Brexit fallout ‘will test CIOs and their crumbling legacy systems’

KPMG: Vote to leave EU is also an opportunity for CIOs to clean house

CIOs must be prepared for the board to delay or cancel big strategic projects in light of Brexit.

This is according to KPMG's CIO Advisory group, whose Brexit Playbook recommends IT leaders rethink and re-budget projects in light of the UK's vote to leave the EU.

Adam Woodhouse, director of the group, said: "The organisation may delay or even cancel strategic decisions and large funding approvals, so be prepared for this and the implications this could have on technology spend.

"The movement in sterling will also have an effect if you are not hedged against foreign exchange movements, so you will need to re-calculate and possibly re-budget planned projects and business cases, the buying of software, services and hardware and what foreign-based teams might be costing."

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However, Woodhouse added that it is crucial the board "fully appreciate the fundamental importance of technology in their overall Brexit response".

It is important that CIOs present the immediate, medium-term and long-term risks of Brexit, he added, with EU staff concerned about their futures and firms reliant on foreign talent unsure of how they will attract them in future.

Meanwhile, the UK will have to adopt similar data protection rules to the EU's incoming GDPR legislation to transfer data into and out of the EU.

It comes after Bank of England governor Mark Carney yesterday warned that unemployment would claim another 250,000 jobs in the next two years, and cut interest rates to 0.25 per cent in response to Brexit.

However, Woodhouse believes there is an opportunity for CIOs to acquire talent and technology on the cheap, as investors cool off as they wait to see how Brexit affects start-ups' access to talent.

"Many funds are sitting on the sidelines while things settle down," said Woodhouse. "Bold CIOs will use this to get a jump on the competition. In particular, foreign investors have a real opportunity with the pound dropping around 10 per cent against both the euro and dollar." 

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While he concluded that Brexit creates big challenges for CIOs, Woodhouse said this is an opportunity for them as well.

"The fallout from Brexit will test CIOs and their operations no question," he said. "It will put a strain crumbling systems, expose confused governance and raise questions about the way we have always done things'. That leads me to a blindingly simple conclusion: has there ever been a better time for CIOs to drive out complexity, simplify IT architecture and improve services?" 

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