Covid-19, we also conquered

Author: Alica Bandžáková

The Covid crisis hit the whole world. Everything slowed down and stopped for a while. I asked our boss, Ing. Martin Hrnko, MBA, how he managed this crisis and what he thought about it.

Did the Covid crisis affect your business in any way?

Yes, she hit. I run a business in the field of information technology, and the Covid pandemic has affected this world in several ways. The positive aspect was that we were able to try out online communication methods while working from home, which surprisingly turned out to be a functional model. But, of course, its negative limitations were also revealed, such as the lack of personal communication necessary mainly for training new colleagues in the team and also for team creative work. The impact on one of our projects was very unpleasant, however. Almost 30 programmers with specific skills had been working on it for three months after the pandemic broke out. The customer suddenly cancelled the project, and it was over within a month. The reason was that the customer of our customer had been implementing a project in the energy sector for years, where cost-saving measures were suddenly introduced due to Covid, and the end client cancelled the project that hundreds of people had been working on. It had a very negative impact on us.

How did you perceive this impact as an entrepreneur? Do you think things could have turned out differently?

We were not prepared for a pandemic of this scale, although as a country we could have been better prepared. In the past, we have seen epidemics in China, and even now, we believe that the epidemic would not leave that distant region and would not affect us. We were wrong, and everyone had to react to the situation. It is, of course, difficult to be prepared for risks that we do not normally encounter. However, in the future, we will all react better to such situations. Unless an event occurs that we do not anticipate, such as the war in Ukraine.

Did the government adequately help entrepreneurs during the crisis in Slovakia?

The government implemented several measures to help entrepreneurs, with most of them aimed at the gastronomic and accommodation sectors. However, the associated bureaucracy, the amount of assistance, and the usefulness of the aid were significantly complicated. Nevertheless, several measures were successfully introduced that will enable us to face similar crises in the future. The worst aspect of the assistance process for entrepreneurs was the government's mismanaged communication, which inundated us with a lot of irrelevant information every day.

What were the biggest challenges for you in business during Covid?

IT professionals moved to home offices not only in supplier companies like ours but also at customers, which greatly complicated the situation not only in the implementation of agreed projects, but also in acquiring new ones. Customer needs have also changed, some projects have ended, and some new ones have started.

Did Covid-19 bring any new positives?

Yes, we have become accustomed to working from home and the world's dependence on technology has been confirmed.

Covid has brought many changes, such as the introduction of the Home Office in most companies. Do you also use Home Office in this company?

We do use work from home in the company, and currently, it is the most common way we work. However, personal meetings are still important for distributing information, creative work, and building team cohesion. 

In the last two years, there has been a huge development boom in technology. It is predicted that today's children will work in up to 60% of professions that do not yet exist in the future. Could you tell us in which industry or direction future technologies will develop the most?

It is very difficult to predict the future as well as future trends. Trending technologies include artificial intelligence, quantum computers, and electric mobility. We cannot imagine what form we will encounter these technologies in 10 years from now and how far they will be from our current expectations.

It is very difficult to predict the future as well as future trends. 

And the last question to finish, do you have any advice for young technology enthusiasts?

Participate in competitions, program, engage with electronics, and learn languages, not only programming languages.