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Meet Vadym Zotov – How can support save your business from the crisis?

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

Could you imagine a facemask being a part of your outfit a couple of years ago? Global warming, economic crisis, clashes… We were ready for almost anything except pandemics.

Devox Software is an IT outsourcing company so we suffered less than the entertainment industry, for example. Our developers are used to remote work and communication via video calls. But still, the shift from office to home was challenging. Although people spend less time commuting, they dedicated more time to adapt to the new work conditions. So, we had to make our processes as simple as possible and support our team.

I guess it was the right decision that helped us not only to stay afloat but also to grow 2 times bigger in 2020.

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

I’m a techie. I studied at Polytechnic Institute and started my career as a software developer. Later I got a promotion and tried a managerial role. I worked in leading IT outsourcing companies in Ukraine with 5000+ employees.

It was a great opportunity to combine my programming and managerial skills. But it was not enough for me and I entered an MBA program in 2017 to get a deeper understanding of how business works. I met lots of interesting people there who inspired me to become an entrepreneur. As a result, Devox Software was set up.

How does your company innovate?

If you want to survive in a modern world, you cannot do without innovations. Especially if you run a software development company and your clients strive for digital transformation.

But I notice that new tech trends are too unstable, they become obsolete in no time. So, our innovations are business processes and approaches that allow us to be flexible and provide high-quality services.

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

The pandemic boosts digital transformation; it made brick-and-mortar businesses go online. Broadly speaking, that’s the service we provide to our clients. So, software development companies are at advantage now.

But at the very beginning of the pandemic, we couldn’t boast about such firm positions. Nobody knew what to expect. Lots of companies had to postpone their coding projects and tighten their budgets.

What helped us to cope with it? Patience, flexibility, and empathy. We hold frequent calls with our clients and tried to support them as much as we could.

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

2020 was the first year when we can’t hold our mentorship program. Usually, we hire 2-4 interns, young and ambitious software developers who get mentored by our CTO and work on real projects.

We kept hiring skilled software engineers but we had to postpone administrative hiring. So, some employees had to combine 2 roles.

We didn’t want to fire people in such difficult times and luckily, we did without a layoff.

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

You can master any tools, but soft skills are what matters the most during hardships. I guess it’s support and friendly communication that helped us to save our clients and get new ones. We always strive to understand the client’s business and use a personal approach in each case.

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

Ukraine is a well-known outsourcing destination, so there are plenty of software development companies we compete with. But we don’t take them as rivals, they inspire and motivate us to develop and improve our skills. Our competitors make our business better.

Your Final Thoughts

Coronavirus pandemic appeared to be a great filter. We revalue our lives during hardships and focus only on important things.

It brought more trust and ethics into business. No longer you need to visit your clients to sign an agreement. Online meetings are more than enough.

The last but not least, no man is an island. We coped with coronacrisis only due to support. There are no B2B or B2C industries, they are all about people who require a humane attitude.

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