Welcome 2019 and what might you have in store for us?

Greg Davies

Greg Davies
Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
4th January 2019

It only seems like yesterday I was getting ready for Christmas and yet now it has not only passed but we are into 2019 too. So what might the coming year hold for us?

2018 saw a range of development both in our marketplace as well as in wider business, with an number of high profile IT related problems,(including information security and cyber-attacks) supply chain issues (we know who they were), fines - particularly for health and safety related offences - continuing to increase, GDPR and a degree of political uncertainty (again we know what).

The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) Horizon Scan Report 2018 not only looked at threats and disruptions, including a number of the above, but also the “longer term trend analysis” it’s respondents were conducting as part of their “horizon scanning activity”. The ten covered:

  1. Use of internet for malicious attacks
  2. Loss of key employee
  3. Influence of social media
  4. New regulations and increased regulatory scrutiny
  5. Prevalence and high adoption of internet dependant services
  6. Political change
  7. Potential emergence of a global pandemic
  8. Increased supply chain complexity
  9. Changing consumer attitudes and behaviour
  10. Climate change

But what are the risks with these for 2019?

Where digitalisation, AI and robotics are set to further revolutionise our workplaces according to some, our ongoing and growing reliance on IT will continue to see these and, areas such as cyber-attack or denial of service (points 1. and 5.) as predictable vulnerabilities.

An increasingly competitive jobs and skills market driving employee changes (point 2.) could certainly prove a challenge for organisations to attract and retain employees. 

For different reasons Carillion and KFC had issues with supply chain (point 8.), and as a consequence social media influence (point 3.). If the current media (social and/or other) reports are true there could be others like them in a similar position this year.

With 29th March approaching political change and regulatory scrutiny/change (points 6. and 4.) are also more than ably covered, which leaves three on the list for further consideration.

The potential for the next pandemic (point 7.) cannot ever be discounted. While our significant advances in medical science and disease management has seen better control - in 2009 (influenza) and more recently in managing the spread of Ebola (2014), Zika, MERS, Bird flu and measles and mumps are possible other candidates for a range of reasons. Factor in travel and a changing climate, and the historic demographics may also not apply in the future.

Finally if I were to say plastic, points 9. and 10. are wholly encompassed and covered. The most notable outcome being the speed with which consumer attitude changed and then how businesses reacted to it.

On the wider implications of climate change (point 10.) the sobering warning from the UN on the physical, social and economic effects a 2°C rise in temperature could have, is still fresh in the mind. While it won’t directly affect 2019, 2019 will affect it, depending on what we do or don’t do, as the case may be.

The opportunity is we can be planning and we do have the ability to be in front of these issues – they have after all been predicted! Our health, safety and environmental management is a clear area of business investment therefore, not spend and it should be treated as such. It is good for staff, good for image, good for the planet and good for productivity and continuity.