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ON THE 2020 RADAR

What are the clear blips on the radar when we look ahead at the year 2020: Competitive Intelligence colleague Arun Jethmalani ran a few of these blips on his blog valuenotes.biz in December 2019 and I paraphrase:

1. Geopolitics and trade tensions: China and the US trade negotiations will continue and Brexit still causes upheavals in Europe. The various armed conflicts are unlikely to diminish. The world’s turbulent times will continue. For companies, competitiveness insights (competitive intelligence including scenario planning) will help businesses prepare for unexpected shocks. Global politics being an external factor companies have little influence power so they have to be able to adapt to these realities.

2. Climate change and living sustainable: Each day we are being confronted by news about the earth, of fires and weather turbulence and of the effects of pollution. Public pressure on governments to do something about the environment will intensify in 2020. Activist investors and consumers will push companies to think about their carbon footprint, and develop long terms plans to become more sustainable.

3. Data and more data: Humans, machines and companies will generate ever more data. Already companies collect far more data than they can analyze. Different data sets are not linked let alone centralised, and analysis is often half-baked or not done at all. Now there will be even more of the same. The focus in 2020 will shift from data collection to how best to use data to derive insights (enter competitive intelligence).

4. Extreme valuations for several new-age tech businesses will not sustain. After the poor listing performance by Uber and Lyft, and the WeWork fiasco; investors are now worrying about the “path to profitability”. Unfortunately many start-ups will not make the cut and deep pocketed giants (like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and their ilk) might find cheap acquisition targets.

5. The rise and rise of Asia: 2020 will further establish the rising heft of Asia. Regional trade pacts, growing outward investment from Japan and China, and manufacturing shifts from China to other countries will underpin Asian economies. With relatively stable governments and less conflict than other emerging regions, South and East Asia also represent some of the world’s largest economies, including some of the fastest growing such as India, China and Indonesia.

Thank you for the insights Arun