A World Where Algorithms Are Changing Everything

May 19, 2016 by Anne-Frances Hutchinson

We are still parsing the volumes of great information we gleaned from Gartner's BI & Analytics Summit in March. This year’s closing keynote by Gartner Fellow Daryl C. Plummer tackled the startling realities of doing business in the digital age. It was an electrifying session packed with practical insights too good not to share.

About Daryl: Daryl C. Plummer is a managing vice president, chief of Research and chief Gartner Fellow. He is chief of research for cloud computing and a primary analyst covering multiple cloud topics, business process management, SOA and Web technologies. Mr. Plummer manages the Gartner Fellows Program, and is also Chief of Research for emerging trends and interacts with clients on topics ranging from application development to enterprise architecture. (Source: Gartner)

Session: Algorithms Are the Game Changers in a Digital Business

Algorithms in the context of digital evolution

Daryl kicked off the session by explaining that when we access and collect data and apply analytics to gain insight from that data, algorithms can be used to automate those analytics. Algorithms are rules that allow us to accomplish goals. “There are so many points of info - so much data - that we have to have software control to help us get from where we are to where they are, and increasingly, to where the things are,” Daryl noted, “because the IoT is upon us.”

Making peace with losing control in the age of the IoT

The dawn of the IoT is pushing leaders in every industry to consider deep questions about privacy. Daryl’s take? “Forget about it. Learn how to live in a world where you can’t expect privacy. You’re going to have to recognize that information about you is already out there, and you have to live with it, but you can verify what’s being done with it. You can prepare yourself to work with it more effectively.”

An anecdote about identity theft security provider LifeLock illustrated his point. The company doesn’t actually prevent identity theft; rather, they use the voluminous customer data that they collect to analyze and monitor transactions and detect fraud based on the patterns they identify. “They respond to that intrusion so quickly that the theft doesn’t matter,” he explained. “That’s dealing with living in a world of a mesh of connections that you can’t control. That’s using algorithms to detect when something’s wrong and how to actually fix it. This is the world we live in. We can’t control it. We can only survive it.”

In this context, surviving is actually thriving. “When you use your analytics talents -- analyze the way people work, not just the data that they collect but the way they work, the way they interact with one another, the way they interact with the data -- you may find opportunities for them to create new things that the business can use," Daryl said. If you’re on the business side, it gives you more freedom, more choice, more involvement.”

Daryl offered the following ways that we can be the architects of our futures through the transition:

  • Recognize that your people, business, and computing portfolios are going to get more complex, not less.
  • The IT landscape is more complicated than ever before and will only get more so as technology moves more into the hands of the people who use it and less under the control of the people who initially purchased or managed it.
  • Don’t try to fix or control everything. Determine what you will coordinate instead. “You don’t control. You give the right consulting services, you help as a coordinating body in your IT department, you create citizen developers and encourage people who are not IT professionals to do some of the IT work.”
  • Starting with the technology you had first will limit your ability to compete. “You don’t have to throw it away. But don’t let it limit your thinking because if it does, you can’t compete in a digital world where people think very differently from you. You have to learn to think differently.” 
  • “Attitudes are changing. Processes are changing. And you have to change. You have to change your attitudes – not the basic nature of what you do – because human beings are basically algorithmic beings.”

To hear more from Daryl on algorithms and the impact of analytics on business, go here. Captricity’s revolutionary mission is to provide accurate, secure and fast access to the customer data that makes innovation possible. Watch our newest video to learn how the power of data capture technology can help transform your business.

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