Algorithms capture the knowledge that turns raw data into valuable insight, and CIOs must use them to drive speed, scale and consistency in their digital business journey
Digital disruptors such as algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), bots and chatbots are already transforming businesses.
Gartner vice president Steve Prentice says the analyst firm expects that algorithmic business will create even greater levels of disruption and new industries.
To support the new capabilities and business models of digital and algorithmic business, CIOs must design and deploy their digital business technology platform, says Prentice.
"Fueled by data, analytics and AI, algorithmic business will continue to grow and disrupt your business," says Prentice, who spoke at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2016 in South Africa.
"This growth is unabated as algorithms are feasting on the wealth of data that grows inexorably."
More than 500,000 new devices connect to the Internet every hour, and every one of them simply adds to the inevitable growth of data.
Algorithms, meanwhile, are taking centre stage in the race for competitive differentiation as leading organisations uncover their true value.
"Algorithms capture the knowledge that turns raw data into valuable insight, and CIOs must use them to drive speed, scale and consistency in their digital business journey," says Prentice.
"Applied to huge datasets, algorithms allow highly accurate, personalised offerings, which in turn can drive revenue and differentiation."
At a minimum, the IT organisation needs to be able to design the 'big picture' of all the new information and technology capabilities required to support digital business.
Algorithms are already well established in many industries. In human resources, in order to evaluate candidates' suitability for specific roles, algorithms are used to match talent very quickly to the work that needs to be done within an organisation.
Eventually, algorithms will replace both manual processing of CVs by recruiters and automated CV ranking based on word matching. In other industries, organisations are making advanced algorithmic models available via open marketplaces, which ultimately facilitates access to algorithms that are beyond the development reach of many organisations.
In parallel, AI has advanced dramatically during the past year. When enhanced with "machine learning" through the application of capabilities such as deep neural networks, AI is starting to outperform humans in some areas, he states.
Algorithms, AI, bots and smart things will dominate business interactions during the next few years: AI and bots currently allow platforms to gain a voice, while algorithms and AI will deliver the intelligence to empower a new generation of robots, cobots and drones and self-driving vehicles.
"CEOs must ensure their CIOs are actively engaged in embracing those new business opportunities," says Prentice.
He says pace of digital disruption demands a new approach to IT, he states.
"CIOs must build their digital business technology platform to support the development of digital business," says Prentice. "At a minimum, the IT organisation needs to be able to design the 'big picture' of all the new information and technology capabilities required to support digital business. The CIO can then work with the rest of the organisation to define who — if not IT — will build, fund, support and own these major components.
When enhanced with 'machine learning' through the application of capabilities such as deep neural networks, AI is starting to outperform humans in some areas
Prentice lists the five major platforms of digital business:
- Information systems platform, which supports the back office, and operations such as enterprise resource planning and core systems.
- Customer experience platform, which contains the main customer-facing elements, such as customer and citizen portals, multichannel commerce and customer apps.
- Data and analytics platform, which contains information management and analytical capabilities. Data management programs and analytical applications fuel data-driven decision making, and algorithms automate discovery and action.
- Internet of Things (IoT) platform, which connects physical assets for monitoring, optimization, control and monetisation. Capabilities include connectivity, analytics and integration to core and operational technology systems.
- Ecosystems platform, which supports the creation of, and connection to, external ecosystems, marketplaces and communities; API management, control and security are its main elements.
"You can't afford to stay on the sidelines of this digital and algorithmic business wave. Define your algorithm, AI, ecosystem and digital platform strategies now," says Prentice.
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