Britain’s vote to leave the European Union last summer kick-started a period of massive change. We have already witnessed the impacts of a drop in the value of the pound and an increase in the cost of materials. Consumers and businesses are losing confidence and optimism, with a third of UK businesses putting over £65.5bn of investments on hold—and this is only the beginning. Now that Theresa May has triggered Article 50, more change is yet to come.
What form this change takes, however, is difficult to predict. UK businesses are struggling to understand how to move forward with very little clarity about what the country’s future away from the EU will look like. But they cannot afford to sit back and wait until the impact of Brexit is better understood. In order to stay relevant and competitive within their specific industries, UK businesses must continue functioning as usual or, better yet, take advantage of this period of change to create new opportunities.
Some companies are already embracing this approach and are reaping the benefits. How? By being agile enough to adapt as needed. This means they have a clear and real-time overview of the business as a whole so that business leaders have the ability to quickly understand the implications of any market changes. Having this information on hand is allowing them to make better and more informed decisions that are based on accurate real-time data collected from people, functions, and processes across the organization.
A recent survey we conducted with 250 decision-makers at UK companies with £50 million+ revenue shows that a whopping 44 percent of businesses have not started planning for Brexit. On the other hand, the good news is that nearly 1 in 3 (29 percent) business decision-makers say that the decision to leave the EU has already positively impacted their organization. But with still so much uncertainty about how to move forward, there are a few areas that companies could focus on to make a real difference as to whether they sink or swim:
- Put in place tools that are designed for today’s business needs. Data is one of a company’s most valuable commodities and one that should be harnessed as much as possible. Technologies that were designed 30 years ago are not built to handle this data; spreadsheets, for example, only provide fragments of the whole story. There are planning tools available today that can connect a company’s data across the organization to drive better performance.
- Introduce a more connected approach. The only way to manage the changes that Brexit is expected to bring is to be as prepared as possible for many different futures. Forecasting for these futures needs to be based on one connected view of an organization, incorporating all departments, business units, and geographies to create one source of real-time data that business leaders can use to make informed decisions.
- Give business leaders the data that they need to make informed decisions. Successful organizations are constantly evolving as circumstances around them change, meaning that their leaders need the most up-to-date information at their fingertips so that they can make the best decisions. In today’s business climate, it’s more important than ever that business executives can demonstrate leadership and provide solid guidance based on facts, not guesses.
Now is the time for UK businesses to prioritize these areas to ensure that they are as prepared as possible for whatever comes down the line. You can find more insights from our research in the industry paper, “How prepared are UK businesses for Brexit?”