Mhlnews 10835 Predictions 2019 Final

What to Expect in 2019: MIT Business Experts Weigh In

Jan. 4, 2019
One of the biggest sources of financial uncertainty in 2019 will be international tariff policy and its impact on product demand.

The Sloan School of Management at MIT, gathered together a group of experts for their take on what 2019 will look like.

Human Capital Management

Technology will continue to transform how we work. And most studies show that by allowing automation to do the repetitive, low-valued-added task, people are able to move toward innovation and problem-solving

“Before making big cutbacks in personnel when making technological investments, it will be good to think carefully and take a step back,” Sharmila Chatterjee, MIT Sloan senior lecturer in marketing, “One of the biggest mistakes will be cutting the human interface too quickly.”

Software  Will Continue to Dominate Markets

Software has always been a tool help companies become more profitable.  "Look for more startups focusing on how to help developers drive software development productivity, he said. “I am especially interested in companies focusing on the 'citizen developer,' a term used to describe how software development impacts the entire organization — marketing, sales, finance, and of course engineering,” MIT Sloan lecturer Lou Shipley said.

Where to Put Your Money

Looking at purchases to make in 2018, Shipley advises companies to "focus on their procurement 'tail spend' — that is, smaller purchases that don’t make it onto a company’s management radar, Shipley advised.

SEC Reforms and Tariff Policy
One of the biggest sources of financial uncertainty in 2019 will be international tariff policy and its impact on product demand, predicted Chester Spatt, a  visiting professor of finance at MIT Sloan. That uncertainty is likely to limit investments in new facilities — both domestic and overseas.

“The SEC has proposed a significant natural experiment to help understand the impact and distortions created by the fine structure of fees and rebates,” Spatt said. “The SEC also is likely to revisit and may undertake significant reforms to modernize the proxy process in such areas as communication, the voting process, and the role of voting advisers to asset managers.” Improving trading structure would increase marketing liquidity, reduce the cost of capital, and improve capital formation, Spatt said. Easier funding is, of course, important to business leaders, as is a modernized proxy system.

Retail Workforce

In order to be able to compete for workers, the industry will both increase wages and stabilize worker's schedules says MIT Sloan professor of operations management Zeynep Tonexpects.“The labor market is very tight, and a lot of retailers that I speak to are competing for talent and having trouble finding the right people,” Ton said. “Those retailers that can create an environment where employees are productive and where they can contribute a lot to the company’s success will do fine.”

Tonexpects also notes that "employees who are dissatisfied with conditions at their current employer find it easy to move to one that can accommodate them better."

As retailers shift more toward digital and omnichannel business models, workers will also be expected to take on a wider range of tasks and responsibilities, and that will necessitate better compensation, Ton said, pointing out that many of these changes are being driven by local- and state-level legislation concerning wages and scheduling.

For the complete list see the article by Tom Relihan and Meredith Somers.

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