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Posted 2 years ago

With the UK’s exit from the European Union now officially underway, organisations must start to prepare for the impact of Brexit. Of course, nobody knows just what’s around the corner, but while the Brexit vote caught many people off guard, it doesn’t have to do the same to your business.

Here are five working practices we predict will increase because of Brexit.

1. Business will strive for cost certainty

It’s inevitable that – in the short term at least – there will be an increase in costs; particularly when it comes to trading with the EU. And, in an unpredictable climate, it’s likely that businesses will look to reduce or freeze budgets. But, while cutting back on all but essential projects might seem like a good idea, it could be a knee-jerk reaction. Especially as some experts predict that it could be a decade before the final Brexit deal is done. So, rather than putting the business on hold, savvy companies will look for ways to introduce price-certainty.

As a result, technology funding (e.g. leased devices) and technology-as-a-service (one fixed, predictable monthly fee) are set to play a critical role; helping businesses to continue to moving forward with their IT improvements and projects, without any upfront investment.

2. Data Management will be a key area of concern

Decisions on the location of data centres and the transparency of stored data are already hot topics; with many UK businesses looking to move their valuable data to centres located in the UK.

What’s more, despite the decision to leave the EU, the government has announced that it will implement the EU General Data Protection Regulation. This means that UK businesses must become GDPR compliant by 25th May 2018.

Of course, the UK will still be a member of the EU in 2018, so this is to be expected. However, what happens after Brexit is still unknown and could depend on a variety of factors. That being said, any UK company dealing with an EU organisation is still subject to GDPR regardless of what happens after Brexit. And, it’s very likely that any change in UK law will result in functionality similar to the GDPR. So, moves made now to achieve GDPR compliance are still a good investment long term. With a failure to adhere to the GDPR incurring a maximum penalty of €20 million or 4% of worldwide turnover, UK businesses must ensure that they are abreast of the changes and fully compliant.

3. Mobile working will increase

At the end of 2016, there were 2.2 million people working in the UK who were nationals of another EU country.

The ability of EU nationals to continue living and working in the UK post-Brexit remains unclear. As a result, not only will it become tougher for businesses to attract top talent from around the EU, but European employees are also likely to become increasingly nervous. Keeping the lines of communication open, and reassuring staff during this time of uncertainty is crucial.

One approach businesses will use to get around this problem is to establish or enhance remote working models. Already a growing trend, 79% of senior business people agree that an “anytime, anywhere” work is now inevitable.2

Of course, switching from an in-house model to a remote model requires the right technology to keep employees productive and collaborative; with 43% of remote workers finding it difficult to access documents and files.3

4. Risk management will become increasingly important

As well as data-protection and a possible skills shortage, Brexit is likely to throw up new, and as yet unforeseen risks. And, with very few hard facts, knowing how to tackle these hazards is tough. While only about 50% of FTSE companies made contingency plans for Brexit before the referendum, risk management will start to play a more crucial role at the top table.

5. Businesses will review their suppliers and partners

As part of the preparation for Brexit, businesses across the UK must consider all existing IT services and contracts to establish what might be impacted.

However, while a supplier review might be a necessity, it could have a positive impact on day-to-day operations. Indeed, by ‘forcing’ businesses to look at their existing agreements, they could uncover issues where they are being let down – in terms of service, strategic recommendations, and/or financing options. Ultimately, this forced review process could lead to the creation of better supplier relationships.

One thing’s for sure, Brexit represents a fundamental step change for business. One which will increase the complexity of application management, data protection, and operating models. So, businesses of all sizes will need to adopt a more holistic and strategic approach to IT management moving forward; with a focus on IT solutions rather than standalone products and services.

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