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2018 – It’s here to stay

Here we are in early 2018, a time where all those earnest NYE resolutions and commitments (lose weight, get fit, eat healthy, find true love, have more dynamic relationships etc. etc. etc.) all lie behind us, busted and broken. 7% of the year has now been spent on sun, sport and sausages and now the real work for a new year begins.

Let’s explore some likely scenarios to help you be ahead of the game and your competitors.

  1. POLITICAL

2018 will see more by-elections as the Section 44 of the Constitution bungle will drive more MP’s back to the ballot box. That may lead to the current Federal government losing its micro-thin majority and an election before the end of the year. Tasmania and South Australia will also be off to the polls before 2018 is over. If you are a person who likes a bet, be careful not to back the wrong horse.

Overseas will see Brexit continue for our British cousins, and bankers and brokers in the US will no doubt be hoping the bull run on the stock market continues despite whatever happens to Bitcoin, Blockchain or (more particularly) to a certain besieged President.

We suggest the political landscape will continue to be uncertain, with changes likely in government, both here and overseas.

  1. LEGAL

A busy year ahead on the legal front. First up is the Mandatory Notification of Data Breaches which comes into law on 22 February 2018. What it means is that if there is a data breach you must have a plan to deal with it that complies with your obligations under the Privacy Act (reporting and notification type obligations). Large fines for both corporate and individual offenders apply so if you are not aware of what you need to do, then now is the time to take advice.

As this article is being written, GoGet (a car hire company) has notified its Customers of a hacking where personal data may have been compromised. Gear yourself (pun intended) for the likely possibility that it could be you or your business on the receiving end of a breach and be prepared.

Other legal matters of note include the ATO notifying Credit Reporting Bodies of tax related debt, more progress on Illegal Phoenix activity proposals before the Government and further Insolvency Reform.

  1. SOCIAL

With all our personal data everywhere and by using analytics to predict behaviour, we are seeing the emergence of AI into our lives. It started with simple things like using our GPS systems to direct us, our phones to do our daily tasks more easily (like banking) and now we are looking at the emergence of AI assistants. Siri, Google Home, Alexa, Cortana and others will (supposedly) make our lives easier – no need to look out the window for weather, no need to remember the words of a song and no need to turn the light on, your AI assistant will do it all for you.

Think this is far-fetched? Just think back to when Netflix came on the scene a few years back. Who at that time would have thought that it would possibly grow to the extent that today it is valued at more than $US100 billion? Get ready for these assistants to predict what you want at any one time and all you will have to do is say Yes or No – “It’s Friday night, a Pizza Supreme whilst playing some Coldplay before the new Netflix movie?”

The real question is how can you ensure that your business is a part of this rapidly evolving AI assisted social movement? Like Netflix, it is here to stay and will grow rapidly.

  1. BUSINESS

One of the big changes to occur in 2018 will be the introduction of the National Payments Platform (the “NPP”). The NPP is a payment platform that has been in development since 2013. It is being funded and developed by all the major banks and the RBA. It will provide a fast, real-time 24/7 payment platform that will not require BSB’s and account numbers for payments to be made. As the platform is adopted by business, consumers and government, the NPP will improve efficiencies, provide better Customer service and lower costs.

2018 will be the year that data driven analyses will come into its own, especially when it comes to dealing with your Customers. You will be able to verify the accuracy of information, have it analysed to indicate likely behaviours and respond accordingly. This process is not only important at the beginning of the Customer relationship but critical once the relationship is established and your business is financially exposed to the fortunes of the Customer.

In 2018, data will be king (again). It’s time we all acknowledged the increasing important role data plays in all our lives.

  1. PERSONAL

Us humans are a weird bunch, full of doubt and misgivings and often uncertain in who we are and what we want/need. David Maister, once known as the Guru’s Guru, would often insist that his Harvard students could answer the question, “What is it that you want to be famous for?” 2018 could be the year that you address that question and try to answer it. It may be making money, being “successful” or even just being a happy person. But it is important to have a sense of who you are and your values and to try and be the best version of yourself (even though most of us fail miserably at that task).

Maybe 2018 is the year that you finally resolve to “get my sh*t together”, plan how and do it. “They” say that you are at your best when you are out of your comfort zone, maybe this year is the one to see if that is true for you.

         THE WRAP UP  

A New Year is an exciting time where you can approach your “challenges” with a new eye and a renewed zest for getting on with the job at hand. 2018 is now, not next week. All our clocks are ticking and there is no time to waste. As a once popular PM once said, “There has never been a more exciting time to be alive.” He was right; the future has arrived, all we have to do is to see it and be a part of it.


Ledlin Lawyers is a boutique legal firm of specialist credit, insolvency and business lawyers. For more information, go to www.ledlinlawyers.com.au