The Ukrainian economy has seen reductions of over 30% following the February 2022 invasion by Russia. Perhaps predictably, the country’s IT sector has surged in importance -- with a mobile workforce and infrastructure, the industry was prepared for the guerrilla lifestyle necessitated by wartime. Ukrainian IT companies have put their new operating procedures -- tempered in the fires of the pandemic -- to the test. At least by their own account, they have emerged triumphant.
While a significant portion of the IT workforce has gone abroad, many continue their work with their Ukrainian employers and express a desire to return to the country once conditions are more stable. And those who have remained in Ukraine have adapted their work life to accommodate constant disruption by Russian attacks -- and sometimes relocation to safer locales.
See also: Ukraine Fallout: Connectivity and Cloud Services Access in Flux
Data recently compiled by Lviv IT Cluster (for the western region of Ukraine) and IT Ukraine Association shows growth in the tech sector and suggests further reasons for optimism in the coming year. Sviatoslav Kavetskyi, Lviv IT Cluster’s new chairman of the supervisory board, shares insights with InformationWeek about how Ukraine’s IT professionals have met the challenges of the past year.
Mobile Operations & Hybrid Work
Many of Ukraine’s main commodities have been impacted by the war. Agricultural products have been commandeered by Russian troops and export is difficult due to the closing of ports. Manufacturers have wrangled with energy shortages and a paucity of raw materials.
The IT industry is stepping into the breach. The agile, remote structure refined during the pandemic has served Ukrainian IT companies well as they operate using a hybrid workforce -- some employees live abroad, some are on the move due to Russian attacks, and others serve in the military.
Unlike traditional industries, many IT jobs are service-oriented. “All you need is a computer, Internet, and electricity. You can literally work from anywhere,” Kavetskyi says.
Both companies and individuals have engaged in a sustained process of business continuity planning. Now, most organizations have it down to a science. “They have power generators in their offices and Starlinks,” Kavetskyi claims.
He emphasizes the power of knowledge sharing: “The IT clusters helped small and medium-sized companies implement basic continuity plans. Everyone working in this industry had a chance to see what others were doing.”
“Of course, there was data that couldn't be shared,” he adds. “But in general, big companies were willing to [share their strategies]. Mainly, we had to find time to organize those meetings, considering the logistical challenges.”
According to Lviv IT Cluster’s findings, some 85% of IT companies are now mostly or fully operational.
Read the rest of this article on InformationWeek.