Mykhailo Shelemba, CEO of Datagroup.
Datagroup is a key player in the Ukrainian telecom market. The company is a leader in data transmission, international traffic transit, and satellite communications. Datagroup is a leader on the telecommunications market for large businesses: 93% of the country’s banks are serviced by Datagroup. It provides Internet access, telephony, television and video surveillance services as well as cloud and a range of cybersecurity services called DataProtect. The company’s information security management meets the highest international standards (certified by the ISO 27001:2013). About 1,900 employees in more than 40 offices throughout Ukraine work at Datagroup.
Safety of employees and clients is our top priority
Immediately after the national quarantine was introduced, the company switched to a special working time/work schedule.
“This year, Ukrainian business just along with the whole country, has faced a new challenge − the COVID-19 pandemic. Under such cirsumstances, companies should be more flexible than ever and respond to all external changes instantaneously. During the first two days of the national quarantine, 43% of employees shifted to remote working and continued to work effectively as we are part of the country’s critical infrastructure.”
All necessary arrangements were made for certain categories of employees to work from home, part-time, or on flexible schedule. Employees over the age of 60 were eligible to take paid leave or had opportunities to work from home. For the employees who continue to work full-time, we bought masks and antiseptics, organized transportto work.
“Additionally, all the company’s offices received antiseptics and informational and methodological materials, memos and infographics. Datagroup regularly informs its employees about the recommendations of the WHO and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine on the latest measures for the prevention of coronavirus. Datagroup ensured getting full support of its employees in case of COVID-19 infection from the insurance company.”
Datagroup network connection operations and other service processes are fully operating: the company promptly responds to all requests and makes its best to provide users with quality communication services. Technicians use masks, boot covers, and other personal protective equipment when conducting individual work. Сonnection of subscribers and troubleshooting visits are perfomed as usual.
The company customer service employees temporarily work from home. Datagroup does not receive visitors in its customer service centers across the country during the quarantine. At the same time, our clients are provided with services as usual; all services are provided as before on a regular basis. The company’s contact center continues its operation.
Clients and business
During the quarantine, total traffic in retail has increased by 25% by mid-March and remained stable at this level. There were a lot of inquiries from clients to arrange their remote work places, to help with hardware, software setup, etc. – everything related to work from home. The number of requests for new connections from individuals increased by 32% (compared to March-April 2019 during the same period in 2020). Quality service and high-speed Internet have become the main advantages for customers working from home. Daily Internet usage time has also changed: if earlier the peak hour volume has been recorded in the evening, during the quarantine, the usage has also increased during the day. Thus, the usageschedule has leveled off. Datagroup subscribers-individuals increased their consumption mainly because of watching interactive television. The number of the satellite Internet subscribers has increased. This type of communication has a 100% nationwide coverage and provides communication in any area – even without wired communication. This service became very important in quarantine.
The database of B2B clients remained unchaged. Although some large corporate clients have temporarily reduced the volume of services due to quarantine, the demand for expanding data and Internet channels has increased. This happened because companies want their employees to acquire remote access.
“The share of SMB in our business portfolio is quite high. We have more than 20,000 SMB clients across the country. As a telecom operator, we have the possibility to monitor business activity indicators of our customers in real time − total traffic volume, number of calls and calls duration, working hours, and so on. After having reviewed the data, we have seen that some customers were forced to suspend the consumption of telecom services and significantly reduced their business activity since early April. Thus, we understand that half of the small and medium-sized enterprises face a significant risk of not resuming their operations after quarantine. That’s why we created RAZOM project to support small and medium-sized businesses.”
Under RAZOM project, Datagroup has launched an online platform where one can find a list of companies and offers from local entrepreneurs that operate despite quarantine. The main goal of the project is to increase the number of orders from small and medium-sized businesses. Currently, RAZOM project covers 15 cities: Kyiv, Rivne, Zaporizhia, Dnipro, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Kremenchuk, Vinnytsia, Odesa, Kharkiv, Kryvyi Rih, Lutsk, Khmelnytskyi, Nikopol, Nizhyn. The website razom.today has been launched providing all Ukrainian entrepreneurs with an opportunity to be seen and promoted. Datagroup business clients were the first to sign in on RAZOM website.
“The crisis is a challenge and a test of an ability to change, find new opportunities and become stronger. The telecommunications market will definitely see good options for acquiring new operators as well as mergers and acquisitions. This is a good time for us to grow our business. However, to take full advantage of the crisis, we should always be at our best. Therefore, responding to the crisis for us is, above all, a matter of facing up joint preparation to the new economic realities and new opportunities for our growth”.