The advantages of open source technology for digital innovation and business transformation.

According to Gartner, open source is becoming the backbone for driving digital innovation. Increasingly, open source is being adopted for leading-edge innovation like mobile, big data, AI and machine learning.

The growing adoption, in addition to COVID-19’s role in accelerating digital transformation, can be attributed to the enterprise-ready capabilities, tailor-made options, flexible subscription-based model, and independence of open source software

Since IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat, SUSE remains the world’s largest and fully independent open source provider, with almost 30 years in the industry. 

DigiconAsia sought out more insights from Phillip Miltiades, President of Asia Pacific Japan, SUSE, about the role of open source in digital business transformation today:

Phillip Miltiades, President, Asia Pacific & Japan, SUSE

In the digital economy, how important is open source for business transformation, and why?

Miltiades: Did you know that behemoths of the IT industry such as Google and Amazon use open source at the core of their innovations?

These organizations and so many more have proven through multiple use cases that there is no other software foundation that provide the flexibility, scalability and adaptability to meet the services and products that consumers demand in a digital enabled world.

Open source and the millions of developers that reside within the community provide thousands of software-defined solutions across the business landscape and the adoption of this software determines the value. Whether you are requiring leading edge innovation such as mobile, big data, AI and machine learning or transitioning your business to the cloud, open source provides robust solutions to modernize your business.  

The technology landscape is ever-changing and therefore it is critical to have solutions that can adapt to this evolving ecosystem. Customers are challenged with rethinking what their digital transformation journey looks like, specifically determining how to get from point A to point B and beyond.

How does open source help companies become more innovative, as opposed to closed or proprietary source? 

Miltiades: Open source is inherently unique in that it is created by a community of individuals from around the world working towards a common solution. There are no restrictions based on your location, and the possibility to innovate everywhere is only limited by the imagination.

For instance, SUSE offers the industry’s only adaptable Linux operating system, the industry’s only truly open, interoperable Kubernetes management platform, and the building blocks for innovative Edge solutions.

This lets customers innovate fast and transform according to their own priorities and the choice that they must make to evolve their IT strategy, based on their business requirements and innovation needs.

Proprietary software will always be just that – PROPRIETARY – and by its nature reduces your choices, which inevitably will inhibit your potential.

During the accelerated digitalization that many organizations embarked on during the COVID-19 pandemic, what are some instances where open source came in especially useful?

Miltiades: The pandemic changed the way organizations prioritize digitization and has transformed how leaders look to conduct business in the future. We not only saw an accelerated shift to transition to the cloud as well as an increasing need for customers to take a digital-first approach, but an immediate transformation that forced leaders of IT and business teams to test their capacities and strengthen their capabilities.

In the technology sector we understand the need to constantly innovate, which is why we work closely with our customers, partners and communities to ensure that we continue to develop and deliver robust agile solutions that meet the needs of our customers now and into the future.

Open source technology is a means for this transformation and the pandemic emphasized how critical it is for an organization to understand its own ability to meet the needs of their customers when you have to worry about both top and bottom lines.

Business performance depends on maintaining pace during uncertain times, and beyond. Organizations needed to speed up digital transformation with lower costs and better business outcomes, which open source delivers.  

What are the key security risks associated with open source, and how would you address them?

Miltiades: Whether its customer dataintimacy, location data, governance, or keeping up with the latest regulations, every industry faces its unique set of challenges when it comes to security. No matter what technology solution you use, you need to ensure that your organization isn’t just complying with security protocols but deploys a solution that is vigilant, agile and responsive to threats of any kind.

When it comes to open source, it is important to recognize the breadth and size of the ecosystem. Some the largest companies in this space – from Google to Microsoft – are contributing to the hardening of operating systems as well as easing enterprise adoption with Kubernetes management tools and distribution.

An example would be Blockchain, which has changed the way financial transfers and reconciliation of funds have been happening for decades. Thousands of companies such as Hyperledger are using this technology to support millions of financial transactions every year and without its security protocols, would never have the adoption we see today.

Is cost the biggest advantage for open source, or is that a myth? What other benefits can organizations, especially in Asia Pacific, gain from embracing open source?

Miltiades: Customers are always looking at how to do more with less, so cost is certainly one of those levers that make open source attractive. However, the technology has to also address Risk, Security, Business Continuity, Performance, Legislation, Privacy and many other key components of doing business.

By leveraging open source solutions, companies eliminate downtime, reduce overhead costs, outages, management time and more – all of which are vital to business operations.

With the rise of Mobile and Edge computing use cases, being truly open will support the goals of connecting the millions and millions of devices in the hands of our end consumers.

We are starting to see more adoption around Kubernetes deployments, which provide companies the ability to deploy applications quicker and provide the ability to be maintain and keep these applications evergreen, at the lowest TCO, at scale and with the best performance the modern digital era can provide.