A year since the Russian invasion
The long-running conflict between Russia and Ukraine significantly deteriorated on 24 February 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine. For Itera, people’s safety has remained the top priority throughout this ongoing crisis, and our Business Continuity Plan (BCP) included several measures we could implement quickly if the situation required it.
The morning of the invasion, a crisis management team was convened to obtain an overview of the location and well-being of all our employees and their families. As soon as their safety was confirmed, we could secure operations and support employees who wanted to relocate.
Itera is a tight community with strong bonds between colleagues across borders. Now is a moment when those bonds feel particularly close and have sparked personal engagement and compassion. Itera colleagues in countries outside Ukraine were asked to register personal opportunities to accommodate colleagues in their houses, apartments, cottages, or any other housing opportunities. The response was overwhelming.
In an almost unimaginable situation, the focus of our Ukrainian employees was to resume customer deliveries as soon as safety was secured. We admire our colleagues, who have shown incredible strength and willingness to do everything necessary to return to normal operations and everyday life as soon as possible. We are relieved and grateful that we have not experienced severe injuries or deaths.
1. People First
When the invasion started, a task force of 40 managers and key delivery personnel gathered daily to update the status of all employees’ current location, well-being, availability and to what extent it is possible to resume customer work. The managers had a precise overview of all employees and reported the status to the international Itera crisis management team daily.
Itera offered financial support for relocation to all employees. After the first week, most of the employees in Kyiv were out of the capital, safe and in place at other locations. Several families were received at the Itera office in Bratislava.
After the invasion started, we had weekly checkup calls to get feedback on our people's needs, personal experiences and whereabouts, and we would share urgent updates and company news.
As the situation stabilised in the Kyiv area, some colleagues travelled back to their residents and relatives on day trips, and eventually returned to live.
Late November, Russian troops targeted civilian energy infrastructure in Ukraine. Most of the energy infrastructure was repaired within hours or the next day, but caused supply limitations in many cities and areas.
The offices in Kyiv and Lviv were still operating in a stable environment, including lunch and dinner restaurants in the office complex. We also opened our doors for families and friends to spend time there, 24/7 if needed, for a warm shower, dinner, or just be together.
After the invasion, Ukrainian employees developed the «Itera Together» app, where people can regularly report to their managers their general well-being, safety, and whether they are available to work as planned.
The latest data collected via the Together App shows that 100% of our employees are safe and can continue their work. About 82% of people are in Ukraine, mostly Kyiv and the Western part. About 18% relocated to other countries, including Itera locations such as Slovakia, Norway, The Czech Republic, and Poland.
2. Customer Deliveries
After securing our employees' safety, they quickly signalled that it was important for them to resume normal operations in customer engagements.
Being able to deliver was comforting to them in everyday life which had dramatically changed. Our Business Continuity Plans documented solid procedures and routines to ensure normal operations, provided that our employees were safe.
Despite the situation, most of our employees were ready to continue the delivery of services from Monday 28th February. In the case of a lack of resources in the Ukrainian teams, we added capacity from our other locations in Norway, Denmark, and Slovakia. Eventually also from our new offices in the Czech Republic and Poland.
– Just after the first quarter, I visited our employees in our office in Lviv and went by car to see our people in our Kyiv office. For me, it was very important to look at and feel the atmosphere in Ukraine. I also met with Ukraine’s Deputy Ministry of Digital Transformation to discuss the best way for Itera to stand with Ukraine.
CEO of Itera
Transparency and security
During the first weeks of the invasion, customers were contacted personally by their delivery managers and customer responsible on a regular basis. We also published openly on itera.com all updates on how we handled the situation.
The employees' ability to rapidly mobilise and use technology to solve challenges has been crucial for re-establishing normal capacity at such speed. We made available technology solutions that allow secure login from private laptops, which was helpful for employees who had relocated without bringing the company's technical equipment. No customer data is stored in Ukraine, and our staff can work from anywhere when internet access is available.
We have been in close and continuous contact with our customers, and we have experienced strong and united support for the situation Itera, the country of Ukraine and our colleagues are in. Several of Itera’s customers opened for substantial extensions of cooperation, which was heartwarming and admirable. We want to thank you for standing with us and for your long-term commitment to our cooperation.
There will be a time after this, and we are committed to exiting this crisis strengthened and with even higher ambitions. Itera’s slogan is “Make a Difference”. Never have these three words had a stronger meaning.
In addition to securing our own employees, Itera has also offered support and engaged in supporting other organizations and individuals in Ukraine to get people into safety. In addition, several of Itera’s customers opened for substantial extensions of cooperation during this crisis, in order to contribute to the Ukrainan economy.
Itera Invincibility Center
Our office in Kyiv is our own Itera invincibility center, which allows employees to work in a safe and stable work environment. Today our office is crowded and noisy, almost like in pre-war times. We want everyone to be able to work and support Ukraine today, so our office is open to all employees and their relatives.
- We equipped the office with a generator for backup power.
- Arranged uninterrupted network access points and additionally installed Starlinks for a backup channel.
- Equipped the office with additional charging stations.
- Made stocks of drinking water, snacks, and long-term storage food.
- We have arranged our "heating station" – a separate space, where our colleagues can stay overnight if necessary. In the event of long-term power outages, our office will serve as a temporary shelter for the team and their families.
- For employees who are unable to work from the office, we offered compensation for the costs of purchasing charging stations, power banks, generators and Starlink to ensure they are able to work 40 hours/week and stay connected.
- And unshakable rule for all employees is to follow to the shelter during an air raid. Even from the shelter, our specialists continue coding and fulfill their obligations before customers. Ukrainian IT specialists are truly irresistible and unbreakable!