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Algorithms: Why they’re the future of business intelligence

Business algorithms are there to streamline your business by solving problems. 

There’s not much in our daily lives that algorithms haven’t influenced somehow. From our Apple Watch determining our sleep patterns to Amazon’s recommendation engine, dynamic pricing for airlines and even automated customer support—algorithms are everywhere in modern life. 

What about algorithms in business? 

The world’s most successful businesses use algorithms to rise to the top in their industry and build sustainable organizations that stand the test of time. And that’s why algorithms form part of the 11 attributes of an Exponential Organization (ExO). 

What are algorithms?

An algorithm is a step-by-step set of instructions used to automate a task or solve a specific problem. 

Algorithms also help organizations make sense of huge amounts of data and apply it to their business. The field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) explores how algorithms can be made “intelligent”—essentially using algorithms to learn how to solve challenges without a predetermined set of instructions and creating new solutions to new problems without human intervention. AI enables computer systems to behave and “think” like humans—to solve complex problems and learn over time with improving performance.

The best part about algorithms and AI is that they are available to any business—you don’t need to be a technical company to leverage algorithms. They’ve allowed organizations to scale in ways that weren’t possible even five or ten years ago.

How are algorithms influencing the future of business intelligence?

AI is now driving many solutions across industries. AI-powered technologies open new possibilities and business models. With AI, automated, data-driven systems replace clunky, outdated processes, allowing organizations to work beyond their means. Organizations that welcome and adapt to the evolution of business intelligence will be the most successful.

This next generation of business intelligence empowers every person throughout an organization to truly understand and harness the power of data and algorithms to make smarter, better business decisions. There are two types of algorithms at the frontier of the modern world: Machine Learning and Deep Learning. Both have become a doorway to a new era of AI and incorporating algorithms in business.

1. Machine learning

Machine Learning is the ability to accurately perform new, unseen tasks built on known properties learned from training or historical data and based on prediction. In simple terms, machine learning is when machines learn from data and then apply it to decision-making later on. A great example of this is the recommendation engine used by Netflix. Their algorithms continuously learn from what type of content users enjoy to therefore suggest similar content.

2. Deep learning

Deep Learning is a newer subset of Machine Learning based on neural net technology. It allows a machine to discover new patterns without being exposed to any historical or training data. The algorithms rely on discovery and self-indexing and operate in much the same way that a baby first learns sounds, words, sentences, and even languages. Leading startups in this space are DeepMind, bought by Google in early 2014, which restores and attributes ancient texts using deep neural networks. Another leading startup in this space is Vicarious, a robotics solutions integrator funded with investment from Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg. Twitter, Microsoft, and Facebook all heavily invest in Deep Learning.

Why is incorporating algorithms in business important for your success?

With advancements in Machine Learning and Deep Learning, virtually any process can be enhanced or completely automated. Computer systems can now perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.

Here are a few reasons why algorithms are essential in business:

  • Allows fully scalable products and services
  • Leverage data from connected devices and senses
  • Lower error rate due to biases in human cognition, which helps to stabilize growth
  • Every easily updated—often with little cost
  • Ensures compliance in highly regulated industries

Additionally, AI allows for intelligent, unbiased, fair and transparent decision making. We can trust AI to illuminate the potential our data holds without bias.

More robust business algorithms will drive the world into a better future

The future of business intelligence lies in leveraging the power of algorithms. The success of an organization will depend on the greater adoption of technologies, like Machine Learning and Deep Learning, by the average user.

If you look at the most successful organizations from the last few years—including the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon, among others—all of them use algorithms to their advantage. Algorithms have helped them scale beyond their own boundaries and achieve exponential success.

To learn more about the other attributes, click here.

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