Brexit and IT: can you predict the future?

Last week, the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, throwing up huge questions over the future of the country. Among the biggest are those surrounding competitiveness of the pound and the economy as a whole, and, in the IT industry, the questions are flying as thick and fast as anywhere else.

What is going to happen?

Perhaps there will be changes regarding data sovereignty. The EU General Data Protection Regulation is set to come into force in 2018, at which point Britain may not have completed the process of leaving the EU. Perhaps due to related concerns data centres will cease being built in the UK as uncertainty makes it an unattractive proposition compared to Germany or France.

Will it be harder to hire foreign IT specialists? Will tech investment shift to other countries in Europe?

Or perhaps the UK – now unrestricted by EU compliance regulations – will become a haven for tech innovation? Somewhere where companies can come to experiment and innovate comparatively freely.

We simply don’t know.

What is certain is that you – and your IT estate – will need to be responsive to change. You will need to setup your IT estate to be able to weather an unknown future. This was the case before recent events and is has simply become more conspicuous.

How can you do that?

Firstly, ensure your IT estate is flexible.

This means that you don’t have huge investments in illiquid hardware. This means that your solution is elastic and scalable. This means that you only pay for what you use.

The cloud – either private, public or hybrid – stands out as the flexible IT solution par excellence, in this regard. Migrating to Amazon Web Services, for example, would have low upfront costs, reasonable CapEx maintenance costs, be hugely scalable and cost efficient.

Secondly, ensure that you free up as much time and energy as you can to focus on your core business.

You need to arrange your IT estate in such a way that minimises distractions that take you away from focusing on what differentiates you in the marketplace. The more energy you have to do this, the faster you can react to important political and economic changes that are, ultimately, beyond your control.

Even something as simple as having backup or disaster recovery in the cloud can be a load off of your mind and free up a significant quantity of time and energy.

Fiddling with servers does not help you respond to change. Testing your own disaster recovery solution does not help you respond to change. Monitoring your applications does not help you respond to change.

The only thing that’s certain in Britain at the minute is uncertainty. But everyone is in the same boat, so make sure that you can flexibly ride the waves of change – and that you don’t get seasick!