You would have to work hard to ignore Brexit in the media. The most recent updates are everywhere projecting daily doom and gloom for the British public to enjoy. Are businesses prepared for Brexit in March 2019? More pressingly, can we prepare for Brexit?
Serviceteam IT’s Beyond the Cloud: UK Technology Research 2018 in partnership with Doogheno revealed that most businesses have not planned for the impact of various outcomes of Brexit. 31% of respondents listed Brexit as the biggest challenge to their IT plans over the next 3 years, making this the most popular respondent answer to the survey. With Minister resignations ever present and criminal allegations of the Vote Leave campaign’s spending, this is unsurprising.
What UK businesses are saying
What is surprising is that only 20% of respondents have a contingency plan outlining the various outcomes of Brexit negotiations in their organisation. There are at least four potential outcomes of Brexit negotiations: a no-deal Brexit, a second Referendum, Teresa May creating a deal with the EU which benefits the UK economy, or a deal which does not positively affect the UK economy. So, why have such a small percentage of businesses outlined their Brexit plans?
It is better to plan for the worst and hope for the best, but this doesn’t seem to be the case where Brexit is concerned. It appears that we would rather bury our head in the sand until Teresa May miraculously unites her government; a deal is signed which unifies hard and soft Brexiteers and is advantageous for the British economy. Unfortunately, this day seems more like a farce than reality.
How to overcome this challenge
Given this uncertain future, Serviceteam IT’s research was focused around understanding the current technology environment and whether companies are utilising innovative technology to mitigate future challenges facing the UK. Are emerging technologies the answer?
It is common knowledge that UK businesses have undergone a digital transformation, but do we need to go further?
The UK is experiencing what could be described as the 21st century Industrial Revolution. Emerging technologies including Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things and Robotic Process Automation and are a form of digitisation which may be able to steer UK business economically, in terms of technology and in terms of regulations.
For example, business should invest in innovation to become more efficient. RPA will reduce manual input, human errors and mistakes. American Express Global Business Travel have already had an RPA success in terms of cancelling an airline tickets and issuing refunds; a job previously held by human employees. This technology could also help to combat the apparent skill shortage which will heighten when Britain leaves the European Union. According to a Guardian report, around one million skilled workers will leave Britain after Brexit. This technology may become not merely desirable, but essential.
AI can make intelligent decisions about your business circumstances and compliance. With Britain’s relationship with trade and regulations up in the air, it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest laws to stay compliant and maintain your company’s trade in the EU. For example, a GDPR breach could be up to 4% of your annual turnover. Additionally, a breach of an EU regulation or directive may prevent all forms of your company’s trade.
Blockchain is especially useful in terms of efficiency. Transactions are completed by the primary parties only. There is no intermediary, such as a lawyer. ‘Smart contracts’ mean that a legal deal can be made quickly. This will be especially helpful when dealing with a client located in the EU as Blockchain will mitigate the cost and time of a transaction
With the economic impact of Brexit still being unknown, IoT can be used as a cost saving strategy. This includes real time management through sensors. At the same time, this will increase your company’s productivity.
What are your thoughts?
Although emerging technologies may be overwhelming (I know I thought so), and Brexit even more confusing, I hope this has helped change your perception on the doom and gloom news. Although the outcome of Brexit is unclear, the time to use technology is now and has developed hugely in the past few years. Take advantage of this, create a contingency plan and the outcome of Brexit may seem less daunting.