More than half of UK businesses (54%) say Brexit has presented them with data access and management challenges, according to research from MuleSoft, an integration and API platform provider. This finding highlights that the challenges of siloed data and skills shortages are being amplified as businesses adapt their operations in response to Brexit.
However, these pains are not just being felt by UK businesses: 40% of German and 39% of French businesses also report that Brexit has made it more difficult for them to access and manage data.
These difficulties have helped fuel the supply chain issues that have prompted recent headlines around product shortages and availability. The findings also suggest that businesses may have a hard time navigating future regulatory changes. While there may currently be close regulatory alignment between the UK and EU, businesses’ inability to unlock and act on data quickly may limit their ability to respond to changes in the future.
“Brexit has laid bare just how underprepared many businesses are for the challenges around data access and management in an increasingly digital economy,” said Justin Wilson, head of UK&I at MuleSoft. “At a time when businesses need to be more agile than ever, the UK’s departure from the EU has made it harder for them to harness the data they need to do just that. There’s also the issue of skills shortages. While digital transformation is at the top of their agenda, the exodus of skilled IT professionals has left many businesses without the resources they need to deliver those projects.”
As businesses continue to adjust to the post-Brexit landscape, they urgently need a more agile approach to integrating data and delivering digital transformation. API-led connectivity will be key to this, enabling businesses to break down data silos and overcome borders, so they can quickly create actionable insights. For instance, APIs can be used to connect supply chain data between multiple stakeholders, so UK and EU businesses can achieve the visibility needed to ensure their products are available where they’re needed and mitigate disruption.
Better still, an API-led approach reimagines digital assets as a network of reusable capabilities that anyone can draw from. This enables a wider range of business users to compose their own innovations without IT’s involvement, improving autonomy, business agility and accelerating digital transformation.
“APIs help businesses to overcome many of the most pressing problems they face in the aftermath of Brexit, because they make the process of drawing disparate data sources together far easier,” continued Wilson. “This more flexible approach to integration also enables businesses to package their digital capabilities as a series of reusable building blocks. Not only does this make businesses more agile for change by removing the need to start digital initiatives from scratch, but it also helps ease the skills burden. Now, anyone within the business – not just the IT team – can draw on these pre-existing IT capabilities to drive digital innovation.”