IT Leadership

One hundred days of solitude

June 2, 2022

Unlike new governments and CEOs, we did not have a 100-day plan for what to do when the illegal Russian war of aggression started on the 24th of February 2022. However, we travelled many routes with varying challenges, so to frame our story, we have borrowed from the title of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ critically acclaimed novel.

If anybody had told us 100 days ago that even with 80% of our team operating in Ukraine during wartime, we would still balance business on the positive side of profitability and increase our team size, then we would not have believed them. But this is where we are and this is why we want to share some of our lessons learnt.

The plan that was

As an ISO certified business, we operate with a detailed disaster recovery plan, which we had updated with external help to also consider “warlike conditions” as we called it. We were already used to “working remotely” because of covid, so a large part of the update was to define how we continued to communicate with our customers and within defined autonomous groups aiming to help ensure each other’s safety.

From our Revolution of Dignity and Covid experience, we knew that if the organization took care of its people, then the people would take care of the business. We had also checked that with over 2000 ISP providers in Ukraine, the internet might be distributed enough to function for some time. We had also decided that our CEO, placed in Denmark outside of Ukraine, would become our communication hub – in case other established ways of communication were unavailable in Ukraine, Christian Holst-Jensen became the go-to guy for everything.

This was essentially our survival plan – if we could keep our infrastructure stable and our communication lines open, then we knew that we would have the opportunity to make additional plans with our customers and teams as the situation evolved.

We believe that the best way for us to help Ukraine is to grow our activities in Ukraine – now and in the future.

The plan that came back

The first 30 days were like organized chaos keeping track of the team as it migrated to safer grounds in Western Ukraine and established themselves with decent internet connections.

We had to develop new guidelines for a variety of topics that many businesses will never encounter; do we want people together or distributed within Ukraine, do we pay salary for people serving in the armed forces, how do we move people at risk, how do we support people in need, etc. The list seemed never ending.

During that period, the ethics and morals of the team combined with the outstanding support of our customers carried us through. It was combined with an infrastructure that worked and communications channels that were more active than ever, but it seemed as if almost everybody just found how best to contribute and move forward. So, the trust that we had with every one of us doing our part and securing their “battle zones” was confirmed.

The process of how we got there is still a little unclear and coated in stress, but by early April we were back to implementing our original business plan for the year – well, at least we were back to implementing the strategic initiatives we had defined six months earlier. This includes building a new website, launching multiple products in Microsoft AppSource and establishing our first EU development hub in Bucharest.

The plan that has yet to pass

As we write this, the war is still ongoing, we have team members serving in the armed forces, families that are separated, and homes that need to be rebuilt. Also, the aggression against Ukraine and its economy has meant that the IT sector has replaced agriculture and metallurgy as the largest export earner for Ukraine. The pressure on the IT industry, us as an organization, and the team to support the Ukrainian economy is steadily growing.

In line with this, our team is gradually moving back to Kyiv to work. We have started a new business application academy to grow our channel and to provide income opportunities for new developers. We continue to build solutions and products that enable us to learn and grow as an organization as well as individuals. Most importantly, we continue to execute our plan and we continue to grow our business in Ukraine and further afield.

As an organization we believe that the best way for us to help Ukraine is to grow our activities in Ukraine, enabling our team members to support the local economy. We plan to accelerate these efforts whenever we can, and we hope that you will take the opportunity to work with us for this purpose. At least, this way we do not need to do it in solitude.

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