wish to consider) and when they
will need to make key decisions
(knowing when to act). It’s key to
understand the timelines necessary
to execute any ‘must do’ activities.
At least that way you’ll know when
you need to make a decision, avoid
taking unnecessary or potentially
costly pre-emptive actions or realizing too late that you should have
started something 6 months earlier.
: What should
companies, especially in industries
like financial services and health-
care, do to prepare for any shifts
in the regulatory environment,
especially given how much they’ve
already spent in recent years?
Cudworth: Again, to come back to
the planning concept, it’s important to try and understand what is
unlikely to change or what won’t
change versus what may change. If
I take, for example, life sciences,
some changes may be quite significant and have big impacts. We are
running something we call a Brexit Lab internally currently, a service we also offer to clients, which
uses a digital sharing platform. In
the process, we crowdsource what
our industry and regulatory specialists think are the key issues and
challenges and then use more formal analysis to determine the key
impacts and the actions that will
need to be taken. For life sciences
that’s up and running, and we have
members across Europe contributing to this, so we’re really able to
distill what the key issues might be
in that industry around the regulatory agenda – and therefore, what our
clients need to know and to do now.
: Do you think
that an event like the Brexit may
lead to adjustments in client
behaviors around data (e.g.,
movement, storage, etc.), or
for instance greater interest in
cloud-driven solutions, overcoming
concerns about cyber security?
Cudworth: It is coming up in more
discussions. For the moment our
feeling is that it’s one of the areas
of lesser concern, though I’m not
saying there may not be challenges there. We don’t necessarily see
a strong likelihood around restrictions on the movement of data within Europe. We don’t see a strong
impact on the cloud computing
model, particularly, but having said
that we need to keep observant on it.
It’s not one of the very top agenda
items, and we believe the UK will
avoid trying to deliberately move to
a different regulatory agenda which
would compromise things like flow
of data, etc., because that’s just not
helpful for anyone.
: London is a key
production and service delivery
hub for many companies, Deloitte
among them. How are you advis-
ing clients who may be concerned
about future restraints—short-
term and long-term—on the
movement of key resources in and
out of the UK?
Cudworth: The movement of talent
across Europe is important to many
companies, including us. We have
many EU nationals working in the
UK and many UK nationals work-
ing in the EU as well. We would
like there to continue to be relative
free movement of people in Europe.
Politically, that’s going to be a dif-
ficult agenda given the focus of the
‘Leave’ campaign but we think it is
an important issue, and not just for
us but for many businesses.
: Any final
Cudworth: I think the main point is
that it’s very easy for clients to get lost
in the uncertainty and take a wait-and-see approach. We’re saying, as a minimum now you should start to plan,
understand the key issues and when
you may need to make decisions. Some
of those decisions may well have to be
taken before there is certainty.
For example, major operating
model changes can take substantial
time to plan, prepare and execute.
Even more modest IT changes that
may be necessary, for instance
for customs duty or VAT changes could take six months, twelve
months to execute. Understanding
that early is beneficial—just becoming clear around those issues
and decision points without committing before you really need to
is important right now.
Speaking more broadly, it is essential that businesses now find
their voice in communicating with
their workforces, customers and
wider society. It’s clear that the
voice of business did not resonate
with the electorate during the referendum campaign. Businesses
must find ways to reconnect with
communities across the country,
show they can confront the needs
of society and play a role in setting
a post-EU vision that is open, pro-growth and inclusive.