What’s Next? Houston Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Share 2019 Industry Predictions for High Tech, Healthcare, Accounting, Real Estate, and Cybersecurity

HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Whether in technology or any other field, if you want to know what’s
coming, ask entrepreneurs, the people who take big risks based on their
view of what’s next. Members of the Houston Chapter of Entrepreneurs’
Organization
(EO) share their take on what 2019 will look like in
their industries.

High Tech: James McDonough, Founder and CEO of Fat
Finger
, a technology company that transforms business processes with
smart, mobile forms, says, “2019 will be the year that large enterprises
take digitization efforts seriously and invest in people and projects.
Older themes like mobility, data, and the Internet of Everything (IoT)
are starting to show value and, combined with newer themes like AI, will
start to take hold. You will start to see employment titles like Digital
Transformation Lead, Chief Innovation Officer, and Innovation Manager
become common roles in most teams.” He also ponders, “When will we see
examples of blockchain and new profit-sharing models threaten existing
business models? How quickly will Machine Learning and AI be as common
to everyday small businesses as email? And how long will it take for the
physical world to be mapped to the digital world (Spatial Web, Web 3.0,
etc.), and how will we interact with these new digital layers?”

Healthcare: Ron Barshop, CEO of Beacon
Clinics
, predicts that hospitals will continue to replace primary
care physicians because of their pricing advantage. Independent primary
care physicians are selling their practices to larger institutions,
aging, and retiring in high numbers, and there are not enough docs in
this practice to replace them. Patients of the remaining independent
primary care docs should expect wait times to grow, and mergers among
the large healthcare providers will become even more common. He says,
“The big providers will continue consolidating care in fewer hands.”

Accounting: Gary Cooper, President/CEO of Cooper
CPA Group
, predicts more roll-ups and mergers. While noting that
local CPA firms (firms like his own) are becoming extinct, Cooper also
predicts that the economy will continue to grow. He states, “Most
businesses have largely experienced growth and diversity, which creates
a stronger revenue base for most CPA firms. Growth, diversity of
services, and better profit margins are the general outlook. On the less
positive side, Cooper also states that the increasing difficulty for CPA
firms in finding great employees will “limit some practices on the
amount of business that can be adequately handled.”

Commercial Real Estate: Mark Davis of Davis
Commercial
sees continued strength in the Houston commercial real
estate market. Mark cites positive contributing factors, including the
more than 130,000 jobs that have been created in Houston in the last 12
months, low unemployment, and record home sales. He says, “All segments
of the commercial market are strong, with the exception of office space,
which has been hammered by low oil prices and for which there is no
quick fix in sight.”

Cybersecurity: Cindy Boyd, founder of Sentigy,
says cybersecurity will continue to be a top concern for businesses in
2019. Even small companies, she says, “must prepare proactively for
continued threats to their data and intellectual property. We expect to
see a continuation of data breaches in business coming from a variety of
threat vectors, increasingly including nation states.” Boyd adds that
businesses dealing with critical infrastructure like the power grid,
pipelines, water and chemical plants need to be especially vigilant, and
that includes companies that are suppliers to these enterprises,
especially since suppliers’ systems have been used to gain access in a
number of recent breaches. She says, “Insurance companies are
increasingly limiting coverage for incidents and are requiring their
insured clients to have security programs in place that include
continuing security awareness training for all employees. Supply chain
partners are being vetted to make certain that their programs are also
in place.” Boyd also expects to see a growing shortage of qualified
cybersecurity workers as companies work to address their
vulnerabilities, even though universities and other educational
organizations are working to address the need.

Mortgage Banking: Robert Wagnon, CEO of Republic
State Mortgage
, says, “The second half of 2018’s decline in home
sales reflects a lack of inventory and the rising cost of homes. Home
prices are now at record highs, and inventory levels have begun climbing
back from 30-year lows. Rising mortgage rates, higher home prices and
global trade tensions have contributed to the decline. 2019 looks to
mirror the second half of 2018 with some growth but a general cooling.
Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home
Builders, said he expects single-family housing starts to grow less than
2%, down from about 4% this year and 8% in 2017. Texas, however, remains
an outlier, statistically outpacing the broader market.”

The Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) is the only global business
network exclusively for entrepreneurs. With 13,000+ members in 57
countries, EO is a member-led learning organization focused on engaging
and empowering its member leaders to learn from each other, leading to
greater business success and an enriched personal life.