We talked to Anna Karmazina and Sergiy Shcherbanenko of Sannacode, a web and mobile app development company that helps to turn a customer’s idea into a successful end-to-end product. Here is what they said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Sergiy Shcherbanenko: Thanks, we are good and wishing everybody great health. It seemed like we had Covid in November, but in a light form. We had a few similar symptoms though tests were shown negative results. But at all – we never had a panic about it, always trying to immunize, go the sunny countries, and before the situation in Ukraine about Covid became hard this spring, we flew to Miami to rescue from this disaster.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Sannacode.
Anna Karmazina: Both of us started our IT careers in international corporations with zero commercial experience. Worked very hard to grow pretty fast to get the ability to work with such well-known big Clients like Avid, Telcordia/Ericsson, etc… We gained the best experience and expertise working with that companies, at the same time, we gave them all of our best cooperative, creative and hard-working attitude. So, always pointing only to win-win cooperation.
Then in 2013, with Sergiy, we decided together to establish our own IT services company with the brightest and the best Client service and internal culture, which we saw as the best global companies, so, we own our Sannacode company for the 8th year.
How does Sannacode innovate?
Sergiy Shcherbanenko: We always track/follow trends on the market in everything (attending global conferences off- and online, always learning): technologies, new standards, new lines of business code, processes, deep tech stuff… We love challenges, love improvements, love to be in a move, and everything new. We are, and our teams are very proactive and open-minded.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Anna Karmazina: We are working totally online; everybody is working remotely. Before the corona, all our teams worked in the office, and for many of our specialists, it was hard to switch to remote work. Some of the guys even switched the company to which worked in the office after the first lockdown, just because they were unproductive in the remote setup. But now our teams consist of all the specialists who normally work remotely.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Sergiy Shcherbanenko: Sure. Every business is almost every day – some choices and lessons for founders who are operating it. Sometimes very difficult choices and hard lessons. Even when we decided to start our own business and stay in Ukraine for that instead of going to the USA where we were invited for relocation to work at well-known corporations, that was itself a challenging choice with lessons learning.
You know, always the most hard choices are business case/win or personal. We tried differently and concluded that in business, first of all, business values should be upper though can be some exceptions and of course the best is a smart balance.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Anna Karmazina: We are using our own custom Internal Management System and really more stand-up meetings via google meets, zoom…etc, for each project and our ‘global gatherings.’
We even practiced for some period ‘live virtual officing’ – just all the teams once a week goes by the same link into the meeting room (google meets) with switched on the camera and switched off mic for 4 hours and do their job in front of the camera. Any time anybody is able to turn on the mic and ask/tell anybody what he/she needs. And we started these virtual offices from small talks usually, with tea, home pets, or kids showing it was really interesting and helped many specialists to adopt.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Sergiy Shcherbanenko: Oh, this market – of IT services – is huge, with a huge number of competitors internationally. Expertize in verticals, deep technical background, knowledge of our teams, and great Client service help us. Our Clients recommend us to their friends and friends of friends, and this is the most valuable marketing for us and what gives us life.
Your final thoughts?
Anna Karmazina: If you live your company, every day and every minute, you’ll get the profits, survive and grow. We face a lot of difficulties in our business every day, but no job teaches better and faster than own a business, especially an intellectual one where every day you should learn and improve; otherwise, you die.
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