Entrepreneurship and export development agency “Enterprise Lithuania” indicates that due to COVID-19 pandemic Lithuanian exports of services could shrink by 10 to 25 percent. Technology and communications sector is listed among the most affected. However, leading Lithuanian technology companies are displaying crisis immunity – retaining the order volume and tackling the downturn in close cooperation.
“In the first week of quarantine we initiated calls with all our clients – none of them were planning changes to previous orders. On the contrary, during the pandemic the importance of IT systems only grew in importance in their operations. Our clients are very geographically dispersed. Therefore – even if the crisis affects us – the effect will be minimal” – said CEO of technology company Agmis Saulius Kaukenas.
Saulius Kaukenas, CEO of Agmis
Service exports constitute approx. 80% of Agmis sales revenue. The main company export markets include USA, Germany, Switzerland, France and Republic of South Africa. Agmis provides services to manufacturers of medical equipment, courier and logistics service companies, security service providers and largest global IT enterprises. According to Mr Kaukenas, although we are facing a global economic downturn, Agmis client geography and distribution among different business verticals allows the company to minimize business risks.
“Even in the wake of a downturn we are looking for 10 new employees. Plus we are contracting extra specialists from other IT companies who became available after cancelation of their projects” – noted Mr Kaukenas. Agmis is currently hiring 6 programmers, a project manager, additional data and business analysts.
Agmis is one of the founding members of ELIT technology cluster. The cluster was established in 2011 to make Lithuanian companies more competitive in the global IT services market. During the crisis cluster serves as the backbone for cooperation and mutual support – member companies aid each other in business development and business continuity, as well as share spare workforce capacities.
“These measures helped us to tackle the 2008 financial crisis. Cooperation in place of competition will help us to weather the crisis and come out stronger” – said Mr Kaukenas.
According to Mr Kaukenas, cool-headedness and sound strategic decisions made in the wake of crisis will support the business in the long term. His opinion is shared by CEO of iTo – another founding member of ELIT cluster – Paulius Lazauskas.
Paulius Lazauskas, CEO of iTo
“In iTo we have already undertaken critical scenario analysis and business contingency plans. Currently we are practicing ‘business as usual’ and – as always – are in close communication with our clients about their situation, their cash flow, orders and work scope. Our priorities have not changed – we are taking care of iTo employee team and ensuring work continuity in client projects” – said Mr Lazauskas.
iTo consults organizations on digital business transformation, develops and adapts mobile technology solutions. The company is one of the largest service providers in Lithuania in its sector.
As the crisis unfolds IT companies indicate a shift in technological business priorities. Among them – an increase in e-commerce platform development.
“For most retailers e-commerce was not the primary business channel. This changed in a fortnight, as e-commerce became the sole source to ensure business continuity” – said CEO of e-commerce platform development company Adeo Web Paulius Nagys. The company serves leading e-commerce retailers in Lithuania. Other company markets include USA, Nordic and Baltic countries.
Paulius Nagys, CEO of Adeo Web
According to Mr Nagys, pharmacies and grocery retailers were the first to react to the shift. The situation also opened up new avenues for businesses – for instance, product delivery services in the country’s regions.
Businesses are also struggling to adapt to remote working conditions. According to Mr Kaukenas, remote work poses the biggest challenge to medium sized locally financed enterprises which were slow to embrace cloud computing services.
“Many companies were faced with remote work in these shock conditions. However, the number of remote work places will only increase in the future. It is essential to deploy future-proof tools for remote team communication, remote management of client relationship management centers and management of field-force employees” – adds Mr Kaukenas. To aid businesses Agmis already launched a webinar series on remote workplace management solutions.