Looking up, out and ahead of 2018

By Brendan Monaghan, CEO, Neueda

 

A new year brings with it fresh impetus; an opportunity to take stock and renew our focus on the future. That said, successful leaders have the future in mind at all times – thinking above and beyond the ‘now’ to see what’s coming down the track.

In the IT sector, change is not just around the corner, it’s everywhere - all the time. The speed at which technology develops is increasing constantly and, like organisations across all sectors, companies like Neueda must ‘read the road’, assess the trends, challenges and opportunities that we need to stay ahead of, in order to remain competitive.

The pervasive nature of technology means there are few sectors that are not impacted by emerging global trends in IT. One such mega trend we all need to be mindful of is the growth of robotics.

With customer service chat bots and machine-based professional services becoming more prevalent, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming better and disrupting how many traditional businesses operate. Undoubtedly many of you reading this will have either made changes to reflect these developments or are in the process of reviewing how your systems could be transformed. From an IT perspective, these changes are having a huge impact on the solutions we offer our clients.

The ongoing movement towards globalisation is also an effect we continue to witness. Many operations, IT services included, can be delivered from anywhere around the globe with the proper talent and structure in place. For instance, we have team members in the US servicing clients alongside our people in Belfast. The world is simply a smaller place these days; we need to think globally and set aside any limited thinking about our capabilities.

An organisation is, of course, only as successful as its people, and organisations need to be mindful of Millennials and the even younger bracket, the digitally-minded ‘iGeneration,’ whose needs and motivations are so different to those of the generations that went before them.  

By 2025, 72% of the workforce will be made up of Millennials or ‘Generation Y,’ people born between 1980 and the mid-1990s. Research shows that salary is not the driving factor for this audience – indeed a positive workplace culture and sense of appreciation take a higher priority when it comes to career choices. Flexibility and balance are also important with remote working becoming a more efficient and effective option for employers and employees alike.

The challenge for all organisations, not just the IT sector, is to tap into that younger audience and create appealing, dynamic career opportunities and workplaces that will take us into a future that their generation will have to lead.

For Neueda, 2018 is set to be a big year. We have ambitious growth plans and a major recruitment drive underway. But to make it a successful year, we need to remain disruptive in our thinking and adapt quickly to emerging trends and market developments, whilst nurturing new talent and continuing to build a culture of trust, respect and opportunity.

Like most Northern Ireland business owners, I believe a major priority in 2018, and indeed the foreseeable future, must be a return to sustained political stability. 

Brexit will undoubtedly present a number of political and economic challenges, but our politicians can and must work together to put in place an Assembly focused on the good of Northern Ireland; one which can positively influence how Brexit will impact upon our economic prosperity.

Northern Ireland has become a fintech hub thanks to its rich talent pool, low overheads and valuable geographic location as an access route to Europe. Almost 20% of Neueda’s workforce come from outside Northern Ireland, with a large portion of these people relocating here from countries such as Spain, Italy and Germany. With a stable Executive in place, we can grasp the opportunity to further cement Belfast’s position as a city of choice for EU-wide talent.

These uncertainties aside, we remain determined and believe we are resilient enough as an organisation to navigate challenges and deliver on our objectives.

The public and private sectors in Northern Ireland share a tremendous sense of goodwill and an ambitious vision of how Northern Ireland’s economy should look not by the end of 2018, but in 2020 and beyond. By keeping looking upward and outward, we can make that vision a reality.

I wish all of you a very prosperous and successful year ahead.