Brexit paralysis harming IT transformation warns Avanade

Nearly half of IT directors admit they don’t have a plan for Brexit.

UK businesses are risking ‘irrelevance through inertia’ claims a new report from Avanade, which found nearly half of senior IT decision makers have yet to put plans in place to counter potential IT challenges stemming from Brexit.

According to the report, which polled 100 senior IT decision makers across the UK, 69% agree they are very concerned about the potential impact of Brexit.

Yet despite the limited time frame to take decisive action, Avanade found:

  • 49% of respondents do not have a plan for Brexit in relation to their IT strategy
  • 41% of IT decision makers are slowing down or halting IT investment plans entirely

Commenting on the findings, Darren Hardman, UK General Manager, Avanade, said: “Nothing kills a business faster than inertia. Brexit has put the spotlight on certain specific issues, but the fundamental requirement for digital transformation remains the same. The clock is ticking, and the 41% of IT decision makers who are slowing down their IT investments should be looking nervously at the 56% of their peers who say they are accelerating.”

Avanade asserts the strict two-year time frame for Brexit negotiations can serve as a strategic catalyst for IT directors looking to push through plans for broader IT transformation. Indeed, 68% of those surveyed believe Brexit offers them an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage if managed correctly.

“We know from our own recent research that getting senior executives across the business to understand the value of IT transformation remains a challenge for IT decision makers. And Brexit provides the compelling case they need to push these changes through. The most important thing right now is to have a plan.”

According to Avanade, IT decision makers should be focusing on the following areas:

IT modernisation and automation – With over three-quarters (76%) of IT leaders concerned that the weakening pound will force them to rationalise and optimise costs, and two-thirds (66%) worried about skills and talent shortages, it makes sense to look at how technology can alleviate the economic and migration aspects of Brexit. Modernisation of applications, infrastructure and workplace should sit at the centre of plans to maximise efficiency, increase agility and deliver freedom to innovate. Our research suggests organizations taking this holistic approach can expect to reduce operational costs by 13%.

Cloud migration - As border legislation is subject to change with Brexit, data and infrastructure location will be an important consideration. IT leaders may find their data is stored in regions where they aren’t able to adhere to compliance regulations. This highlights the case for cloud migration, already one of the top three priorities for 57% of IT decision makers. Cloud platforms will enable businesses to drive growth, accelerate time to market, extend the value of existing assets and enable business flexibility.

Managed services – Organisations need stability and speed to help drive a predictive, responsive and innovative approach to uncertainty stemming from Brexit. The latest generation of managed services help manage costs and reduce risks, including any potential future shortage of specialist skills.

Streamlining operations – Brexit heightens the need for companies to streamline their operations to mitigate costs. Business operation models, typically built to work in a defined and predictable way, need to start shifting to those designed to adapt and succeed with uncertainty and change.

Find out more about Avanade’s recommendations as outlined in the full report: https://www.avanade.com/en-gb/thinking/new-economics-of-it/brexit-it-research

About the research

In March 2017 Avanade worked with the London-based research agency, Loudhouse, to interview 100 IT decision makers about how they are reacting to Brexit. All respondents were sourced from enterprise level businesses, and based in the UK.

About Avanade

Avanade is the leading provider of innovative digital and cloud services, business solutions and design-led experiences delivered through the power of people and the Microsoft ecosystem. Our professionals bring bold, fresh thinking combined with technology, business and industry expertise to help fuel transformation and growth for our clients and their customers. Avanade has 30,000 digitally connected people across 24 countries, bringing clients the best thinking through a collaborative culture that honours diversity and reflects the communities in which we operate. Majority owned by Accenture, Avanade was founded in 2000 by Accenture LLP and Microsoft Corporation. Learn more at https://www.avanade.com.

Media Contacts


Helen Woodfield
Phone: +44 207 025 1000


Nish Ratanji
Phone: +44 207 067 0762
Email: nratanji@golin.com

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