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Meet Michael Nikitin – Using the Pandemic to Drive Innovation

Today we have selected Michael Nikitin to take his interviewHe is the Founder & CEO Of Itirra.

First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?

The pandemic had an impact on all of us in one way or another. It changed the way we live and businesses operate. Our team was not an exception. Nearly everyone on our satellite team in Ukraine got infected. Having that experience, as soon as the vaccine became available in Seattle, we made it a priority to get everyone vaccinated.

As for me, I have always preferred to hold in-person meetings with our team, clients, and prospects. With everything going online, I had to adjust to online-only meetings using video communication platforms such as Google meet or Zoom.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?

The idea of helping people is the foundation of my whole career. I’ve spent over a decade in consulting helping startups, fortune 500 companies, and government agencies.

My current path is centered around work with individual entrepreneurs and decision-makers to help them scale their businesses or ideas by utilizing smart technologies. For me, it is never just about the technology itself but about making a difference and supporting the visions of companies we work with.

How does your company innovate?

Ittira’s focus is on business innovation. We stay on top of the latest trends and cutting-edge technologies but prefer to follow trusted partners. We adopt industry-wide solutions by Amazon AWS, Google GCP, Microsoft Azure to fit the needs of our clients.

A significant number of our clients are regulated industries. To provide the best solution for them, we must be familiar with and abide by regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA. When it comes to these regulations, we are trailblazers because we apply cutting-edge APIs for serverless computing and machine learning solutions. This is a major innovatory undertaking as we embrace new security approaches like zero-trust frameworks.

How does the Coronavirus pandemic affect your business, and how are you coping?

I clearly remember the day Washington State confirmed the first COVID-19 case in the US. The virus was shortly also found in a Life Care Center nursing home in Kirkland, which unfortunately soon became one of the epicenters of the virus in the area. The EvergreenHealth hospital nearby quickly saw the number of patients rise.

As a resident and co-founder of another health tech startup in Kirkland called AIDA that was helping the Evergreen hospital and Life Care Center, I was shocked to see our clients at the center of the fight against COVID. If not for the fantastic diligence and dedication of local health care professionals, for which I am very grateful, the situation would have been much worse. I believe it is in everyone’s power to do their best to get us through these exceptional times.

For me, an entrepreneur with years of experience in the healthcare industry, that meant helping local companies optimize their processes as much as possible through digital transformation.

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

The Healthcare sector was hit hard by the pandemic, and since most of our clients are in the healthcare industry, 2020 forced us to work twice as hard to make sure we help wherever we can to ease the burden for health care professionals.

With a rapid increase in the virus-driven patient flow, systems that were in place in most healthcare facilities simply couldn’t adapt quickly enough. Hospitals had to take care of COVID patients, leaving people with pre-existing conditions and many others unattended. Surgeries and non-critical doctor appointments were often canceled. And as the pandemic got worse, the situation in hospitals continued to deteriorate.

During the worst of the epidemic, we converted our office into an isolation facility for the team members who had elderly people at home and did not want to risk them getting sick. That was a very difficult time for our business financially as we completely stopped all operations and lost 100% of the revenue. Tremendous support and help from each team member made us stronger and more prepared, both mentally and professionally, to back each other up in times of crisis.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

Since 2008, Itirra has relied on its offices on two continents to deliver innovative solutions. Our team is used to managing all operations online and dealing with time differences. As the workload began to skyrocket and people were getting sick, we had to make a few adjustments. We started using more communication tools and moved everyone to Slack to improve and speed up management and keep those who work from home up to date with everything that happens in our offices.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

There are countless software development companies out there, but we decided to focus our attention on a single bigger fish, a tech solutions firm called Akvelon. By setting a difficult but achievable target, we work harder to grow. Our key goal is to be small enough to continue interacting with every client personally while being big enough to get jobs done to the highest standard possible.

Your Final Thoughts

2020 was a year that once more proved to me that our team, no matter the circumstances, is deeply engaged in each and every project. At Itirra, we truly love what we do. Every team member is proud to build unique and innovative solutions for our clients, which in turn help tens of millions of people.

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