Adam Woodhouse, director in KPMG’s CIO advisory practice, comments on the ramifications of the Brexit vote for CIOs and what they should be doing next. He said:
“It has been a long and testing period for CIOs as they seek to understand the implications of Brexit. For many it will pose a significant operational challenge. But, for those who can lift their heads from contingency planning and take a more strategic view, it can also present opportunities. In particular, the Brexit vote could offer the investment or acquisition of niche and start-up technology innovators – as their traditional sources of funding may become more cautious. Many funds are sitting on the fence until things settle down, allowing bold CIOs to get the jump on the competition and pick-up the best of the bunch.
“Securing talent is another area. The UK has many highly-skilled digital professionals, including scientists and cyber-security specialists, as anywhere in Europe - according to our recent survey of CIOs. The UK could be on the verge of becoming a destination for corporates to near-shore technology skills and digital work.
“Brexit is a catalyst for change as it will force CIOs to look at their systems, governance and tackle the ‘this is the way we’ve always done things’ mentality. What better time to drive out complexity, simplify IT architecture and improve services? Although most in the business community did not want the referendum to go the way it did, Brexit could be the thing that delivers their proudest legacy.
“However, CIOs need to address the short, medium and long-term risks Brexit presents. Staff from the EU may feel uneasy about their future. Firms which heavily depend on foreign expertise may be worried about losing those staff or attracting talent from EU countries.
“Organisations could also delay or cancel large funding approvals and the pound’s fall may require them to recalculate planned projects, especially where they are buying software, services, hardware or using foreign-based teams.”
Adam highlights that CIOs need to be aware that EU rules will remain in place until the UK’s final exit. He said:
“One of the most important pieces of regulation is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – the toughest data protection rulebook ever drafted – which comes into force in May 2018. Even in the UK exits, firms that want to trade and exchange information with the EU will have to adhere to the GDPR or something comparable.”
“Above all, CIOs need not let Brexit drive innovation into the ground or force them onto the back foot”, concludes Adam.
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Notes to Editors:
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 12,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a revenue of £1.96 billion in the year ended September 2015. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 174,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.