Russian military aggression against Ukraine has been going on for almost two months and during this time all sectors of the economy, including IT, had to support the military.
Ukrainian IT didn’t break – it shrank a little, but it stands firm, provides employment to people, pays taxes, organizes humanitarian aid and aids the Ukrainian military.
Here are a few key factors that have helped Ukrainian IT and us as a business survive:
Companies prepared for war before it started
The media discussed the possibility of war long before it actually started. While everyone hoped for a speedy recovery, the Ukrainians acknowledged that they had a neighbor who could attack at any moment. With this in mind, many IT companies started planning emergency plans and setting up emergency teams. The preparation helped us significantly to maintain cohesion when the war started on 24 February.
Our company has established an emergency team whose main responsibility is to accommodate and transport our employees from hazardous areas.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to move to digital
The ability to work remotely has helped IT specialists in wartime significantly. People worked in air raid shelters, in basements and in cars and trains during evacuations. We were used to working online, so when the war started it wasn’t a big problem for our employees.
Thanks to the availability of numerous digital tools and programs, our workflow was not seriously disrupted.
Evacuation of workers to safer cities
It is difficult to leave your country and quickly integrate elsewhere in life, so for many people staying in safe parts of Ukraine was very important. Several million Ukrainians moved from the east to the western parts of the country, concentrating in cities such as Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, Lutsk, Rivne and Uzhhorod.
IT companies did their best to help their employees relocate. Some covered the moving costs, others rented accommodation. The largest companies have even opened 24-hour hotlines to assist with evacuation procedures and psychological help.
In the first weeks of the war, we helped workers from the east move, rented a hostel in Lviv and invited people to live there with their families. We also converted part of the office into temporary housing and helped employees find and rent flats, which was not easy due to the enormous increase in demand for housing in Western Ukraine after the outbreak of the war.
Evacuation of workers to other countries
Some people decided to leave the country temporarily until the situation improved and move to countries where they could feel safe. Only women, children and pensioners were allowed to do this and all men aged 18 to 60 remained in Ukraine. The war is still raging, but many people who had left Ukraine are now returning.
Some IT companies moved their offices to neighboring countries, mainly Poland, Romania and Hungary. Others helped their employees’ families with relocations, bureaucratic procedures and housing.
Only some of our employees left Ukraine. Our emergency plan included housing for workers and their families in Slovakia, but in the end everyone decided to stay behind, and we didn’t use it.
Support and trust from foreign partners and customers
Despite the risks and vulnerability, many foreign clients continued their projects in our country. This trust and support is extremely important for the IT sector in Ukraine, as it helps companies survive.
However, the productivity level at companies did not fall. People feel enormously motivated to work and to deliver good performance to foreign clients. Many workers who lived in the safer parts of the country did their best to protect and support their colleagues who moved from the war zones.
Overall, the Ukrainian IT sector has managed to ensure a secure and uninterrupted project delivery.
Many IT companies in the safer parts of the country have transformed some of their offices to accommodate employees and their families from other regions. Many offices were temporarily converted into humanitarian centers, providing support and aid to people in the early weeks of the war.
Our own office today has three functions. It serves as temporary housing for workers from war-torn areas, such as office space for companies that have moved from war zones and finally as office space for our own employees.
Protection of the Ukrainian army
Thanks to the enormous efforts of the Ukrainian army, many cities are now safe and people can live and work in relative peace. Many IT specialists have signed up to protect their country. People who were coding, managing and working on complex technology before the war put down their laptops and picked up weapons.
Other IT specialists continued to maintain the IT front, which is no less important. IT companies are actively involved in corporate-level volunteerism to organize funds and initiatives to help the military financially.
Our CRO and co-founder, Igor Luzhanskiy, joined the Territorial Defense Forces at the beginning of the war. His battalion protects our country and ensures public safety. We are constantly trying to support him and his battalion with technical and material resources.
The motivation to help one’s own country can do wonders. IT companies have been working on volunteer projects since the early days of the war.
Some develop apps for the military, others develop solutions for civilians. Today there are hundreds of different initiatives, and their existence shows the unity of affairs for a common goal: the victory of Ukraine. IT companies recognize the complexity of operating in wartime situations, which has led many companies to unite and help each other.
In less than a month after the war started, we created five fully operational social, humanitarian and medical chatbots, as well as an informational website explaining the war in Ukraine to the international community.
Our co-founder and strategy board member Andriy Sabanskiy has united professionals and companies from Ukraine and the US to work with local, national, governmental and international professional medical organizations to provide information and training to the military.
More than a thousand military professionals have already passed the training. The app, TacticMedAid, has been downloaded by more than 43,000 users from iOS/Android stores. Our Telegram chatbot of the same name is actively used by the military and civilian population to learn about tactical medicine.
It is believed that demand for IT will remain high and that the IT sector itself could become the new engine of the economy. The situation depends entirely on how long this war will last and how it will end. Despite the level of support for Ukraine, companies are very reluctant to take risks and operate in unpredictable circumstances.
How can I help you?
Unfortunately, due to the fragility of the market, many IT companies have lost customers at a time when they need support more than ever. You can help!
If you have a new project and are looking for opportunities to implement it, work with Ukrainian companies. You will get quality work at a reasonable deadline and you will also help the Ukrainian economy.