The referendum and Brexit vote on the 23rd June signaled the beginning of the most volatile economic and political times in decades.
Whilst the result shocked many in London and throughout the world, the immediate impact on the markets and Sterling were more predictable with £120bn wiped off the value of the FTSE and The Pound dropping to a 30 year low within the first 24 hours. Far less predictable was the turmoil that engulfed the major political parties.
As the landscape continues to evolve on a daily basis the key questions for big business and SME’s alike is what impact is this all having on their bottom line and what changes must they embrace to adjust to a post exit Britain?
If history has taught us anything it’s that snap conclusions to such a complicated set of circumstances often prove to be rash and fail to stand the test of time. As such I feel it pertinent to re-visit this issue at the year-end and in this market update focus on two other key transformations that Commerce & Industry continue to face, namely Digitalisation and BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device.
Big business and the public sector (most notably Central Government departments) are seemingly embracing this key to efficiencies and competitive advantage with the number of Chief Digital Officer vacancies registered with Morgan McKinley rising 168% in Q2 versus Q1, 2016. Conversely, SMEs appear somewhat behind the curve and in many cases are in denial or simply unable to adapt accordingly.
A survey of 2,500 SMEs by Exact Cloud Solutions UK found that whilst 38% of UK SMEs believe they may fail without a digital strategy, only 2% have actually made positive strides to address the issue. Those who are placed to embrace Digitalisation typically see online sales and the recruitment of talent as the primary areas of focus.
With the proliferation of smart technology seemingly knowing no bounds, businesses of all shapes and sizes continue to strive to achieve a harmonious balance between the efficiencies and security threats posed by permitting BYOD. In the May 2016 Morgan McKinley Working Hours Survey, 78% of the 2,600 surveyed respondents said that they use mobile devices to work after leaving the office, with the majority of those doing so on their own personal devices. The stakes are high, with potentially untold ramifications for security breaches caused by using personal devices for business. Therefore, expert advice from security specialists is high on the wish list for exec boards across the land. Other barriers exist too, though most notably rigid infrastructures and the associated costs of moving to BYOD feature most prominently across C&I. Let us not overlook the inevitable cultural challenges to overcome coupled with the complex nature of split-billing i.e. separating business and personal costs of usage on a device.
In these unprecedented geopolitical times, organisations across the country are set to face more challenges and pressures than ever before. As the job market adapts and niche skills are honed, the risks of being left behind remain very real. For now, as the dust settles on the referendum vote and our leading political parties get their house in order, businesses must make sure they too are addressing the micro-level challenges of transformation that are within their control in order to stand them in best stead for the macro-level changes that loom large.