Big data was touted as the next big thing and companies thought if they collected large amounts of data, they could forge ahead in the digital milieu. However, they are only partially right, revealed Peter Sondergaard, VP of Gartner Research at the Gartner Symposium. Big data is the goldmine, but if the data is not rightly converted into algorithms that turn the data into gold, it is only as good as any raw carbon.
Algorithms are basically the analytics that are applied to large volumes of data to create meaningful uses therefrom. Without them, the data, however large, is rendered useless. These algorithms form the vital backbone of an organization that enables it to truly embrace digital business.
Experts predict that companies all over the world will be spending more than $ 2.5 million per minute on the Internet of Things by 2016. It is believed that the revenues generated through digital business would go up by 80% by 2020. With such a large dependency on digital data, the manner in which Big Data is milked is of paramount importance because its effectiveness is directly linked to the impact on customers.
Giving what the customer wants is passé and even as technology takes over the lives of customers, the organization is expected to sprint ahead, thinking and acting on behalf of the customer, and dictate what he needs. Currently, apps dominate our lives by following our steps, guiding our judgment, handholding, and taking our decisions through to a logical conclusion. We are still the doers albeit guided by an imaginary digital force. In a futuristic world, there would be agents that would think and act on our behalf, but on the digital lines chalked out by our actions in the cloud. These actions are nothing but the algorithms of today.
Algorithms are expected to do this and even more. Algorithms will take over people, improvising constantly, and eventually spawn other algorithms to take over its previous self. They will also sense and predict threats and report suspicious and malicious behaviour.
Algorithms are thus predicted to be the creator of a whole new digitalized world hence they cannot afford to go wrong at any given point of time. This puts an enormous amount of responsibility on IT organizations to build the base correctly and lead the way.
Adapting and adopting is the only way forward
Organizations have jumped into the digital bandwagon headlong to avoid being left out at the shore by the digital tidal wave. However, the transition from a traditional mode to the digital one can be both frustrating and overwhelming if organizations do not learn the basics of doing business the digital way. The traditional mode is slower and not designed to cater to the dynamic and fast-paced pace of the digital world which uses more of the cloud applications than the legacy ones.
Mr. Sondergaard suggests having a bimodal business as a starting point. The traditional modes do not have the digital capabilities in place to meet the expectation of an agile market. However, they do have the efficiency and stability. Organizations are now looking to balance their analogue business alongside the digital one so that each of the modes can focus on its strengths rather than asking either mode to change pace to one that is not aligned with its respective goals and capacities.
While bimodal can serve as a starting point, it might not be a permanent solution, observes Bernard Golden, VP of strategy, ActiveState Software. The two modes cannot operate independently without stepping on each other’s toes and when they do there will be situations of conflict. They would, at some point, need to collaborate rather than compete, opines Bernard, and advises corporates to ready themselves for an eventful digital ride in the coming years.
Securing the future
Big data, algorithms, Internet of Things, call them what you may, these beacons of the future world raise pertinent questions about risks and security. Gartner reveals that one cannot get rid of the threats entirely and advises companies to equip and prepare themselves adequately to detect and nip them in the bid.
Organizations are investing more and more on tightening the security systems and by 2017 the budget allocation of organizations towards compliance and security measures is expected to triple those of 2011. The majority of malicious software go undetected for several months before they get active. The traditional approach is to invest more in prevention rather than detection. The ratio needs to adjust itself to include a sharper and responsive system. Companies, now, need to have more algorithms that are network-based in place, free infrastructure from manual intervention wherever possible, and simplify their systems.
A three-way approach
To summarize the above, today’s CIOs need to adopt a three-way approach in order to brace themselves for the new-age business transformation.
- Understand that the traditional mode of business cannot ramp up to meet the expectations of an agile market.
- Instead of having the current suppliers to ramp up their capabilities, companies need to invest in capabilities that are ready-to-go or can ramp up speedily with guidance.
- The new capabilities need to fit into the agile environment; support the growing and changing demands of the customer-driven business environment, creating newer opportunities even as the current ones are being built upon.
Is your organization digitally ready? What steps have you taken to get your algorithms right? Do let us know in the comments section.