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July 10, 2017

Digital transformation success gets political as Brexit hits IT-decision makers

23% of UK firms have cancelled at least one digital transformation project.

By Ellie Burns

Brexit, rapid technological change and global political uncertainty – UK businesses are facing trying times, yet new research suggests that the current economic and political landscape is doing little to curb the ambitions of corporate Britain.

According to a poll by cloud and network provider Interoute, 90% of UK firms remain ambitious for growth in the next 10 months, with 63% of British enterprises confidently predicting high growth.

However, businesses cannot turn a blind eye to the impact of such huge events such as Brexit, with the IT leaders polled admitting that some factors could prove to be the fly the ointment when it comes to transforming for success.brexit siemens

The majority of CIOs in the UK (94%) said that Brexit has impacted their IT decision-making, with a further 58% identifying the uncertainty surrounding the changing political landscape as the single biggest barrier to digital transformation success. In what could prove a much needed wake-up call from the C-Suite, 52% believed that there  is ‘a lack of direction and consensus from the C-suite” at a time when clarity is needed most.

Challenging times on the political stage may have been a factor for the 23% of UK firms that have cancelled at least one digital transformation project, with 18% remaining cautious about change and putting transformation budgets on hold for the time being.

However, although some have reacted to recent uncertainty by pulling projects, the majority are adapting in anticipation of unexpected change. According to the poll, 42% are proactively modernising IT systems to improve operations and reduce cost, while others are enhancing experiences offered to employees (42%) and customers (38%).

Matthew Finnie, CTO at Interoute said, “This study proves that most British enterprises are proactively making technology decisions and are prepared to pivot quickly to remain competitive in the face of a changing and uncertain market. It also illustrates how technology planning has taken a strategic shift.

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“Digital transformation is about ensuring an organisation is flexible enough to react to geo-political and market changes as well as delivering customer and business value. This requires an ICT infrastructure that enables, not inhibits, change. Rather than handcuffing an organisation to a specific vendor or inflexible infrastructure choice, it is about ensuring the platform and provider you choose gives you the freedom to change and adapt as the market does.”

READ MORE: Brexit confusion leaves UK businesses lagging behind in innovation

The Interoute poll also found that businesses are migrating, on average, 46% of their IT infrastructure to the cloud over the next 10 months. Although the majority of UK firms agreed that there was a need for physical proximity between cloud-based applications and their customers, there was, however, differences in opinion as to how firm their cloud mandate should be.

Showing the division in opinion among UK organisations, 28% backed a cloud-first mandate, regardless of challenges and implications. The same number also said that a hybrid strategy makes sense in the event that an application requires complete re-factoring. A further 22% had the flexibility to decide the best infrastructure option for each application, while 21% appreciated that when an application requires a lift and shift, it makes sense not to migrate to the cloud.

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