Chris Burke, CEO, Brickendon

Innovation will be the key to growth in 2019

Brickendon, the transformational consultancy, forecasts key trends set to make waves in the business sector

  • Chris Burke, CEO, Brickendon

Innovation is not a new concept and whilst many businesses have already put a big emphasis on embracing it, in 2019 there will need to be a larger and more focused approach to drive it forward. Those businesses that fail to innovate, and quickly embrace technological innovations as part of their core offerings, risk being left behind in the race to triumph in the competitive global market.

As predicted, GDPR and Brexit dominated the conversation in 2018 and trends like data analytics, digitalisation and automation also held their own throughout the year. Now, as we enter 2019, businesses will have to look for new disruptive ways of staying ahead of their competition.

At Brickendon, we forecast the following five trends will dominate the 2019 business agenda.

  1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Embracing and utilising AI is now crucial for businesses that are looking for new ways to innovate and grow. As the level of AI utilisation across different industries significantly increases, businesses are experiencing notable results. As a result, organisations will find it increasingly difficult to ignore the movement and if they do, will ultimately get left behind their competitors.

We’ve already seen that regulation has the potential to impact machine learning, however with smart implementation AI has the capability to significantly reduce costs, free-up internal resources and increase revenues.

  1. Utilising Data While data will continue to dominate business agendas, the emphasis on innovation through use of data is expected to increase. 2019 will see a move beyond simply decoding data, using analysis and understanding algorithms to provide context around predictions. Going forward, the key will be explainability and insight, along with algorithms and technology that focus on solution-based production activities. As it stands, data science has numerous proof-of-concepts in silos, but the emphasis will now shift to how to turn those concepts into scalable solutions. Businesses will need to focus on developing sophisticated software house capabilities while they work towards meeting their business goals.

  2. The Role of Financial Regulation In many ways regulation has become excessive over the past few years, with most of it emerging as a knee-jerk reaction to unexpected financial issues, errors and misconduct. These regulations also played a major role in bringing misconduct into the spotlight as such businesses that evaded these regulations previously are now facing repercussions.

In order to thrive amidst the growing regulations, businesses will have to look for innovative ways to adapt to emerging technology. Offering updated core assets will not only give these brands first mover advantage but also distinguish them from their competitors.

In 2019 the impact of regulators on the financial services sector is set to decrease, with the regulatory agenda taking on a more business-as-usual form and focusing on ongoing conduct. Regulators are however expected to take more of a pro-active approach and apply their experiences to some of the as-of-yet relatively untouched areas of business.

  1. Brexit A look ahead is not complete without a nod to Brexit. While questions remain over whether progress is being made in the overall debate, Brexit will continue to dominate the agendas and minds of businesses on all sides of the Atlantic. The biggest risk to any business is uncertainty and the longer the process takes, the more likely firms are to look for jurisdictions where they can make long-term decisions with confidence. All businesses, but especially those in financial services, should be prepared not only for multiple scenarios and ongoing change, but also to survive any potential crises caused by major uncertainties which come out of the finalisation of the Brexit deal.

  2. Future of the workforce With AI and machine learning revolutionising the way businesses operate, the workforce will go through enormous transition to prepare for the future. 2019 will see more automation through machine learning and robotics, changing the need in the workforce from repetitive and predictable tasks to more strategic and value-adding roles. This is not to say that we will see a significant reduction in the workforce as the increased ability via AI and robotic process automation (RPA) will also proportionally increase the expectations from customers, regulators and agents.

As a result, 2019 may bring financial services and technology firms closer as they work in tandem to add more value to the service they provide.

2019 – What’s next? To conclude, the biggest unknown in 2019 is Brexit and its outcome is impossible to predict. Excluding this elephant in the room, 2019 is likely to see a continuation of momentum in some of the areas that have come under the spotlight in 2018. We will see data analytics and regulation take on a significant role in shaping the future of businesses in the UK. Firms will need to be prepared to do things differently and place innovation at their core to sustain growth and market position in the turbulent markets.

As always, how things will play out precisely remains to be seen, but if 2018 has taught us anything, it is that businesses globally will need to push for innovation to be at the top of their agenda if they are to succeed in what is becoming an increasingly tight and competitive marketplace.

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