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Five business predictions for 2019: What can we expect?

As we move into 2019 and close our doors in 2018, some may say that we are in for a turbulent year. With lots of unanswered questions, the prospect of Brexit in the forefront of our minds and the rise in political and global issues, it is important for businesses to remain vigilant, have a developed responsive strategy in place and prepare for the challenges that 2019 is going to throw at us. The number one factor for a successful 2019 is the ability to always pay attention to constant process improvements and remaining aware of the changes to tech.  

If you ask a room of strategy consultants what they expect from 2019 I’m sure you’ll get a diverse range of answers. But the following topics and trends are likely to arise.

Political and Global issues causing a stir

As the UK prepares for Brexit in March there are still questions lingering on “If” and “how” the UK will withdrawal from the EU and the ever-growing concerns around the UK economy crash that may occur following the leave. For businesses, this can be a cause for concern and all companies should have a strategy in place in case this crash occurs. Many larger UK companies are shifting investments out of the UK and firms are starting to relocate offices. However, this cannot be the case for smaller companies who need an internal strategic plan to maintain business. The disbelief that Brexit will not affect your business is obscure and all companies need to be ready for the impact and changes that will happen alongside it.

The messiness and politics that have come alongside Brexit and divided the nation have made the whole process rather confusing to the rest of the world. But Brexit does hold lessons for the global economy, showing that the days of accelerating economic and financial globalisation with a positive correlation are gone. The outcomes of Brexit will be interesting for the world to watch, but we need to remember that it is not just the UK that will be affected by such issues. The rest of the world is also facing profound challenges of its own. Political and economic systems are undergoing structural changes, many of them driven by technology, trade, climate change, high inequality and mounting political anger. All of which are going to become very prominent in 2019.

A continued rise in AI

In 2019 we can expect a rise in the experimentation of the use of intelligence – both artificial and human to analyse data and make decisions. AI in 2019 will be the year of specialised AI systems based on companies own data needs, it will also enable greater process discovery. 2019 will be the year that we begin to understand the benefits of AI and begin to utilise it.

Businesses will be competing to use AI in the race for talent and it will begin to be used in recruitment where firms will utilise human intelligence alongside the use of AI. According to Gartner machines will perform more than 40% of data science tasks by 2020 and this will become clear as we head to the latter part of 2019.

Automation and real-time data will drive

Everyone wants to do less but with a greater outcome so in 2019 we will see a move to automation, businesses will continue to demand more automation as it is central to their business strategies. By the end of 2019, automation will eliminate 20% of all service desk interactions, due to a successful combination of cognitive systems, RPA, and various chatbot technologies. Ten per cent of jobs will be lost but 3 per cent will be created and it will allow more time to be spent on less mundane tasks. It has been predicted that by the end of 2019 40% of organisations will have invested in automation frameworks and will be using them to automate processes, drive best practices and apply these different automation methods to business problems and issues.

Gig Economy – A move to freelance

With 66% of big companies now using flexible workers and one in three workers being freelance, the gig economy is taking a step towards freelance. This change can be due to the changing attitude of work, the option to freelance for millennials and Gen Z is attractive as it means that they can prioritise what is most important to them. Employers are also using gig workers to lower costs and meet project needs. Using freelancers can help companies plug skills that they are missing and fulfil current needs in order to stay competitive in the market without having to increase headcount and overall commitment costs. This will continue to keep expanding as we go through 2019 and head into 2020.  

Investment in skills and training

With all the turbulence of 2019 companies are going to have to invest in training and retaining their staff, this investment can boost their staff skills and in turn achieve business goals. Improving your training and competencies within the teams means that you build teams that are agile and capable of evolving with the times. Training can also be a key differentiator for companies that are competing for top talent; employees want to work for companies that take time in their employees and offer personal and professional development. During a turbulent year, the retainment of your staff is essential and therefore this investment in training and learning is going to become a prominent topic in 2019.