One of the benefits of the digital world is the way in which it enables us to find what we want more easily. This goes far beyond information, to the provision of marketplaces for a huge range of products and services. The range spans recruitment of permanent or temporary staff in various fields, raw materials for operations, or finished goods. Around the world, companies and individuals have now adopted and used marketplaces to make life easier. Software developer WSO2 simplifies API-first integration within and between enterprises.
WSO2 is a marketplace facilitator, rather than a marketplace in itself – Unlike some of the other companies profiled in this series, WSO2 does not own or provide a marketplace itself. Instead, its platform technology, particularly API Manager, is used by its customers to facilitate the provision of their marketplaces. For example, telecoms company Digital, in Sri Lanka, used WSO2’s software to build first an internal, and then an external, API marketplace. This has allowed internal developers and customers to find and use Digital’s APIs and therefore integrate the company’s products with others.
WSO2 was founded in the mid-2000s and has grown significantly since then – WSO2 was founded in 2005 by Sanjiva Weerawarana and Paul Fremantle, both formerly from IBM. In 2008, Paul Fremantle became the company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), and was named one of Infoworld’s Top 25 CTOs that year. In its 15 years of operations, the company has received $40.5 million in funding, and it now has over 600 employees in offices around the world, including Sydney, Sao Paolo, London, Berlin, Colombo, and California. It notes that its integration technology is used to facilitate over six trillion transactions each year across hundreds of companies.
WSO2’s technology is designed to increase integration across and between enterprises – The company provides a range of different technology to support integration, including Enterprise Integrator, and other packages to support low-code integration and streaming integration. WSO2 provides open-source products to enable customers to develop, reuse, and manage APIs and integration. This is particularly helpful in preventing vendor lock-in and facilitating use of open-source packages. The products are built on technology that has been proven over time, and can run on-premises or in the cloud.
WSO2’s solutions are used multiple sectors including some with tight regulatory requirements – WSO2’s integration technologies are used to support applications like open banking, now a regulator requirement in many parts of the world. For example, Société Générale uses WSO2 as a strategic partner for open banking, to improve the speed and ease of integration. The bank suggests that open banking is a key part of the move to providing digital services, and can even speed up the process.
WSO2 also offers consultancy services to help its customers get the most out of its software – WSO2 recognises that increasingly, its customers do not have the resources to manage their own integration—not least because many small and medium-sized enterprises are now looking to integrate. The company therefore offers full consultancy services, which can cover any or all of strategy, architecture, implementation and training. For example, its QuickStart programme provides two consultants for a week (or two, if working remotely) to get a rapid start to an evaluation or proof-of-concept. A QuickStart project would typically involve defining the deployment architecture and the implementation plan.
WSO2 supports learning and certification across its customer community – WSO2 offers certification in use of its products, which are free to candidates from partner organisations. Some were also made available free to a wider audience during the pandemic. The company offered free self-paced learning courses during the pandemic, alongside live online training sessions run by product experts. WSO2 also stepped up its offering of webinars and online events during lockdown, to help people improve their skills.
WSO2 expects integration to become more important as AI becomes more ubiquitous – The company has identified 11 integration use cases related to AI, including integrations to enable AI, data integration (for example, using AI to reconcile data), increasing security and increasing usability. The company’s analysis suggests that AI may actually increase the need for integration, because using AI often requires organisations to clean up data and integrate sources. It also notes that once AI is used, decisions are taken more quickly and frequently than before. This means that mistakes and errors can affect more decisions, making high-quality, effective integration even more important.