Ukrainian IT companies are preparing and implementing business continuity plans after Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine. The war has entered its third week of fighting, with Russia failing to seize any significant Ukrainian city due to Ukraine’s strong resistance. Still, there is a heavy toll on civilian life, with millions displaced as evacuations continue in battered cities. About 2 million people have fled the country, but many remain in areas of heavy fighting.
IT businesses have indeed suffered major disruptions, but many in outsourcing are finding ways to keep serving their clients. The flexibility of IT work has helped with the foresight of Ukrainian companies.
6 Steps Implemented in BCP for IT Companies in Ukraine
The development of business continuity plans has been part of the culture of preparedness engrained in the IT sector. Vitaly Sedler, IT Ukraine Association’s president, noted that “The Ukrainian IT industry always promptly responds to politically and socially significant events.” He has further indicated that IT businesses are aware of all possible risks and have operational plans to respond to disruptions.
A survey by the IT Ukraine Association revealed that 92% of members had or were finalizing their business continuity plans prior to the invasion. So, what steps are Ukrainian IT outsourcing companies and others taking to facilitate their business operations?
1. Relocating staff to safer parts
The idea of relocation was a last resort for many in the IT sector but a key feature in any business continuity plan in Ukraine. Before the invasion, only 57% of senior executives would consider relocation at their specialists’ initiative.
As the situation escalated throughout February, some companies started offering relocation support. Totango offered staff the opportunity to relocate to Tel Aviv about two weeks before the invasion. The founder, Guy Nirpaz, noted that the team opted to stay put in Ukraine and closer to their families. He stated that it was clear that many did not want to be seen as opportunists, leaving at times of distress. Two of Totango’s Ukraine team members told Crunchbase News that they decided to stay to support their country.
As Russia launched a full-scale assault on February 24th, focusing its assault on major Ukrainian cities, many companies reconsidered their relocation plans.
At Attract Group, the safety of our team comes first. We have similarly helped our specialists and their families relocate to western parts of Ukraine, Poland, and Bulgaria.
Relocation is still a collective action that is still taking place as evacuations from heavily bombarded areas continue. IT companies are providing housing where possible or the first month’s rent as compensation. Other companies noted in the news for offering relocation support have included Grammarly, Bolt, and Lyft.
2. Supporting those who can’t leave or have chosen to stay
For those who have not left, IT companies are providing everything necessary for business continuity. Some emergency plans included setting up delivery centers in Western parts of Ukraine. They have been outfitted with backup generators, dark fiber internet, satellite phones, among other tools.
The support may continue to evolve as the war progresses. Ukraine phone lines and the internet in many parts largely remained working. Only one city, Mariupol, has been without internet for over a week. The communications infrastructure is a key objective for the invading army to cut off the population from reliable news sources. Fiverr’s company COO Hila Klien revealed that they are doing everything to provide a means of alternative communication for their developers in case the internet goes down.
3. Cashflow security
Business continuity plans for IT companies have factored in cashflow security as the war may impact cash-flow-related processes such as payroll. As of now, the financial system remains resilient, and bank branches remain open with stocked ATMs. However, withdrawals are capped at 100,000 hryvnias ($3,367) per day.
In a bid to ensure uninterrupted cash flow from business to the specialist, the Attract Group has seen the need to have accounts open in different countries. IT companies are also taking advantage of other available tools and resources, including remote deposit capture, online banking, or virtual credit cards.
4. Cooperating with other Ukrainian companies for project stability
Effective collaboration will be critical for the survivability of Ukrainian companies during the current crisis. Teams may find it increasingly difficult to pull in all their experts together. Therefore, they should look into ways of sharing the work. Companies with many projects can share them with those who have downtime.
5. Ensuring proper data backup and security
The need for proper data backup and data security has been an ongoing concern for many Ukrainian IT companies. As far back as January, Microsoft discovered destructive malware targeting Ukrainian organizations.
Since the invasion, Ukrainian government websites and banks have been subject to numerous DDoS attacks. Many of the services remain online, with attacks repelled.
There is still a need to move data stored in Ukraine to the States or Europe if it has not already been done. The Attract Group had already stored everything in Germany in Hetzner hosting.
6. Building resilience, remaining calm and taking measured action
As IT companies head into an uncertain future, the most they can continue doing is building resilience, staying afloat, and preparing for recovery. Now is the time to evaluate essential processes to protect and which to shelve. The key processes add value to customers and keep the business going.
It’s the moment to increase communications with all stakeholders and keep them apprised about impacts to the service delivery. Specialists and executives should, at all times, remain calm and take measured action with recovery in mind.
Companies should keep track of all known threats to their operations and adapt as new threats emerge.
People remain as the organization’s greatest assets. While their safety is essential, IT companies should keep finding other ways to offer emotional or psychological support. Senior staff members can regularly check in with their specialists and remind them of the available support.
The IT Ukraine Association recently stated that they were offering an anti-crisis support service, Є – Support! IT companies can receive qualified consultation on CSR initiatives, BCP management, first aid training, specialist relocation, and other issues through the program.
The need for continuous CSR initiatives – assistance to military and refugees
It’s heartwarming that many in the IT sector are undertaking various CSR initiatives. On the battlefronts are specialists who have left to join the Armed Forces, ready to lay down their lives for the Motherland.
Organizations are running funding drives and donating equipment.
Attract Group maintains active contacts of volunteer organizations from neighboring countries (Moldova/Poland/Bulgaria/Romania). If someone needs support, please contact us. We are ready to help.
Ukraine Companies Shall Weather the Storm!
Ted Brown, a Snap engineer, based in the US, observes the troubling situation in Ukraine where the company has about 100 staff members and developers. In a Linkedin post, he writes that Ukraine has been under siege for years. But even in the environment, Ukrainian developers have built amazing tech used by billions around the world. He notes, “The people of Ukraine are smart, capable, and unafraid.”
The IT Ukraine Association divulged that the 8-year Russian Federation’s aggression had done little to dampen the growth of the IT sector. In the last three years, specialists have more than doubled, with 285,000 specialists working in the sector.
According to the recently presented NATIONAL STUDY, the IT industry grew by 36% from $5 billion to U$6.8 billion in export sales.
Back in 2014, you would hardly find mention of Ukraine’s IT sector on lists ranking top outsourcing destinations. That quickly changed, and Ukraine now features among the top outsourcing destinations for digital services globally.