The Economic Benefits of Consultancy

Why engaging with external partners may be the right choice in recession

Jon Gasparini, CTO, Brightsolid

Last year, the UK plunged into its deepest recession since records began. 2020 was an incredibly challenging year for many businesses. And – despite the news of vaccines and lifting lockdowns bringing cautious optimism to the fore – there are still more challenges to come. While the UK saw some economic growth in the third quarter of 2020, the weight of financial pressure on business and the impact of the recession could be felt for many months or years ahead.

The country is still finding its way out of the Covid-19 lockdown. Some sectors saw an uptick when restrictions were loosened briefly around Christmas – but the subsequent tightening of restrictions meant that even those businesses which remained open were unlikely to be seeing the volume of customer demand as in previous years. Months of income have been lost to lockdown, potentially never to be regained.

At the same time, some businesses have flourished as an unintended consequence of coronavirus.

Whichever camp, it is likely that chief executives, finance directors and technology leaders are exploring ways to deliver cost savings and drive innovation to survive as it takes longer to emerge from the effects of the pandemic. Businesses with resources, creativity and an appetite for change are more likely to weather economic downturns.

As organisations focus on reducing their cost base, it is prudent to consider if a little investment now may save more in the longer-term or unlock new opportunities to grow revenues. This may be a good time for business leaders to consider looking outside their organisation for partners that can bring further insight, inspiration and expertise.

Investing in a more agile, secure and resilient IT environment could be a shrewd move in the current economic environment and establish a strong foundation for financial recovery. Integrating a cloud computing model can deliver substantial organisational benefits, including faster time to market, increased flexibility and reduced costs as well as enabling the development of new, and innovative, products and services.

We’ve seen organisations respond to the pandemic lockdown by exploiting cloud computing, whether providing entire workforces with remote working capabilities or upscaling their digital footprint to cater for larger volumes of online traffic. The cloud has played a significant role in quickly providing the extra IT infrastructure capacity needed.

In recent months, the value of cloud computing models has been experienced by many organisations. But the cloud is not just for crises.

Cloud models can enable business transformation and deliver corporate objectives, but only if deployed in the right way. Get it wrong and it could cost your business, financially and reputationally.

Particularly in a crisis, organisations tend to retrench, become very inward focused and attempt to solve complex problems that sit outside of their own core competence. This can be a high-risk approach that often leads to expensive mistakes.

A wealth of tech industry research identifies lack of skills and expertise as one of the continued top challenges impacting cloud adoption – not to mention the speed in which technology is advancing leaving some organisations behind from a skills perspective. This is why looking outside your own organisation can be a highly beneficial move.

Every organisation has a unique set of goals, challenges, opportunities and resources; but it is likely that others will have faced and solved similar problems and may have exploited similar opportunities.

External insight and expertise from the right partner can help deliver solutions faster, reduce risk and avoid unnecessary cost – all while identifying additional opportunity for change and maximising benefits. Often, it is only by introducing an external partner into the mix that an existing IT landscape can be fully evaluated, free from long-held corporate or individual beliefs and attitudes.

Admittedly, spending and investing during uncertain economic times feels like a very counter-intuitive move. Indeed, managing cash flow is crucial, but the businesses that stand still during a downturn are rarely the ones that make it to the other side. Making the right decisions at the right time can lead to opportunities to thrive in the subsequent upturn.