Keep calm and carry on? There are big changes ahead for the UK tech channel…

The UK is in a state of shock after its decision to leave the EU, but in this opinion piece, PCR editor Dominic Sacco hopes that the decisions made can present a positive future for the tech channel.

Keep calm & carry on?

Ah, the old British adage that always seems to rear its head when times get tough.

Everyone reacted differently following the decision to leave the European Union, with some sharing the image of the classic poster on Facebook. I have to admit I’m a bit tired of seeing so many different iterations of it nowadays, but those motivational words seem more relevant than ever regarding the state of UK tech and business.

As outlined in our big Brexit feature, the pound’s initial drop in value against the dollar has already had a serious impact on companies across the channel. Some vendors have raised their prices to deal with the change, with disties and resellers passing the hike on to their customers.

One senior distribution source told me they fear the decision to leave the EU may result in a recession later this year. This tallies with what Scan Computers’ boss Shelley Raja told PCR earlier this year, when the pound started to waver. 

In my opinion, his words from February still stand up right now: “Things are very turbulent and exchange issues will affect the revenues at Scan throughout 2016 for sure. Tech buyers are paying more now and will be in the near future.”

Another huge announcement was made in July, with Japanese group Softbank agreeing to purchase Britain’s biggest tech firm and smartphone chip manufacturer ARM for £24 billion.

It’s the latest deal which has seen channel firms swallowed up by big foreign investors, including UK etailer Overclockers being bought by German firm Caseking in 2012, and US supplier giant Ingram Micro agreeing to be sold to China’s HNA for around £4 billion earlier this year.

Some fear big foreign investors owning large parts of UK plc, while others welcome it. One thing I’ve learnt during my time as a journalist covering the tech market, is that I’m no longer surprised when huge corporations make sudden job cuts (regardless of whether they have headquarters overseas or not). 

If more investment means more jobs, I’m all for it. I believe firms are only as successful as the people within them. Let’s hope the decisions made over the past month present a bright future for our industry here in the UK – and all of us who make it what it is.

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