Business This Week: results, indicators and meetings

Can’t touch this: the rise of the intangible economy


Indicators: UK mortgage approvals (Feb); German import prices (Feb).


Results: Ferguson.

Indicators: Irish overseas travel (Feb); euro zone money supply and loan growth (Feb), consumer and business confidence (Mar), industrial, services and economic sentiment (Mar), consumer inflation expectations (Mar).


Meetings: Ibec Business Leaders' Conference (Convention Centre Dublin); Cork Chamber Spring Speed Networking 2018 (River Lee Hotel, Western Road, Cork).

The 2018 Ibec Business Leaders’ Conference is to explore the theme of the “intangible economy”, as well as the future of work, achieving sustainable growth and what it means for business.

The list of international speakers includes Jonathan Haskel, author of Capitalism without Capital, which examines Apple and the fact it owns virtually no physical assets but is of immense value nevertheless.

Haskell and co-author Stian Westlake argue that investment in the intangible is now more important than traditional assets, replaced as they are by the likes of design, branding and software. It is a concept that fits Ireland well.

“Ireland’s business model of substance is decades in the making, and has developed out of tactical policy planning and implementation, including the best international practice in taxation,” said Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy ahead of the conference.

"The OECD corporation taxation reforms and the dynamic changes in international economics have favoured Ireland as a highly globalised business model, and have accelerated it to the fastest growing economy in the European Union. "

For small, open countries like Ireland, says McCoy, it is important that global economies remain committed to the open policies that have benefitted so many, and that the nature and structure of the Irish business model is understood.


Results: Naturex.

Indicators: Irish retail sales (Feb); German consumer confidence (April); US mortgage applications and rates (Mar), corporate profits (Q4), GDP (Q4), goods trade balance (Feb).

Meetings: Fans Engagement Conference on the business of sport (Aviva Stadium, Dublin).

Imagine Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid for a rival club and bringing with him all the digital data painstakingly compiled by his former employer.

It is possibly a bad example given the obvious supremacy of Ronaldo's on-field achievements, but the added-value of athletes being able to offer data on their careers is becoming an increasing reality, according to Sportego, the Irish analytics firm.

Freedom to access and pass on such information is likely to follow the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in May, and its consequences will be one of the main issues discussed at Sportego’s third FEC (Fans Engagement Conference) on Wednesday.

"There is a real lack of awareness of the potential that could be derived but it's going to be huge," says co-founder Trevor Keane.

Data increasingly stored by clubs includes nutritional and fitness information, observational data such as scouting reports and GPS information measuring physical performance numbers such as distance and speed. It could offer, says Keane, a potential competitive advantage to those who exploit it first.

“There is a bit of wait-and-see because they [GDPR]are just guidelines, so a lot of people will wait and see what their applications are in a legal situation.”

The benefit of such GDPR rules will be explored by Fiona Green, managing director of Winners.

Other speakers at the one-day conference include Barry Cunningham, digital marketing manager at the IRFU; Kerry Keenan, head of marketing and multimedia at Celtic FC; Marcus O'Buachalla, head of communication, Leinster Rugby; and Paul Morgan, communication director for Aviva Premiership Rugby.


Results: GAN.

Indicators: UK housing prices (Mar), GDP (Q4), business investment (Q4), mortgage approvals and lending (Feb), consumer confidence (Mar); German unemployment (Mar), inflation (Mar).

Meetings: Dublin Chamber tourism briefing (Ely Bar & Grill, Georges Dock, Dublin)