The crisis in Ukraine shines a spotlight on the interconnected global village. IT is a worldwide community of people who want to make a difference. We are all concerned for the safety of relatives, friends colleagues and the masses attempting to flee Ukraine.
In Ukraine, data and communications industry engineers have been working from bomb shelters and running out to repair internet cables when bombing stops in Ukraine’s border cities.
Meanwhile sanctions are being imposed on Russia and Russian oligarchs. Many global businesses have stopped selling to Russian customers. The war has an effect on everyone. Was a war on the European continent in the business continuity playbook? How will the supply chain hold up? How are transactions being settled without Swift? What happens to colleagues, customers and the partner ecosystem in Russia?
As reported recently in Computer Weekly the IT Ukraine Association issued a call today for a worldwide boycott of Russian technology suppliers. Several global IT companies are now stopping sales to Russian customers. Many are also donating to support humanitarian efforts to help the Ukrainian people.
It is a complex and fast-moving situation. And, as a number of big brands recently discovered, not acting quick enough has had a profound effect on their share price. But severing ties with Russia is a major undertaking. A number of global IT services firms operate in Russia. Those tech firms who do not have a presence, but continue to sell to Russian customers also face a backlash from others who regard their inactions as being complacent with the atrocities of the Russian army and Vladimir Putin’s regime against the people of Ukraine.
The IT industry has shown it can come together in this time of crisis. A few of the numerous acts of generosity and support across the IT sector include Deutsche Telecoms’ call centre and free SIM cards for Ukrainian refugees and IBM’s Resource Finder Map, which connects Ukrainian IBM staff and contractors fleeing the country with IBM colleagues.
Then there is the direct and indirect support individuals and organisations are offering. The government of Ukraine itself has led on the creation of a volunteer IT army to conduct cyber attacks against Russian targets.
This level of generosity and support offered by individuals and the IT sector as a whole demonstrates our ability to work together to help people in need. We should build on this collaboration. But today, our prayers are with the people of Ukraine.