Source: Baltic Business Quarterly | Special Edition 2020
When the Covid-19 crisis hit the world, it became more evident, that the need of cloud services, remote work options and different IT solutions is more important than ever before. Nowadays, everything what we do, our learning, working and so much more can be done from the comfort of our homes, and not only in specially designated places. But to make this possible, there is much work involved. Therefore, we asked Donatas Zaveckas, the CEO of AHK member BTT Cloud, to share his insights.
The first thing we would like to ask is how does your company feel about these changes and what are your inner feelings about these changes inside your company made by the impact of COVID 19? How is your company dealing with the new situation, how does it affect the turnover, your employees?
During the first week of quarantine, the number of requests to our service doubled. Technicians had to deal with many issues related to telecommuting (work from home). Also issues with safe VPN access, application, additional load in our cloud, network issues and of course security. We know how to do that, so we helped with pleasure. 90 percent of our employees working from home, it was already in the company culture. So, all situation went smoothly.
We feel the impact of COVID 19. Our clients include all major Lithuanian hotels, transportation companies, aviation business leaders who are currently going through a very difficult period. There are also some major tour operators. On partnership basic, we were looking for solutions to help them in this difficult time.
We are a constantly growing (30% per year) managed services company. We are financially disciplined, we have also-called “pillow“ and I believe that the whole team will be able to withstand this crisis.
For us, this is a time of opportunity. Because the digital transformation is happening much faster than we could have imagined.
What is your strategy to tackle these obstacles (change of market strategy, digitalization, etc.)?
Now, I focus on my team. So that even when working from home, they would feel the team spirit, would be disciplined, and would achieve our goals, even during the quarantine. We have more work and more opportunities. Customers need reliable IT service providers. Therefore, well-processed inquiries and assistance to customers is our priority.
We have not changed our strategy yet; we work exclusively with business clients. It may be possible to maintain the planned growth. But on the other hand, it is also a good time to review our internal processes, prepare for the new certification phase, implement new tools that will allow us to provide better services. Also, its huge demand on the training side, so we will allocate our resources for it, it will help our clients to utilize their application properly. And keep strong, maybe survive in this situation.
Would you say that this is a chance for your company or a huge challenge?
Even one month ago it was difficult to imagine what is happening now. Even I saw the “Contagion” movie 8 years ago, the reality is more challenging than you can imagine. Its challenge for everyone: the government should control the situation, business and employees get new ways of cooperation.
For us, as IT company is more challenge, we should be ready for the new rules of the game, but innovation, flexibility, and devotion are in our company DNA. So, we work hard and go step by step forward.
This is, unequivocally, an opportunity for the IT sector. As I already mentioned, now everyone needs high-quality IT services. If in the past some customers needed additional arguments about IT ROI, now there is no need to explain anything.
What are the biggest problems you have faced coming from your clients and what others should take into consideration?
Payment delays. But I would not call it a problem. Partners must help each other. The most important thing is to talk openly. I think a lot of things await. Some businesses will not survive. We must act responsibly. Do not stop payments with suppliers, with employees. Because now the economy is based on mutual trust. We cannot become "obstacles". Because a small pebble rolling down a hill can cause a major collapse that will be of no use to everyone. “Trust”, this word will have even more deeply meaning now.
What are the biggest challenges in your field now as we know that more and more people are going to work from home and most Companies work with confidential information?
Security is still topic No1 in our service line: Main data is still sitting in the cloud, we are preparing for this day X for 13 years, now it is bringing back the results. On the client-side, most of our customers use Microsoft software that is balanced both works in the office and at home. Teams make it easy to organize meetings, SharePoint is a secure way to share documents, edit them, etc. In the first days of quarantine, we had to spend some time educating our customers, because not everyone using the software before the crisis.
We should not forget our client’s internal procedures and IT company's educational level; this is the most important staff from the management side.
What is the biggest challenge from the side of Cybersecurity?
The National Cyber Security Center also warned about this. Malicious people, under the name of the World Health Organization, send emails with malicious software, distribute fake websites, and new social engineering methods attempt to encourage the user to install malicious software and extract confidential information.
Its enormous phishing attempts on social media, also local banking eCommerce facing new security issues.
We apply a lot of protection methods. All software needs to be updated. Devices and information on the demand must be encrypted. Using a VPN, we configure a secure connection to resources in the office. Still, Employee education is the most important thing.
What industries are right now the least prepared for working remotely what is your viewpoint of the current situation and the reasons why it is like that?
The technology was ready to work remotely at least 5 years ago, it still was problems in our management heads, they have a lot of different explanations: resources, security, the trust of employees.
This Crisis will add some pluses as well - future working culture, education system, the most important thing – it will change management ways if not 180 degrees at least 90.
Could you say something motivational for other entrepreneurs in these trying times?
Masks fall during the crisis. We can see who is. I wake up every morning with a question: How can I help; how can I be useful? To my customers, my partners, my employees. That way, every day I grow up as a person myself. The crisis will pass, and we can get out of it being better persons. Humanity and compassion are the foundation for personal and business success.
The BTT Cloud was established 13 years ago. The company provides Cloud and IT maintenance services to customers in Lithuania and around the world. BTT Cloud has implemented over 2000 complex IT solutions and maintain more than 6000 workplaces. They work with all 5 * hotels in Lithuania, large factories throughout Europe. They are one of the first managed Cloud service providers in Lithuania. Donatas Zaveckas rules this company for more than 8 years.
More about AHK: https://www.ahk-balt.org/