Valeriy Krasovsky, the CEO and co-founder of Sigma Software, shared with LDaily his thoughts on the possibility of a new format for the IT companies’ activities in extreme quarantine conditions. Companies working in promising segments received a serious impetus for development due to the crisis. They gained investments and new customers. Additionally, the majority of IT companies are now painlessly switching to the remote work format, which has already proven its effectiveness. This trend will continue.
LDaily: What quarantine measures have you taken in the company?
V. Krasovsky: Our specialists switched to remote work since the beginning of quarantine. The company helped with the transportation of equipment and did its best to maintain all internal services at the same level.
Managers and HR managers work with specialists who are not used to remote work and experiencing certain difficulties associated with staying at home together with relatives and children. They help employees formulate the right approach to organizing workdays remotely, using generally accepted methods.
Sigma Software University — the company’s educational platform — has switched all training activities to online.
We are watching the latest global trends. CEOs of the largest companies see the likelihood of reducing their office space since real experience has proven the effectiveness of remote work. Business Insider and other foreign resources cover this topic.
At the same time, we constantly work with customers, communicate the current situation in the country, share what measures the company is taking, try to increase communication through video calls, as face-to-face meetings are temporarily impossible. Noteworthy, potential customers who rarely used video calls before quarantine now use it in 99% of cases. Live communication is very important; it has become especially noticeable now when it is limited. So, we are increasing communication with our teams as well. Managers hold regular meetings with video calling. Everyone at Sigma Software has the necessary equipment for this. People now need support, and the company is doing everything possible to make people feel protected.
LDaily: China, the birthplace of the new pandemic, is the “workshop of the world” in the field of information technology. The epidemic should potentially affect the IT market like no other. How strong will this influence be?
V. Krasovsky: Changes will affect the IT sector in terms of the shortage of certain hardware goods — the world centers for the production of these goods are located in China. However, the country is already gradually recovering from the crisis, so I do not think that this will entail serious consequences.
Overall, everything is much more global. There are new trends in the world. Some kinds of businesses — passenger transportation, travel agencies, offline trading, and others — experience the most serious difficulties. However, others are fast-developing — online stores, any online services, telecom, logistics, cybersecurity, fintech, cloud, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals…
Additionally, many companies are now transitioning to cost-cutting mode. The consequences of this process are already visible. Still, we will probably witness its peak at the end of the year. What does it mean? Firstly, companies suspend part of the projects and refuse to work with contractors. Secondly, they are cutting their staff. As a result, unemployment begins to break all records (for example, in the USA, its level has already become unprecedentedly high over the past 100 years). As for the Ukrainian IT industry, the competition with in-house specialists will increase very much, as the EU and the USA are primarily interested in hiring own citizens and protecting their markets.
LDaily: Slowdown of the global economy due to coronavirus has already begun. It will negatively affect investments in IT. How do you plan to attract investors at this difficult time?
V. Krasovsky: Valuation of many companies has dropped significantly in connection due to recent events. Consequently, investments have slowed down. At the same time, companies continue investing in everything connected to combating COVID-19. They heavily invest in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, and other general spheres related to data processing. It is now especially important. The investments in Augmented and Virtual Reality are also increasing. These technologies give us more opportunities for remote communication and entertainment.
LDaily: Many IT companies are suspending projects. Have you come across this?
V. Krasovsky: Yes, as I said above, these are mainly companies which business has suffered most from the crisis. Nevertheless, there are those who, on the contrary, grow teams and projects. Much depends on the business domain companies are working in.
During the current crisis, we have come across one interesting fact. Everyone always prefers to work with the Enterprise segment, as these companies are more stable and predictable. Today, everything turned upside down: many large companies — especially those that worked in the industries most affected by the crisis — seek to receive help from the state. They make many concessions and fulfill numerous conditions, including serious staff cuts, termination of work with contractors, reduction of investments in certain areas. Small companies that do not rely on government assistance have experienced fewer consequences of difficult months.
LDaily: Has the demand for teleworking projects or medical programs increased?
V. Krasovsky: Yes, it has and will grow further, as I have already mentioned above. I also want to note that investments in e-learning and distance learning are growing at a tremendous pace. Companies working in promising segments received a serious impetus for development, investment, and new customers due to the crisis.