Digital disruptors such as algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), bots and chatbots are already transforming businesses, placing new demands on technology strategies in the process.
In the years ahead, Gartner 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, the analyst firm believes that CIOs must design and deploy their digital business technology platform.
“Fuelled by data, analytics and AI, algorithmic business will continue to grow and disrupt your business,” Gartner vice president of research, Steve Prentice, said.
“This growth is unabated as algorithms are feasting on the wealth of data that grows inexorably.”
As explained by Prentice, more than 500,000 new devices connect to the Internet every hour, with every one “simply adding” to the inevitable growth of data.
For Prentice, such change is triggering the advancement of algorithms in business, as they move to the forefront of the differentiation race.
“Algorithms are taking centre stage in the race for competitive differentiation as leading organisations uncover their true value,” he said.
“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.
“Applied to huge datasets, algorithms allow highly accurate, personalised offerings, which in turn can drive revenue and differentiation.”
Currently, Prentice said 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,” he observed.
In other industries, Prentice said 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, Prentice said 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.
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,” Prentice said.
In short, Prentice believes the pace of digital disruption demands a new approach to IT.
“CIOs must build their digital business technology platform to support the development of digital business,” he added.
“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.”
According to Prentice, the five major platforms of digital business are built around information systems, customer experience platform, data and analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and ecosystems.
“You can't afford to stay on the sidelines of this digital and algorithmic business wave,” he added. “Define your algorithm, AI, ecosystem and digital platform strategies now.”