On October 7th to 9th, IT Arena 2021 tech conference was held for a Ukrainian and international audience in the hybrid format. The first two days of the event were presented online on mobile and web platforms with a few studios built in Sigma Software’s Lviv office. The third day of the event included offline meetings and workshops at various locations in the central part of Lviv. With 5,345 participants, 100 speakers, and over 100 startups, IT Arena once again substantiated its’ title as the biggest tech event in Ukraine and Eastern Europe.
This year all residents and guests at our Lviv office had a chance to see IT Arena from a new point of view. That’s because we hosted IT Arena and could observe how the magic happened. Four studios were working at our premises and more than 100 guests visited our office every day, including event organizers, speakers, correspondents, our colleagues from other offices, our board of directors from Sweden and Ukraine, and representatives of the Norwegian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce.
Photo credit: IT Arena
Oksana Nazarkevich, Head of Sigma Software’s Lviv office, shares:
“During the first week of October we had an incredible atmosphere in our office. It became the heart of events and everybody wanted to see behind the curtain of IT Arena. We arranged numerous office tours for our guests and tried to let everyone feel our culture through little traditions, like Friday Breakfast. For IT Arena organizers, we strived to be the best hosts ever and immediately took care of their needs, since we understood all the pressure and responsibility of arranging an event for so many people.”
Yuri Ogonovskiy, an Event Director and Deputy CEO at Lviv IT Cluster as well as co-organizer of IT Arena, points out:
“In this world, something is impossible just before someone does it. Lviv IT Cluster has proven that nothing is impossible many times. I’m most pleased that this year Sigma Software also believed in incredible ideas, which became reality at IT Arena 2021. Sigma Software is not just a partner or a sponsor for us any more. They have already turned into a part of the conference's friendly team.”
Speeches Worth Your Time
With four streams, viewers had to carefully schedule their screen time to see the best and get the most out of it. All of the speeches were impressive, but we will highlight a few of them.
First of course, Cybersecurity in the 20’s by Cyber Security Executive Laura Galante. That was a speech that scared everyone but still gave some hope. Laura Galante told us about some of the cyberattacks that had happened during the 2010’s. The targets of those attacks were banking systems, intellectual property, government emails, foreign election results, public opinion, and power grids… and that was scary.
Where is the hope you may ask? Well, the hope is in being prepared and being humble. Laura Galante’s advice for resilience to attacks is three-fold. First is building a network of people that can support you in crisis. Second is admitting the fact that something can go wrong and you should get ready for it by diversifying your infrastructure, money, and other resources. Third – giving the edge to your team, because they should be aware of all the risks and may bring valuable ideas to the table.
Photo credit: IT Arena
More advice from Laura Galante in her interview with IT Arena.
Another speech that hit the spot was User Obsession at Wix by David (Dedi) Schwartz, who heads Wix’s Product Management. He also heads up Wix’s innovative eCommerce platform (Wix Stores), as well as the Wix platform for offering and monetizing services (Wix Bookings).
David believes that Ukraine follows Israel in its tech and startup industry path. Both countries have prominent tech expertise and relatively small local markets, so many IT companies in Ukraine and Israel make their software products for the global market, skipping the local stage. However, it is difficult to know your users and be competitive when they are all over the world. David Schwartz thinks that surveys do not help with this (which was proven by Nokia’s 2007 survey). He recommends talking to your users and non-users, working with the data you have, and getting info from your support service as they are in the closest contact with users.
Focused Offline Meetups
The third day of the event included offline meetings and workshops in various locations in the central part of Lviv. Locations ranged from authentic restaurants to the conference hall of the Lviv City Council. Sigma Software experts held four meetups that were met with great interest.
AdTech MeetUp by Sigma Software
The meetup gathered a mixed audience of product managers, software engineers, students, media domain specialists interested in AdTech products, and others. First, Olga Paramonova, our AdTech Solutions Department Manager, and Svitlana Lapko, Test Engineer working on AdTech projects, presented the AdTech domain as it is seen from the outside and then shed light on the tech behind it.
The audience had a chance to find out what search engines thought about them. You can find out too by following the link in this 3D code:
Olga Paramonova talks about the event:
“The chamberlike atmosphere of the meetup inspired collaboration. Everybody was attentive and engaged, so we had a relaxed yet productive conversation about new pains and trends in AdTech.”
Then, Anna Shiyan, Account Manager at Sigma Software, and Johan Liljelund, Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer of DanAds, were talking about the benefits of self-service platforms for clients and how to work with world-known companies like Philips, Hearst, TripAdvisor, and others while staying with a Ukrainian IT company.
Synergy of Service and Product Business, Venture Builder
The startup ecosystem of the Ukrainian market has strongly improved in recent years and breakthrough results have been achieved. The potential of the startup area has been significantly influenced by service business development. The synergy of both the business side understanding and the technical potential is an excellent backdrop for the emergence and realization of startups.
Top industry experts held a panel discussion:
- Valery Krasovsky, CEO and co-founder of Sigma Software as well as сo-founder of Inspirium Laboratories fund and board member of Sigma Software Labs Incubator;
- Dmitry Vartanian, CFO and co-founder at Sigma Software and co-founder at Inspirium Laboratories;
- Veronica Korzh, General Manager at Sigma Software Labs, moderator.
The speakers and the audience members discussed current ways of product and service business synergy, Ukrainian startups exclusive benefits, and the basis for the attractiveness of local market investment.
Emerging FinTech trends & solutions to watch out for in 2021
This was a panel discussion with Anton Vaisburd, co-founder & CEO at Datrics.ai, Peter Kolomiets, CBDO & Co-founder Ideasoft, Sergii Danylenko, VP at Middleware Inc., North America, Corezoid.com, Alex Fisun, СЕО Global Ledger Protocol, and a moderator Hanna Khrystianovych, a Fintech Program Manager at Sigma Software.
Now that smartphones are widespread, banks' clients want to perform their baking operations from their mobile phones. As a result, banks are forced to go through a digital transformation. The COVID-19 pandemic enhances this situation: now banks have to ensure the mobility of their staff as well as their clients. There is no way to avoid the digital reality. Yet we see that it is a huge challenge for banks.
There is an opinion that the core reason is fragmentation of everything: decision making and management, processes and technologies. Fragmentation consumes the energy and time in the organization like a black hole does. Complexity grows, "metabolism" of the company/bank becomes slower and slower, and in the end the customer sufferers.
At the meetup, the experts discussed possible solutions to facilitate the digitalization of banks and businesses as well as other disruptions in the industry.
Hanna Khrystianovych comments:
“I appreciate the interest in FinTech & finance I saw. The audience was so attentive and had many interesting questions. We brainstormed why it was so difficult for banks to digitalize if technology (incl. low-code, no-code solutions) was a "pill" for them. We also mentioned the issue with data that is 'locked’ in monolithic architecture, and challenged the idea of cryptocurrencies as a banking service. The discussion was active with many examples that helped everyone understand the industry reality more deeply. Thanks to the speakers - they did a very good job.”
Hypothesis Validation Workshop
Andrii Pastushok, Principal Product Manager at Sigma Software and the developer of a Product Management course at LITS told the audience how to test and prove hypothesis to build successful products and startups.
Photo credit: IT Arena