Digital businesses need their data to be as close to the customer as possible and this is especially true for ecommerce.
Sophisticated search functionality when it’s powered by big data improves the customer experience but it is highly dependent on the performance of the website a user encounters and consumers, especially those on mobile, are increasingly recognising latency as an issue; the days of having one website for all geographical regions are gone.
Business leaders need to think about how they are going to house their data in foreign countries. Within the EU, differences in legislation and uncertainty can form imposing barriers; outside of the EU, these are exacerbated.
We should be looking at measures to integrate and normalise processes, rather than obfuscate as a British exit from the union almost certainly would. SMEs have the most at stake because they are least able to afford legal consultation.
If we were to have a single digital market in the EU, businesses would look to employ a mixture of public and private cloud to reach their overseas customers. Private servers in member states could provide the security and availability of data, while relying on the continental scalability of public cloud.
The resulting environment would be much easier for digital businesses to flourish in as they would have a predictable and consistent arena.
However, if the UK was to exit the EU, then this would join other issues such as skills shortages in making business much more difficult.
Nigel Beighton is VP of Technology at Rackspace.