Yesterday’s decision by UK citizens to leave the European Union (“Brexit”) brings about short-term uncertainties and unintended consequences that will make it harder for UK businesses to keep customers and attract talent. While times of high-market volatility can tempt firms to panic and cut spending on customer-focused initiatives, now is the time to drive innovation in order to win, serve, and retain customers. 
As decisions over the next several years are determined by legislators and driven by compliance, UK companies will be challenged to operate as customer-obsessed firms. Forrester believes that the UK’s decision will have five major implications, including:
  • Digital and customer-facing talent will migrate out of the UK. Concerns about immigration laws (i.e., who will have the right to stay) will both drive footloose talent to look for jobs abroad and dissuade others from coming. And CIOs will find it even more difficult to recruit already-scarce developers and engineers to build customer-facing systems. 
  • Product and delivery innovation will slow. Companies will now have to spend more time and effort to deliver products across borders and less time innovating on new customer-focused solutions. 
While it's easy to feel paralyzed with so much uncertainty looming overhead, CIOs should not let Brexit derail their business technology (BT) agenda. If you do, you risk shrinking your revenue base and losing ground to international competition. 
Instead, firms should focus on using technologies like automation and cloud to fully fund the BT agenda, retaining top talent and seeking new non-UK talent, and immediately working with data protection and privacy teams to maintain customer privacy and reassure customers their information is safe. 
For more information on the “leave” vote implications and what you should do now, read the full Quick Take report, UK Firms Must Drive Innovation In The Age Of The Customer, Despite Brexit and listen to our on-demand webinar, Planning For Innovation And Risk In The Wake Of Brexit