The reason I’ve stressed the real in the headline is because, wherever you look for predictions about 2018, there is one some subject that crops up all the time - the impact of artificial intelligence. Pundits are foreseeing artificial intelligence having an effect in sectors as varied as healthcare, retail, manufacturing and the media.

The truth is we will see significant progress in how technology develops, together with the readiness of industry and commerce to adopt it. But all the benefits that artificial intelligence will bring are, relatively speaking, still a way off.  And the challenges that businesses will face in 2018 are considerably closer. In fact, they’re here.


These challenges will be different for each market, and indeed each company, but they will have things in common. The backdrop of Brexit, the fiscal pressure of an, albeit small, interest rise at the same time as continued tightening of resources - all of these will need addressing. And what’s more, companies will need to work hard to find a point of difference in an increasingly competitive arena.

Survival will need a determined focus on customer service, a real commitment to consistent improvement and the flexibility to turn strategy into sales in a fast changing market. It’s going to need some real intelligence.

Now, artificial intelligence may well have a role in enhancing your customer service offering in the future. But being ready to tackle the challenges of the short term means it’s essential that you have the right IT in place now, and that it’s fully operational. 

You, your directors and all your team will have plenty to do in getting on with the job. The job you know. What would be really intelligent would be to use  a specialised, accountable, external resource to audit your existing and develop your future IT needs.