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BCS: Ukraine's IT industry is open for business

Images of bombed streets belie the fact that consultancies are still operating and need income

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, has called upon organizations to give Ukraine's tech consultancies serious consideration when tendering for contracts.

Tech in the Russia-invaded country is back to near-normal levels of efficiency, according to BCS and the IT Ukraine Association.

Particular praise was lavished on Starlink terminals, although the units were described as "a reserve alternative for network connections." Konstantin Vasyuk, executive director of the IT Ukraine Association, added: "It helps for the regions which temporarily have problems with internet connection."

Large tech companies that have subsidiaries or R&D centers in the country include Samsung (R&D), Microsoft, Amazon's Ring (R&D), Snap, Boeing, and Google.

Ukraine's IT industry was popular with outsourcers in the years before the conflict. According to reports, IT services represented the second biggest export from the country, raking in billions of dollars.

This abruptly changed when Russia invaded, although Vasyuk told the BCS: "We have been in the state of war with Russia since 2014." That said, the scale of aggression has taken both customers and suppliers by surprise.

"Business continuity planning has been tested to another level," said the BCS.

With a good many Western organisations now turning up their noses at working with Russian tech consultancies and much of Ukraine "open for business," the country is keen to keep those outsourcing dollars rolling in.

IT Ukraine has put out some impressive figures, and claimed the industry is running at "90 percent" efficiency. "You see these awful pictures of destroyed buildings," said Vasyuk, "but we have managed to save our business and our tech industry."

"We are not asking for donations, we're asking for a bit more business trust in Ukraine IT."

For its part, BCS had waived membership fees for Ukranian IT specialists, including use of office space at its London site.

A site visit to Ukraine presents, as Vasyuk put it, "some issues." But if the last two years has taught industry anything, it's how to get by with video-conferencing. The BCS chat with IT Ukraine was conducted using Teams. IT Ukraine is also working with the government to seek procedures for business trips to the country.

Vasyuk was a little more coy about cybersecurity, noting: "The claim that Russia's cyber army is one of the world's strongest is another myth which we have disproved again and again." He did not, however, elaborate. "I can't go into details about the matter, until after the war ends."

It's a relatively safe bet that the country's IT professionals have had their mettle tested in the cybersecurity field.

While posting the flag of Ukraine on social media is all well and good, the involvement of BCS is a reminder that there are plenty of other ways organisations can support the region. Particularly considering that contracting with tech consultancies in Russia may no longer be an option.

Rob Deri, chief executive at BCS, said of the association's counterparts in Ukraine: "Continuing to work with them on IT projects – as well as offering them new contracts – will help them rebuild their economy and ultimately people's lives which have been so negatively affected by the war." ®

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