2019 Business Predictions: Dr Sophie Dale-Black, Midlands Regional Director, ICAEW

Dr Sophie Dale-Black

It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites readers to offer up their forecasts for the year ahead. It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this for almost 35 years.

And, while none of us possess a crystal ball, it is uncanny how accurate some of these forecasts have been over the years.

Here we catch up with Dr Sophie Dale-Black, Midlands Regional Director of the ICAEW.

Unsurprisingly, the state of the current Brexit negotiations means that predictions for businesses are uncertain, but what is predictable is that technology will be a force for change. We’ve seen Artificial Intelligence, blockchain and other technologies headlined throughout the year, and 2019 will be no different.

Technology is changing at a fast pace, and businesses will need to keep up. But technology is not something businesses should fear – far from it. If used to its full potential, AI can deliver extremely accurate outputs, blockchain can enhance transparency, and data can be collected at much larger rates and more quickly than before, identifying business trends and supporting the prediction of issues ahead of time.

There are huge advantages to new and emerging technologies, but they also come with some risks. Businesses will need to be aware of the ethics around use of technology, and have excellent cyber security in place, to protect their, clients’ and suppliers’ data. Looking to 2019 and beyond, businesses need to develop a deep understanding of how technology can solve problems, and the practical challenges and skills they need to have to work with new technologies and make the most of them.