News | 7 Min Read
Posted on: Wednesday March 3, 2021Reading Time: 7 minutes
Lately, companies have faced various challenges while migrating their data into cloud-native architecture—however, the automation of software migration through AI by SPL.Co has been resolving these issues. SPL.Co is a tech startup founded in 2019 by a female Emirati scientist Salwa Alzahmi considering the problems faced during software migration.
While Covid-19 brought up the need to pace-up digital transformation and involvement of technology, the tech startup gained global recognition at the IET Achievement Awards for engineering and technology and the Global Telecom Award GTB.
SPL.Co provides software transformation for existing IT systems using AI models. These AI models can identify and compose the specific part of system code that should be lifted to the cloud.
In a recent interview, Salwa Alzahmi shared her experience from the Ibtikari program. It was an intensive five-month incubator run powered by StartAD and Khalifa Fund, focused on promoting tech startups by UAE Nationals. Since we are close to International Women’s Day, a glimpse of Alzahmi’s interview would be inspiring for women in science, technology, math, and engineering. Being a female scientist in a traditionally male-dominant environment, the future looks “very progressive” to her.
The Idea Of SPL
When asked about her idea of starting SPL, Salwa said that during the early years of her career in IT, she came across various challenges that corporates faced while upgrading legacy software. In order to retain competitive market positioning, it was important to move to the cloud at the earliest.
However, modernization being slow, costly, and ineffective, it was difficult to find an effective alternative solution. Company-wide software upgrade was a challenge because of the lack of expert guidance and proper documentation. To add up, companies lacked the skills and resources to modernize enterprise applications.
When development is outsourced to third-party software and web development companies in Dubai with unsupportive technologies, these challenges become complex. If the external vendor goes out of business, an enterprise may end up losing its historical documentation. All this led to the idea of SPL.Co, which allowed businesses to control their investments in software development. The aim was to come up with an original method to speed up software upgrades and automation along with knowledge transfer.
Realizing Its Market Need
“Digital transformation is a reality a corporation cannot escape,” says Salwa. Most of the corporates were already planning to integrate the cloud to stay competitive and connect to more users. The Coronavirus outbreak pushed massive restrictions for companies with on-premises IT systems. Migrating to the cloud was, therefore, necessary for all these organizations. Since the ‘shift-and-lift’ approach won’t last long, and it would be mandatory to decompose application to micro-service architecture, Alzahmi’s thought of SPL was likely to work.
Initial Funding For SPL
Salwa applied for a master’s degree at the Khalifa University in the EBTIC research center, where she continued to research and prototype the solution that SPL would offer. Their trial with telecom corporation BT UK got successful, and the idea gathered more support from EBTIC as further fundings and resources to build SPL. Salwa then applied to the Ibtikari incubation program. It helped in getting additional support and guidance, which exposed SPL to the market.
When asked about challenges faced during funding because of being a woman, Alzahmi said there were none. According to her, the UAE encourages innovation regardless of gender. An entrepreneurial character with a goal to grow and add value will always get enough support. While the number of women-led startups are few, their success rate is higher as compared to male-start-ups. She said that there are numerous international programs that would help great ideas to take an easy flight.
Future Prospects For SPL.Co
Alzahmi expressed her intention to collaborate with integrators and software and web development companies in Dubai and around the world to channel services globally. She aims to register SPL as a tool for major cloud providers in the market.
Alzahmi seeks to expand and enhance SPL’s technology to deal with challenges in the development of AI systems so that it could be used for comprehending and auditing custom-developed AI software.