Jul 12, 2022 | interviews

Exclusive Interview with Salman Lakhani - CEO, Cubix

In this exclusive interview, He shared his experiences in IT and several more things. Let’s check his success story and thoughts.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you started your career in the IT Sector?

I have been in this industry for the past 20 years. I had a keen interest in technology from a young age, and so I pursued an education aligned with my interest. I graduated from Staffordshire in the field of Computing. While doing so, I took up any available tech-related opportunities.

For the first 4 to 5 years of my career, I worked for companies that were primarily in the US. During this time, I identified a gap between the US market and the Pakistani market. They need talented workers, and Pakistan is full of talent. I then proceeded to develop a platform through which we could serve US customers with development services.

2. Tell us in brief about your company and the leadership.

I knew I would be in a leadership position. I always knew I would be doing some kind of business eventually since I belong to a community that is traditionally known to be business-oriented. Given the fact that I was educated in Computing, meant that I would be suited to leadership in the IT industry. What I studied about leadership was pretty contemporary, which perhaps reinforced my traditional, community-based ideas of doing business. The principles taught today are the same for the most part, but I'd say they are tailored and modernized to suit today's world.

To answer your question more specifically, I believe in a democratized leadership model, wherein I take the ultimate level of responsibility. However, responsibility in the case of leadership goes all the way down the organization and is shared, and ownership of decisions and running processes, meeting deadlines, and everything is a part of this.

3. What is your outlook for 2021?

Technologies that are actively being used in 2021 have been around for some years before that. In recent years, the rise of blockchain tech has been revolutionizing industries, and in 2021, it's going to be adopted even more, mainly because many people see its practical results.

The blockchain concept will change a lot of things for us. It will transform how our health system works. It will change how our governments work. It's going to revolutionize the way our economy works. It will change everything, including how software works. And so, I look forward to its progress in 2021 and beyond that.

4. How do you assess the role of research agencies like TopappFirms in bridging the gap between clients and service providers?

There are some agencies that play a positive role in conducting significant research into client needs and app development service offerings. Just like them, we also perform research, and we know what is going on in the market due to customer experiences across the app development service spectrum. This gives us a fair idea of how accurate their data is.

5. Any particular technology or industry you would be targeting? How do you plan to prepare your workforce for the upcoming technology upgrade?

I think that every service we offer will be affected by the 4.0 industrial revolution, which includes not just the blockchain, but also IoT, 5G, VR, AR, etc. Being a technology company, across the board, our people in the process of learning more and more on a daily basis. Even those who belong to the non-technical side of things are becoming increasingly aware of what is to come.

Inevitably, there is ongoing research and communication with various segments of the tech fraternity globally that help us learn on a daily basis. In other words, we're part of a global pool of tech people who are aware and are constantly learning about technologies that will revolutionize our world.

6. What all services do you think you would add to your offerings in 2021?

I think that anything that can be done sitting in an office with dozens of people can also be done when you're located elsewhere. For example, designing, programming, writing, etc., can all be done while being located outside your office. You can work from a café, or from home. And last year, we had a similar situation where we suddenly faced the Covid-19 outbreak. So, we started pitching fixed-sized projects with outsourced resources.

This model attracted a lot of people to invest because they were paying a hell of a lot for their resources, and apparently, they were not allowed to open their offices. So, their resources had to work remotely anyway. We offered them the same thing at maybe half the price. So, this has been part of our service offerings from mid-2020, and it has been specialized in 2021, and we will continue to refine our remote working options to benefit our vetted talent, as well as serve our clients with cost-effective services that are top-notch.

7. What are the challenges you see in the outsourcing industry, and how much are you're prepared to face those challenges?

The challenges only exist if you do not know what you are getting into. After spending more than 20 years in this industry and after having connected with hundreds of talented members who are now part of our pool, we are best prepared to help clients outsource to vetted talent who have a minimum of 5 years' experience. The challenge within this is to ensure sustainable communication, which includes daily scrums. This allows us to measure progress in the smallest of packages on a day-to-day basis.

8. How helpful are the web and mobile apps developed by your team for enhancing your clients' business? 

I can tell you that we never develop anything that we don't believe in, and that's because we want our clients to spend their money and time on projects that will benefit them. When anyone approaches us with an idea, we brainstorm that idea and conduct a workshop so that we can gauge the length and breadth of that idea's scope. This way, we can tell the client the future of a particular project. If there's nothing in it for the client, there is nothing in it for us.

9. What, according to you, are the best practices to attain client satisfaction? 

Deliver more than the client expects, always. However, this starts with your client's vision when you first make contact. Your goal is to ensure that you check your client's idea out thoroughly so that you can give him or her a fair decision regarding the future of the project. Once clients see that you have given them your honest feedback, they trust you more.

10. Tell us about some of your successful projects?

Aspired is one of my most successful projects in recent days, particularly since it was developed and offered during the most challenging times humanity has faced. When we started feeling the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and everything came to a grinding halt, we started pitching fixed-sized projects with resources that were located remotely.

We launched a design service based on this idea at first, which is called Designster. Through this, we offered all the designs a client would need for branding purposes on a monthly flat rate. This was successful, and so we also launched Aspired, which targeted a much bigger market that needed programmers of all kinds. But Aspired is much more than packaged deals; it is a complete recruitment platform wherein clients can pick resources that suit their project needs. Moreover, we manage all the HR and payroll processes, and all our resources possess a minimum of 5 years' experience.

11. How do you help your clients when choosing the right yet profitable platform for web development? 

To launch any business, you need to know your product and service well, and you also need to choose the right platform. So, to choose the best web platform, we need to have a complete understanding of the product/service before we can provide them an accurate answer. This means that we need to talk to them and get them to understand what it is that we do. We show them what we have achieved for other clients, and we gain their trust. Moreover, we brainstorm every idea, and we get them to tell us about their ideas, so we can review their viability and add value to them.

12. What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2021 after COVID 19?

Compared to 2020, the price range for app projects has remained somewhat the same. For example, smartphone applications with a complex UI or apps that require a significant backend, cost anywhere between $200,000 and $500,000.

13. Please describe the operational structure of your company- from the moment a client walks in, to the product deployment.

When a client first makes contact with us, we answer his or her questions and look to add value wherever we can. There is almost always a conversation because clients want to understand how you are going to serve them. So, there are several resources that we share with them, depending on what type of client they are.

Whenever the client is ready to tell us about his or her idea, we are ready to take that idea and see how we can build it and build upon it. We try to figure out a way of making sure the idea is viable, and if it isn't, we propose doing what we can to create or mold the original idea so that there is value for the client. This process can take some time but needs diligence and an attitude where you honestly want to help the client build something fruitful and something that has longevity.

Beyond this, if the client agrees and we negotiate the terms, we move forward with building the idea. Our customer-facing team then hands the communication over to the project lead while itself remaining on standby when or if needed. The project lead, him or herself, will have already been part of the communications with the client during the brainstorming stage. So, the transition is smooth.

The design phase is initiated, and when the client approves these designs, the next logical step is the development that is done in phases. Our process for this and every other related part of the project is agile, and so, there are cycles of testing wherein we ensure our code and related aspects are fully functional.

We have a robust team and refined processes that ensure that timelines are followed closely, and deadlines are never missed.

14. After service is a necessary part of development. How do you provide customer support to your client?

Our clients are usually with us for a long time because there is one thing between us and them that holds us together. And that is trust. A client will never put his idea or money forward if he or she does not trust you. And we will never take anyone's money unless we know a prospective project is truly viable. This is why we agonize over projects at the ideation phase, which is much before we even start a project or even have an agreement.

We take their basic idea and work on it from all angles to make sure it is viable and has longevity. When clients see that you are not willing to take on a project for the sake of the money, and more importantly, when they see that you take the pains to assess the viability down to the last detail, they automatically trust you. So, none of this can be faked because there is a lot of time and effort involved before we even sign a contract.

Now, to answer the question; we offer our clients the same level of care from the first time we connect. Although there is a standard post-development support phase for a fixed period, we always do more than they expect because it's a relationship. We remain engaged with our clients, and we also offer services for long-term maintenance and management depending on their needs.

15. Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?

See, it depends on what kind of experience you want your users to have. iOS users tend to be fewer but are perhaps more upscale than the vast Android users. So, if you are looking for a massive outreach, you'd need to consider the Android platform preferentially, but you would not want to miss out on the significant iOS users. Usually, people opt for a hybrid app that can work on both platforms. Doing that has its gains and losses. A hybrid app will encompass more people, but it may compromise on some features unique to the iOS or Android. A native solution for each platform will give you the best of each platform.

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