Whatever your personal view on Brexit is, it is likely that the referendum result and ensuing pandemonium will have an effect on your organisation’s appetite for investment.
Our experience of riding out several storms over our 21-year history has helped us learn that events such as Brexit are best approached in a reflective and calm manner. With this in mind, our technical sales director Aaron Harte has put together this simple guide to survival, based on his 20+ years’ working with our UK IT clients.
Consolidate purchasing and utilise special bid-pricing opportunities
The vast majority of IT product is either imported or contains significant amount of non-UK parts, meaning that the pound falling to a 31-year low, despite some recent signs of recovery, will mean prices will invariably go up. HP and Dell have already announced price increases and a raft of other manufacturers are expected to follow suit. Indeed, analyst Canalys said the currency issues alone could play a part in shrinking the UK IT market by a whopping 15 per cent! While this may seem an overtly negative estimation, particularly bearing in mind that public sector, utility companies and many commercial verticals will not be significantly affected, most analysts are forecasting an overall decrease in IT budgets. Thomas Meyer, group vice-president of research at IDC, said: "IT spending will likely shift, but the strategic transition towards the digital enterprise will remain, and in fact is likely to accelerate with a greater focus on cost optimisation and IT value to the organisation's bottom line.”
Our advice is to consolidate purchases to ensure orders meet the requirements of vendor special-bid pricing offerings. Significant projects will no doubt attract aggressive volume discounts from manufacturers, particularly if you are open to options from competing vendors. This may well result in vendors being prepared to sharpen their pencils even more than they may have done pre-June 23rd as they attempt to maintain volume in a shrinking market.
If you are unsure of bid-pricing thresholds, please speak to your regular contacts and remember to speak to a partner who is not tied to any specific vendor.
Protect key systems & get ready for EU Data Protection Regulation
Ensuring that your key systems are protected against failure is key if your business has decided to defer investment. Post the financial crisis in 2008, many companies chose to extend the life of their existing infrastructures. If this is the position of your company, it is important to ensure support, maintenance and warranties are in place and potentially extended. Other factors such as checking UPS systems and DR plans are effective are also key, as well as considering a hybrid cloud solution for key data.
Security is one area that needs to be maintained, particularly with the recent raft of threats from malware and ransomware. In addition, the EU data regulations will still apply to UK companies dealing with the EU, regardless of whether the UK remains in the union. The latest data rules, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), were agreed in Brussels in December 2015 and become enforceable in 2018.
Review Software Licensing
While many companies have their software licensing in order, some are actually over-licensed, particularly when it comes to servers. Carrying out workload analysis on your server and storage estate can potentially reduce the number of production servers needed and save money on licensing.
When it comes to desktop software licensing, considering options such as Office 365 can reduce capital expenditure as well as better manage headcount with fluid staffing levels.
Consider finance and lease options
Asset finance can be used to fund any asset – ranging from telephones and photocopiers to servers and storage solutions. It could be the perfect solution if your business needs new equipment that might otherwise be unaffordable. The various forms of asset finance available provide a number of advantages for the customer as they give access to the equipment that they need without incurring the cash-flow disadvantage of an outright purchase.
Finance agreements can often be tailored to the business’s needs with flexibility on both the length of agreement and repayment schedule. They also improve cash flow and help with budgeting restrictions and control. With interest rates set to drop, keeping your company's money in the bank and using an external party’s money to fund investment is a worthy of consideration.
Whether you are Brexit, regrets-it or not-fussed-about-it, ensuring your systems and budgets are optimised in these uncertain times is essential. If you would like to tap into our experience with these types of situations, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We can help you negotiate this period of uncertainty and minimize the fallout of Brexit on your company’s systems and IT spend.