It's a tough market out there. Whatever happens in the next two years with Britain's exit from the EU or the introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the chance is that it's only going to get tougher. We can't accurately predict what the next two to five years will look like, but putting in place safeguards and preparations now will mean more likelihood of success.

The competitiveness of the market also means challenges and opportunities. Businesses must constantly innovate to remain relevant and introduce real change. Running a business in such an uncertain climate, and making sure that business is successful, is not going to be smooth sailing, but it will be an exciting journey.

Because of that, it has never been more important to have the organisation in good shape, as well as every employee working towards its success. A 'sea-worthy craft' with a fully engaged crew, equipped with the tools, skills and knowledge that they need to keep the ship afloat and heading in the right direction, is vital. Those at the helm need to identify the challenges ahead, recognize hazards when they arise, to give themselves the best chance of survival.

A big part of that is having the tools to change tack or alter course quickly and easily in light of changes in the market. In an increasingly digital world, that means investing in or upgrading technologies that will help the business cope with its challenges. Taking full advantage of these investments also means ensuring that every member of the business has access to the technology that will support their job and they are trained to use it.

Unfortunately, according to our latest study of business and IT leaders and employees in the UK and Ireland, this isn't happening. Communication and transparency across businesses seem to be lacking with many employees reporting that they're not being given the business insights and technical support they need to perform at their best. Whilst there is confidence and comprehension at a senior level, the business vision and direction of travel clearly needs to be filtered down to the rest of the organization. There also needs to be better alignment on who's responsible for what when it comes to changing regulations and meeting key challenges, such as increasing cyber threats, head on.

The journey towards business success is not an easy one. A robust, reliable and trusted 'digital compass' will be an essential aspect of navigating today's technologically-dependent world; keeping the ship afloat and the business on course to its commercial destination. Now is the time for clarity and focus. Businesses need all hands on deck to be aligned to a single purpose. They also need to concentrate investments and effort on building a vessel fit to traverse whatever lies en-route to new shores of opportunity.

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