Navigating the Ever-Changing Terms of Brexit

April 02, 2019

Contributor: Gloria Omale

Focus on 5 key business areas to demonstrate organizational resilience in the face of Brexit uncertainty.

It’s been almost three years since the U.K. voted in favor of leaving the European Union (EU), and the political stalemate around Brexit continues. The original departure date of March 29, 2019 has been delayed. The EU has granted the U.K. government an extension to April 12, 2019 for Brexit with no deal or May 22, 2019 for Brexit with a deal. This extension only adds further ambiguity around how the outcome of Brexit will impact organizations.

“ Organizations able to demonstrate resilience are more likely to minimize short- and long-term disruptions to their operations”

“At the moment, preparing for a post-Brexit future is very challenging,” says Roberta Witty, VP Analyst, Gartner. “However, we recommend that executive leaders plan to continue operations as they navigate uncertain Brexit transitions. Organizations able to demonstrate resilience are more likely to minimize short- and long-term disruptions to their operations.”

A resilient organization rebounds after a business disruption through good risk management. These organizations resist, absorb, recover and adapt to business disruption in an ever-changing and increasingly complex environment.

Gartner recommends five strategies that businesses can use to increase organizational resilience and guide responses to either a disorganized or organized Brexit outcome.

1. Review talent needs and availability

Whatever the outcome, Brexit will have a huge impact on talent. Executive leaders will need to work closely with HR partners to prepare for a variety of different scenarios and establish contingency plans for workforce planning, recruiting and internal mobility. For example, help overseas staff register to stay, support visa applications and provide the ability to work from another country.

2. Review supply chain needs and availability

To ensure resilience in the face of potential Brexit disruptions, work with supply chain teams to investigate the entire supply chain for any unknown U.K. or EU sourcing arrangements. After a thorough assessment, put a contingency plan in place to minimize delays and account for changes in the costs of supplies.

Read more: Brexit: Logistics Leaders Face Complexity and Cost Implications

3. Review IT needs and availability

IT leaders responsible for the purchasing of IT services will face challenges whatever the exact Brexit outcome. To effectively manage potential changes, create plans that address various possible Brexit scenarios. Evaluate the probability and impact of different scenarios to define effective responses.

Read more: Understand the Brexit Impact on IT

4. Review privacy considerations

The U.K. has adapted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into the Data Protection Act 2018, but security and risk management leaders should look to other options for moving personal data from Europe to the U.K. The most common option is EU Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs), which offer sufficient safeguards on data transfers between EU and non-EU countries. Ensure that European citizens are informed that their personal data will be stored in or transferred to the U.K.

5. Review business continuity and IT disaster recovery arrangements

If an unexpected disaster happens during the Brexit transition, pre-Brexit arrangements in place for business continuity and IT disaster recovery may suddenly become unavailable or delayed. Review every mission-critical recovery plan to determine where there may be cross-border delays and issues related to talent, suppliers, equipment and facilities. Once potential delays and issues are identified, risk management leaders will need to make relevant changes to recovery strategies, solutions and procedures.

Experience Information Technology conferences

Join your peers for the unveiling of the latest insights at Gartner conferences.

Recommended resources for Gartner clients*:

 Navigating Brexit Disruptions Through Greater Organizational Resilience

How Buyers of IT Services Can Plan for Brexit Uncertainty

The Impact of Brexit on Your Data Center and Cloud Service Strategy

Supply Chain Brief: Uncertainty Remains Over How Brexit Will Impact Supply Chains

Countdown to Brexit: Build Resilience to Make Confident Decisions

The Brexit Impact on Talent and Culture

*Note that some documents may not be available to all Gartner clients.