The ongoing trade wars, World War T, are heating up. World War T is not just about steel and aluminum and tariffs on autos. It will soon stretch into just about every sector of the economy. Other nations all want a piece of this war. Some democracies have leaders that need to show their voters that they are doing something and they will raise tariffs on U.S. imports. We assess that many dictatorships and centrally controlled economies (especially Russia and China) will consider their long term interests are to keep milking the West and will try to make it hard on the U.S. during the early stages of the trade war to hope for a quick resolution. So this can get painful quick.
At CTOvision we are tracking the many aspects of World War T but will focus our reporting on the technological dimensions.
For now we encourage you to consider the following steps:
- Analyze your technology dependencies. Who do you license software from? Who does your support come from? Analyze whether or not support will suffer as the trade war heats up.
- A key dependency is always the supply chain. What parts of your supply chain will be impacted by the gathering storm? Will small businesses that serve you be under pressure because of the trade war? Will any be bought by larger firms? Will they be bought by overseas firms? Will investors supplying cash to your supply chain be under pressure? Will it cause an impact on your technologies?
- If you sell technology or tech related services (don't we all?) analyze your markets carefully. Now is a great time to review and decide whether you should diversify into other markets, withdraw from markets where you have less hope of dominance, or focus on markets where you have a greater chance of significant growth. A key market to consider is the U.S. federal government (see:Tech CEOs: When will you know if it is time to stand up your federal office?)
- Continuously consider your cybersecurity preparedness. Cyberattacks will almost certainly shift as World War T progresses, and it is hard at this time to predict how. Some adversaries may decide to make direct attacks against U.S. manufacturing to degrade and disrupt production. So stay agile in defense. Ensure your team is following Cybersecurity Best Practices. Sign up for and read our Daily Threat Brief.
- Continuously track the coming sanctions beyond tariffs. This includes restrictions on doing business in certain markets (we will track the technological related restrictions as we can and will provide our context here).
- Now is the perfect time to revisit your internal processes and costs. From a technological standpoint, are you making the most of your IT investments? Are you ready to accelerate your transition to a cloud based approach?
- Most all enterprises have been studying cryptocurrency and blockchain based use cases and capabilities. Depending on your business this may be a time to double down on solutions that can help you move value from overseas into your company.
We will follow up on this list of considerations with insights into coming moves. Till then stay agile!