Shiboo Varughese, Chief Technology Officer at CirrusLabs, outlines how they transform day-to-day operations with agility, data-driven insights, automation, and cloud solutions to meet the demands of the industry.
Can you outline to our readers how your company has harnessed cutting-edge technologies to transform how you conduct your day-to-day operations to deliver the ‘experience’ that your customers, end-users, and partners’ demand in the experience economy?
CirrusLabs envisions a collaborative journey to achieve success alongside our valued clients. Our primary focus encompasses four key domains:
In the ever-evolving landscape of today’s business world, adaptability is paramount for delivering an exceptional customer experience. This involves the ability to swiftly respond to shifting customer demands and dynamic market conditions. We have demonstrated our commitment to agility through various notable instances:
Rapid Innovation and Product Launches: Our Agility solution empowers us to educate, establish, and expand agile teams for our clients. Drawing from our extensive experience with diverse clients, we have developed our own Agility framework, the CBVD model. This framework expedites the transition of businesses towards an agile mindset. Additionally, we offer baseline assessments that gauge the maturity of a client’s agile journey.
Personalised Customer Journeys: Our dedicated customer success teams collaborate closely with clients to offer insightful guidance and deliver value promptly. We have successfully partnered with clients to leverage their data for tailoring the customer journey, ensuring a personalised experience at every interaction point.
Swift Response to Customer Feedback: Our delivery teams span across multiple continents, enabling us to promptly address customer feedback. We conduct quarterly business reviews to gather insights on the performance of our agile teams, allowing us to fine-tune our approach to deliver enhanced customer value.
CirrusLabs works with our customers on data driven consulting using cutting-edge technologies. Data-driven consulting is a new approach to consulting that uses data and analytics to inform decision-making and deliver better results for clients. We use data to help our clients understand their businesses better, identify opportunities for improvement, and make more informed decisions.
We use cutting-edge technologies such as AI, ML, and IoT to automate tasks, improve efficiency, and create new and innovative services for their clients. For example, we have enabled AI to develop conversational chatbot that can answer client questions and provide support 24/7.
Automation is used to streamline repetitive and time-consuming tasks, freeing up consultants and our clients to focus on more strategic and value-added activities. We enable cross cutting technologies to build automations. With tools like Tricentis Tosca we could enable model driven test automation for multiple clients.
We are a strong believer of DevOps and Shift left testing. Automation and DevOps have undergone a transformative evolution with the integration of AI technologies. AI-driven automation in DevOps processes has significantly improved efficiency and reliability in software development and deployment pipelines. Through AI, repetitive tasks such as code testing, deployment, and monitoring can be streamlined, allowing development teams to focus on innovation and higher-level tasks. AI-powered predictive analytics also enable proactive issue detection, reducing downtime and enhancing overall system stability.
Cloud computing has revolutionised the way businesses manage and deploy their IT resources. Cloud infrastructure offers the scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency that modern organisations need. Cloud engineering, as a discipline, focuses on designing, building, and maintaining cloud-based systems to harness these benefits effectively. It encompasses architectural decisions, security measures, automation, and the optimisation of cloud resources. Furthermore, AI on the cloud has emerged as a game-changer, enabling organisations to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities without the need for extensive on-premises hardware.
OpenAI and ChatGPT are all the rage, and these new AI integrations have been tipped to fundamentally reshape all major industries as we know them. What is your view on OpenAI, are you excited by the new opportunities that it will present, or do you think more regulation is needed to control its impact on society?
Our outlook is characterised by a blend of anticipation and caution regarding the impending impact of OpenAI and ChatGPT on our society. On one front, these fresh AI integrations harbor the capacity to usher in a profound revolution across numerous industries, ushering in enhancements to our daily lives. A striking illustration of this can be found in the areas where our customer engagement has been notably robust, encompassing the following application scenarios:
To commence, the incorporation of automated conversational chatbots has proven to be a catalyst for heightened productivity and the elevation of customer experiences. Furthermore, the introduction of AI-powered healthcare solutions, exemplified by Nurse Assist and continuous health monitoring, underscores our dedication to reshaping the healthcare landscape. The expeditious development of software through predictive delivery methods serves as another testament to our forward-looking approach. Meanwhile, the utilisation of deep learning on extensive datasets serves to unearth invaluable insights from data, and our capacity to generate diverse forms of creative content, spanning blog posts, articles, scripts, musical compositions, email communications, and letters, contributes to the potential for novel products, augmented productivity, and enhanced accessibility to information and education.
However, juxtaposed with these advancements are certain conceivable risks associated with these emerging AI technologies. Notably:
- ChatGPT could potentially be misused to generate harmful content, including disinformation, propaganda, and hate speech.
- ChatGPT has the capacity to fabricate deepfakes—realistic videos or audio recordings manipulated to create the illusion of someone saying or doing things they never actually did.
- The OpenAI models are trained on existing data, introducing the risk of bias and unintended consequences.
- Concerns arise from the absence of robust regulations and control mechanisms governing AI models.
Hence, we firmly advocate for a comprehensive examination of both the prospective advantages and threats posed by OpenAI and ChatGPT before embarking on their widespread deployment. The imperative lies in the development of stringent regulations and protective measures aimed at mitigating risks while ensuring the optimal realisation of potential benefits.
There has been a swathe of digital and cloud transformation projects in the Middle East over the last 3-5 years. However, many have struggled with the demands of cloud transformation, especially legacy-heavy players. What are the key processes that enterprises need to adopt to ensure a successful transformation journey?
We believe that there is a learning from every cloud transformation. Here are some of the key steps for legacy-heavy enterprises in the Middle East need to adopt to ensure a successful cloud transformation journey:
- Define the scope of the transformation. This includes identifying the goals and objectives of the transformation, as well as the specific applications and data that will be migrated to the cloud. It is important to have a clear understanding of the scope of the transformation before embarking on the journey.
- Assess the current state of the IT environment. This includes identifying all of the applications, infrastructure, and data that are currently in use. It is also important to identify any gaps or challenges that need to be addressed before migrating to the cloud.
- Identify the cloud vendors. Conduct Pilots with multiple vendors to see which solution fits the portfolio. We have accelerated this step with our Cloud management platform tools.
- Create a transformation Plan. This plan should include timelines, budgets, and resources. It is important to identify and mitigate any risks that may occur during the transformation process.
- Start small and scale up. This includes migrating applications and data to the cloud, and making any necessary changes to infrastructure and processes. It is important to have a clear communication and change management plan in place to ensure that all stakeholders are on board with the transformation.
- Monitor and manage the transformation. It is important to monitor the transformation process to ensure that it is on track and meeting its objectives. It is also important to make adjustments as needed.
Cirruslabs has done large scale cloud migrations and engineering work for multiple clients. With our learnings we have built multiple assets and accelerators. Whether it is scanning the code to understand whether it can move to the cloud, or creating an automated sandbox with all the guardrails, we have a template or an accelerator which can help to get the value quickly.
What we often say is to
- Focus on the business value of cloud transformation. Don’t just migrate to the cloud for the sake of it. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of the business value that cloud transformation will deliver.
- Get buy-in from all stakeholders. Cloud transformation requires a change in mindset and culture. Make sure that all stakeholders, from the CEO down to the front-line employees, are on board with the transformation.
- Be patient and persistent. Cloud transformation is not a quick or easy process. It takes time and effort to achieve success.
- Execute and Fail Fast.
With the right partner and the right cloud, Legacy migration is still possible.
In your expert opinion, what do you view as the biggest problem facing enterprises in the IT and technology industry across the Middle East?
IT and technology industry in the Middle East is growing rapidly. Enterprises in the region are recognising the importance of digital transformation, and they are investing in new technologies and solutions.
In our expert opinion, the biggest problem facing enterprises in the IT and technology industry across the Middle East is the skills shortage and identifying new innovation opportunities.
The region is experiencing a rapid growth in digital transformation, but there is not enough qualified IT and technology talent to meet the demand. This is due to several factors, including:
- A lack of investment in education and training
- A brain drains of skilled workers to other countries.
- A lack of diversity in the IT and technology workforce
It is making it difficult for them to find and retain qualified employees, and it is slowing down their digital transformation efforts. In addition to the skills shortage, there are several other challenges facing enterprises in the IT and technology industry across the Middle East, including:
- Cybersecurity: The region is a target for cyberattacks, and enterprises need to invest in cybersecurity measures to protect their data and systems.
- Regulation: The regulatory landscape in the region is complex and fragmented, which can make it difficult for enterprises to comply with regulations.
- Access to capital: It can be difficult for enterprises in the Middle East to access the capital they need to invest in new technologies and grow their businesses.
- Infrastructure and connectivity: Some regions in the Middle East faced infrastructure limitations and connectivity issues, which could hinder the adoption of advanced technologies.
- Cultural Factors: Cultural norms and societal factors could impact technology adoption and innovation in certain sectors or regions.
However, with all the constraints, Middle east has progressed rapidly in the last decade in leading transformational changes with technology.
This supplement is titled Tech Vision, so with that in mind, what do you think the future holds for the IT and tech sector across the Middle East, what will be the key trends and technologies that will really champion change over the next ‘digital decade’?
Aligning with the Middle East vision, AI, Cloud and digital transformation work will find new ways to improve productivity to business and provide value. New products and services will emerge in the transformation journey. The future of the IT and tech sector in the Middle East is very promising. Some of the key trends and technologies that will champion change in the Middle East over the next digital decade include:
- Artificial intelligence (AI): AI is already having a major impact on the IT and tech sector in the Middle East, and this is only going to increase in the coming years. AI is being used to develop new products and services, automate tasks, and improve efficiency.
- 5G and beyond-5G networks: 5G and beyond-5G networks will enable new and innovative applications in the IT and tech sector. For example, 5G will make it possible to develop real-time AI applications, such as autonomous vehicles and smart cities.
- Cloud computing: Cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular in the Middle East, and this is expected to continue in the next decade. Cloud computing offers a number of benefits, such as flexibility, scalability, and cost savings.
- Internet of Things (IoT): The IoT is connecting devices to the Internet, and this is creating a wealth of new data. Enterprises in the Middle East can use this data to improve their operations, develop new products and services, and create new revenue streams.
- Blockchain: Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that can be used to create secure and transparent transactions. Blockchain is being used in a variety of industries in the Middle East, including finance, healthcare and logistics.
In the “digital decade” ahead, the Middle East is poised for continued technological advancement and innovation. The region’s tech sector is expected to be shaped by these trends, with a strong focus on digital transformation, cybersecurity, and harnessing the potential of emerging technologies like AI, 5G, and blockchain.