Key Business Trends Driving Success and Growth in 2019
2018 is long gone but the year has ended with some key trends that will both excite and concern global citizens in the 2019 year ahead.
Over the last year citizens around the world have had to deal with confronting issues such as fake news, revelations of privacy violations from agencies we trusted, the continued proliferation of blockchain technology, and rising wealth inequality.Today, business leaders, academics and other professionals continue to monitor a world that is ‘teetering’ on the edge of global conflict and financial challenges. On the positive side, we continue to be influenced by personal development, a focus on healthy living, technology developments, options to develop ourselves in education, wellbeing, and wealth.
So, I went to task – I analyzed loads of trending business data with the Bloomberg Terminal, research databases, and interviews conducted with business executives to discover what 2019 holds for us and how could you take advantage of these trends?Keep reading because I’ve compiled a high-level view of some of the most trending and talked-about business topics for digital marketers and entrepreneurs. Take note because you may be able to position yourself to take advantage of some of these trends to dominate the rest of this year.
Up-skilling With Micro and Nano-Degrees
Technology is outpacing the rate at which universities are able to adapt. As such, employers are in search of workers with the latest skills to remain competitive. For employees, skill refresher courses are the answer. Why? To stay relevant in a competitive and changing business environment.
Many accredited universities and educational institutions have discovered the lack of continuing education opportunities for professionals in the workforce. As such, they have come up with micro degrees. Take technology for instance. When AI and deep learning became popular, current employees had to learn in-house. This was the only available opportunity.
In 2017, IBM predicted that the demand for data science skills will grow by 28% by 2020 from 364,000 jobs to over 3 million. Today, IBM has revised this prediction and estimates the growth will be more than 45%. In 2012, the Harvard Business Review recognized data scientist as the “sexiest job of the 21st Century.”Thanks to nano degrees, you can now refresh your skills affordably.
Today, online education sites such as Udacity offer nano degrees in:
These programs are affordable and convenient for employees. In a year or so, nano degrees will include adaptive learning tools. This will aid in mapping student’s strengths and weaknesses. As such, it will go a long way in personalizing the student’s curricula.For those of you interested in appropriately exploiting this trend so that you can maintain your competitive advantage in the marketplace try enrolling in one of the affordable courses. If Udacity’s suite of subjects don’t interest you then try Udemy, Edx.org, or Khan Academy. There are multiple online education options available for anyone willing to learn and grow.
Cold War 2.0 - the US vs China
In the late 1970s, the US business leaders and diplomats supported the opening of US markets to Chinese products. This was important to induce Chinese rulers to open their political system and economy to the world. Well, today it is evident that this strategy has not worked at all.In 2018, the US administration led by current President Donald Trump, launched an effort to change the trade deficit dynamic with China. How? Trump has levied tariffs on $60 billion in Chinese goods and if current trade negotiations do not yield mutually improved terms the tariffs may increase. In response to US tariffs, China levied its own penalties aimed at US products.
What this has done is place China on notice that the US administration will not tolerate its mercantilist policies. That includes theft of intellectual property and others. Since the trade war will not escalate in the short term, the fight is on the technological front.
The two world superpowers have become protective of their technologies. The Americans have their AI models while the Chinese have their own. When it comes to social media, and the internet, the Chinese have their own as do the Americans.
There have also been espionage concerns involving Huawei. Recently, its finance chief is facing charges in the US. The US is accusing Huawei of close links with the Chinese government. As such, they fear that the company communication products may be used to spy on the US.What some experts predict is big trouble between the Chinese and Americans in the years to come.
Machine Learning and AI In Every Business And Industry
Let’s face it. AI and machine learning are among the top driving forces in society and business. In October 2018, Deloitte carried out a survey to find out the state of AI in the enterprise. From the study, Deloitte found out that 82% of businesses have invested in AI. These companies have already seen a financial return on their investment.
Today, we can say that machine learning and AI have transformed business operations. This explains why we have seen a dramatic rise in applications based on AI and machine learning. There are several AI and machine trends to watch out for in 2019.
In 2019, companies such as Google, IBM, Amazon, and Apple will invest in R&D of AI. This will bring AI and machine learning closer to customers. For instance, these companies will invest in FPGA and application specific integrated circuits. These custom chips will run AI applications for high-performance computing. A few of these chips will also assist the next generation databases. How? Through predictive analysis and query processing.
Another AI and machine learning trend to watch out for in 2019 is Industrial IoT. Not only can it perform predictive maintenance on equipment but root cause analysis.When it comes to Advanced ML models, they will deal with speech analysis, and unstructured data created. IoT will be the biggest driver of machine learning and AI for enterprise Edge devices.
Introduction of Digital Tax to Regulate Big Tech
Leaders in the EU are looking for ways to impose a digital tax and new regulations. Why? To protect its consumers from exploitation by Big Tech. For many years, the EU leaders have been unable to get the Big Tech to remit a similar percentage of tax. This is due to lack of a proper digital tax structure.
For a long time, US tech giants operating in Europe have evaded taxes. How? By domiciling profits in Netherlands and Ireland.
Well, in 2019, things are about to change. The EU is about to bring a lot of changes on the taxation front for Big Tech. At the moment, EU companies are paying an average of 23% in tax while digital companies are paying 8% to 9%.
This will be a percentage of the Big Tech revenue. In late 2018, the EU nations were unable to agree on the tax level for the turnover. Today, 5 EU countries are planning to impose 5% to 6% digital tax. This will begin before 2020.France already has a digital tax in place and one of the Big Tech companies, Google, is already complying.
Other non-EU countries expected to impose a digital tax on US companies include:
This is in line with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (“OECD”) promise of global taxation reform.
The EU has an anti-trust policy that has been in place for a few years now. Article 101 of the Treaty “prohibits agreements between two or more independent market operators which restrict competition.” This regulation covers vertical and horizontal agreements between companies operating at different levels. The law helps to prevent the creation of a cartel that involves market sharing and price fixing.
Article 102 of the Treaty “prohibits companies holding a dominant position in a certain market from abusing that position, for instance, unfair pricing, by limiting production and refusing to innovate to prejudice of consumers.”To curtail tax evasion by Big Tech, EU nations may turn to antitrust policies. Not only will this help to combat tax evasion, but it’s also intended to target cartels and distortions in the markets.
Working From Home
Between 1988 and 1998, 7 out of 8 companies had difficulty delivering 5.5% in earnings and revenue. What most people don’t know is that 90% of these companies had a detailed strategic plan in place. Research by Harvard Business Review reveals that 95% of employees are unaware of their company’s strategic plan. This sheds some light on why companies are unable to meet their annual growth in revenue.
Of course, not every company struggled to reach its annual growth targets. Many companies have achieved better-than-forecasted growth. One factor that plays a crucial role in the success of the business is communication.
Benefits of the Open Office Layout
Pitfalls of the Open Office Layout
Rising housing prices and population increase in cities may force businesses to open offices in smaller towns. Alternatively, employees are embracing working from home. Tools like GitHub, and Slack, allow employees to work on projects from their home office.
This model has lots of benefits compared to a traditional office and open office layout. They include:
Basically, we can conclude that the traditional office is slowly coming to an end. Yes, people will miss the conversations by the water cooler or the pub but they will have happier lives.
The trends above are just a few of those that will shape 2019 and the future. Other trends expected in 2019 include workforce diversity, #MeToo Phase 2, and automation.
Take workforce diversity for instance. It is a valuable asset for businesses seeking a competitive edge in the global economy. Companies that have embraced workforce diversity have broadened their skill base. Don't forget their innovation capability.
The #MeToo Phase 2 will pick up where the initial #MeToo campaign left. As you already know, many executives fell to the campaign as a result of their past bad behaviors. In 2019 and beyond, Phase Two will target middle-level leaders and other industries.
Access to your medical data by companies such as Apple is as a way of decentralizing medical records. This makes it easy for doctors and patients to access them. Think about it. When you change doctors, your medical records don’t accompany you. By providing easy access to medical records, Apple wants you to have control over your data. Problem is, we have seen the effects of Big Tech companies infringing on users privacy. A good example is Facebook-Cambridge Analytica saga.As a business, 2019 is yet another opportunity for you to profit and gain a competitive edge. To achieve this, automate your business processes, invest in AI, and focus on continued education for yourself and your employees if you are a business owner.