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Will Brexit impact your Digital Transformation Strategy?

It’s been at the top of the UK’s political agenda for the past 3 years and as the final deadline looms nearer, it looks like we are no clearer on what Brexit will bring with it. With many companies in the process of Digital Transformation projects, and the Brexit uncertainty set to continue, having a future proof transformation strategy is vital. Here we’ll take a look at what impact Brexit could have and how CIOs can be prepared.   

Brexit Chaos   


As it stands with the recent extension, a decision on Brexit should be made by 12th April – by this time we will have either accepted the current deal, accepted a new deal or be facing no deal. The impact on technology and innovation depends on what model the UK adopts for its relationship with the EU, which raises another set of questions:  

  • Hard or Soft Brexit?
  • Will we remain in the single market?
  • Will we get a good trade agreement outside of the EU
  • Will there be another referendum?


But, don’t panic  


Whatever agreement we come to in the next couple of weeks, there will be a transition period. This is when the real negotiations will begin from formal trade talks to new immigration, customs and regulatory systems. It’s likely that during this period not much will change for UK businesses meaning there is still time to ensure your Digital Transformation strategy goes smoothly.  


1) Skills Gap  


As technology rapidly changes, upskilling staff and employing people with specialist skills becomes ever more important. Bringing IT staff up to date with these skills and providing the training needed is an essential first step in ensuring a robust strategy.  


In addition, companies may also need access to wider specialists for more niche transformation projects. With the next wave of digital transformation powered by automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence the need for software developers, transformation architects and automation experts is becoming vital.   


Many UK organisations are concerned that post Brexit, access to these skills will be limited. With a number of businesses already employing European nationals to work on technology projects, there is some vagueness around whether or not they will be able to continue to work in the UK after Brexit. If new immigration laws and stronger regulations for entering the UK are put in place, we could see fewer people choosing to move to the UK and therefore organisations will face intense competition for top talent.  


By extending your existing team’s skill set and adding more technical expertise with the right talent development you can lessen the impact. Digicorp’s resourcing service can also help you find the right people for your more specialist projects. We have access to a vast pool of qualified individuals who will project manage, implement and continue to support your organisation.    


2) Labour Shortage   


For those more labour intensive services (e.g. call centres, hospitality services) where there is still a heavy reliance on manual processes, upskilling staff and implementing automation where possible could help you meet the challenges of a changing world. From inbound mail processing to approval systems, these error-prone, manual tasks take up significant time and resource. By investing in automation systems you equip your organisation with more efficient workflows, reducing labour costs, streamlining processes and creating a more future-proof organisation whatever the outcome of Brexit.    


Digicorp has a wealth of knowledge and over 25 years of combined experience in implementing document management systems that enable organisations to “cut out the middle man” and deal with daily processes in a better way.   


3) Data and Analytics  


In a recent report by Forbes Insight, only 44% of top executives saw themselves as advanced or leaders in data and analytics. Whilst Brexit should not affect any data collection or analysis within the UK, it could impact data gathering from Europe.  


The EU offers all member countries that conform to their data rules an ‘adequacy agreement’, this means that data can be transferred across borders. Other countries such as New Zealand and the US have separate adequacy agreements made with the EU. After Brexit, assuming that the UK and EU have not come to an agreement that specifies data can continue to flow uninterrupted, things will change.  


UK organisations are now being advised to trace all data transfers that come into the UK from the EU and ensure that the appropriate safeguards are in place to mitigate any risks. This is an area where it would be wise to begin analysing data storage and consent management and tracking the evolution and replication of GDPR.  


Stay optimistic about Brexit  


While the UK tech sector came out strongly in favour of remaining in the EU, many tech businesses are optimistic about the future. There are potential opportunities that will stem from Brexit, depending on the approach of the UK government.    


  • Tax laws could be more favourable to businesses.
  • Patent box revenues could be expanded from the current cap of 10%.
  • Taxes on profits from other IP could also be reduced.
  • Profits could come directly from patents.
  • New laws and regulations that make the UK a more attractive starting point for e-commerce businesses could be devised.


If you are worried about preparing for Brexit we might be able to help, contact our digital transformation team at [email protected] or call 020 3929 3003.