacific Japan and the incubation and growth of SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud and Application Management Services business across the APJ region. With an entrepreneurial like spirit, Phillip prides himself in his ability to humanize the change that technology brings to people and corporations alike. He resides in Sydney with a passion to support people, business and the greater community goals and aspirations.