CirrusLabs believe their unique digital framework can enable companies to transform

Naeem Hussain, Chief Operating Officer at CirrusLabs, tells CNME Editor Mark Forker, how the ‘niche’ digital transformation provider plans to capitalise on the burgeoning opportunities across the META region – and how its unique digital framework gives them a huge competitive advantage for helping customers accelerate on their digital transformation goals.

Naeem Hussain has enjoyed a truly remarkable career thus far in the global IT and technology ecosystem.

In a career that began with US telecommunications behemoth Verizon back in 1998, Hussain has held leadership positions with some major companies such as Siemens, Capital One and ING to name a few.

He displayed his entrepreneurial drive by founding Medzspeed Solutions and AgileTrailblazers in 2011 while pursuing an MBA from The University of Chicago.

Naeem is a co-founder of CirrusLabs and he was appointed as the Chief Operating Officer in 2020. CirrusLabs is a bespoke digital transformation provider with a market presence in the United States, Canada and India.

After a successful US led trade delegation – Tradewinds, CirrusLabs decided that it was the right time for the company to enter the META marketplace.

Hussain kickstarted a very candid discussion with CNME, by documenting what he believes differentiates CirrusLabs from other digital transformation providers.

We know that the term digital transformation is a widely used term, and it can mean different things for different people. How we like to differentiate ourselves at CirrusLabs is our digital transformation framework that essentially captures the pillars that we view digital transformation with. It starts with digital strategy at the bottom, then goes up to agile team organisation, modernisation of technology, data, AI and cloud, with the sole purpose of getting products to market and driving business value for our customers. These pillars, and the way we view these building blocks provides us with a very holistic view of how an organisation can look at charting their own digital transformation journey, and that’s ultimately how we differentiates ourselves,” said Hussain.

Hussain elaborated more on how certain customers will select a specific pillar of their framework that best suits their needs – and highlighted that they leverage their partner ecosystem to accelerate the entire process.

“In many cases, we provide the services, but within our ecosystem we have brought in partners, and vendors that really help us accelerate that journey for our customers. Many of our customers will begin their journey with a particular pillar, and will then work their way through as they evolve towards the objectives of their digital transformation project. We’ve been very fortunate to have applied this in industry verticals such as financial services, banking, healthcare, defence sector, start-ups, and all the way up to Fortune 500 companies. The sheer breadth and scope of what we have worked on really helps us get a perspective of different blueprints that can help accelerate the journey for our customers to achieve business value. Given the experiences we have had in the United States, we are excited to bring that knowledge and expertise to the UAE, and the entire Middle East region,” said Hussain.

Hussain moved the dial of the conversation to the topic of customer experience.

He outlined the benefits of inviting customers to participate in design thinking sessions.

Some of the best practices that we have experienced has been in partnering with our customers. In the US, we have offices in Atlanta, and Washington DC, and we regularly invite our customers to come in and participate with us as we conduct design thinking sessions as part of our efforts to create solutions for them. Our customers want to observe how our teams operate and work, and we do that in a very agile way across our organisation, and this approach is very unique, and again makes us very different,” said Hussain.

In terms of their move earlier this year to establish operations in the Middle East, Hussain said Dubai was the logical choice.

“We strategically picked Dubai as our location because of all the economic activity that occurs here, and the fact it such a hotbed for innovation. The idea for us is to bring our customer prospects to our office and experience the way we work, create and collaborate with our counterparts in the US, Canada and India. Participation with the customers works best when they come to our offices, explain their problems to us, and then we use our expertise to help solve that issue using the different techniques that we have built up over the last few years,” said Hussain.

A couple of months ago, CirrusLabs announced ScienceLogic as their partner in the region.

According to Hussain, the partnership will enable their customers to have ‘continuous monitoring’.

“I have talked about our digital transformation framework, and the different pillars within it. However, we package our services in a very logical order. We have a digital strategy, and agile product management – and the way that works is you have an idea for an organisation but how do you actually go to market? The second element is hyper-automation, and the other component is cloud computing and security, which is a critical component in the multi-cloud space. One of the most important components in all of this is security, and this is where AIOps and ScienceLogic comes into play. We are fully focused on ensuring we deliver the best experiences for our customers in terms of technology, but we don’t have to do it all, as we have a great partner ecosystem. ScienceLogic will allow our customers to have continuous monitoring, both at an application and network level, which will drive improved security and a higher level of automation,” said Hussain.

Hussain also highlighted the impact the acquisition of Lockthreat has had for delivering that continuous monitoring for customers.

“We acquired a company called Lockthreat, and we’re building the next-generation of AI-powered GRC, which is a governance risk and compliance solution. Again, the way we are viewing this is from the lens of how do we hyper-automate? Part of this automation is continuous compliance, which again has to be done by continuous monitoring and ScienceLogic is an obvious fit for us. The integration of Lockthreat and ScienceLogic gives our customers from a governance risk and compliance perspective continuous monitoring,” said Hussain.

The Middle East is home to some of the most ambitious economic transformation programs such as Dubai Digital Strategy 2050, and Vision 2030 in the KSA, Hussain believes that the company is perfectly balanced in terms of being big enough to help with large-scale projects, and small enough to provide customised support.

“If you look at some of the government visions like the Dubai Digital Strategy 2050, and Vision 2030 in the KSA, a common theme throughout all of them is digital enablement. Whether that is creating digital strategies, digital talent, or accelerating smart city projects, we believe that in all of these cases we can support the government in achieving their transformation goals. We believe through our digital transformation framework that we can help them map out their journeys from a strategic perspective. We are big enough to support large projects, and small enough to provide that customised support for our customers. Our mission is co-creating, and that is something that we stand by. We are always trying to work with customers to understand their problems, and are looking to develop a solution that helps them overcome that, instead of imposing a certain set of frameworks on them,” said Hussain.

The Chief Operating Officer at CirrusLabs described the company as an ‘asset-based’ industry transformation provider – and highlighted the impact of its new Cirrus Insights Now solution that was developed in-house by the team.

“I would say we are an asset-based industry transformation provider, and what I mean by that is the digital transformation framework that we have talked about, in every single pillar we have assets and accelerators. The biggest thing we bring to the table is the time-to-market for our customers, that’s our USP. I’ll give you an example, we recently built a new solution inhouse called Cirrus Insights Now, which uses generative AI. The idea is to take a business idea using a lean business canvas, and decompose that idea for product management all the way to creating user requirements and test cases. We’ve experimented on this with a few customers, and a process which would typically take 3-4 weeks for gathering requirements is brought down to less than an hour. This is especially valuable when business people want to communicate requirements to the technical people!” said Hussain.

Hussain added that the company has been able to carve out a space in what he described as niche areas.

“When we talk about the cloud space, we work with Microsoft Azure, AWS and GCP, and our partnership with ScienceLogic brings this single dashboard to do multi-cloud management, which is very valuable for large enterprise customers, who want to hedge their bets using different technologies, or the backend for various different purposes. We have carved out a space in some very niche areas, and that is what we try to bring to our customers,” said Hussain.

He concluded a wonderful discussion by reinforcing the strength of their digital transformation framework, which is never static.

In terms of what made CirrusLabs unique and successful, Hussain feels it is a combination of the thought leadership the company has, and the people within the organisation.

“I think one of our main differentiators is thought leadership. The digital transformation framework that I have referred to throughout our conversation has evolved continually to keep up with technology, it is not a static framework. We are constantly at the forefront of technology, and our industry experts are constantly working with our customers to understand where the challenges are – and we evaluate the technologies that can help them solve their problems. We have also just added an AI and data component to the framework to reflect what is currently happening in the marketplace. In the past, we used to call it emerging technologies, today you have to be creating solutions using AI to make your customers experiences even better. The most important thing in our success is the people. These are real experts that know their craft, and are very empathetic with our customers and understand our mission, which is ultimately to help our customers succeed,” said Hussain.

Previous ArticleNext Article


The free newsletter covering the top industry headlines