Remember all the time you’ve spent the past few years implementing big data? Never mind. Now the emphasis should be put on algorithms.

That’s according to senior vice president of Gartner Research Peter Sondergaard, speaking at this week’s annual Gartner Symposium conference in Orlando, Fla.

“If the most important thing you offer is data,” Sondergaard is quoted in InformationWeek, “you are in trouble. Big data is not where the value is. Data is certainly necessary, but it is transient. By itself it is not transformative. The organization can view you as the data keeper, but anyone can store data. Anyone can hire someone to store data and even analyze it. Data is inherently dumb. It doesn’t do anything unless you know how to use it and act with it. Algorithm is where the real value lies. Algorithms define action.”

Similarly, Gartner predicted that, by 2020, autonomous software agents outside human control will conduct 5 percent of all economic transactions, notes Larry Dignan in ZDNet. “Wall Street is mostly moved by algorithms today, he writes. “Business will follow.”

“Can you run a business on an algorithm?” Dignan continues. “Rest assured someone is going to try.”

In fact, too strong an emphasis on data, as opposed to intuition, could be the factor that’s keeping CIOs from being promoted, reports Michael Morisy for Windows IT Pro. “Too often, Gartner analyst Mary Mesaglio said, CIOs focus on data and analysis rather than intuition and leadership,” he writes. “That’s led to them being kept out of key discussions in the C-suite (Gartner reported that only one in four CIOs is considered an ally in the boardroom), even as other departments start eyeing some of IT’s traditional responsibilities.”

Indeed, three out of four CIOs are intuitive thinkers who can solve complex problems in new ways, writes Tom Kanishige in Five Second Window. The complication, though, is how many CIOs don’t think that way, especially when they find themselves competing with CMOs. “CIOs tend to rely more on historical significance versus intuition in their decision-making, whereas CMOs are more intuitive and willing to follow a hunch,” he writes, citing a Myers-Briggs personality type analysis.

Gartner also released the results of a survey of senior IT personnel showing that an emphasis on mobility, which is expected to consume, on average, nearly one fifth of IT budgets in 2016. In addition, 47 percent of senior IT decision makers said they were concerned about their ability to keep pace with rapidly changing mobile technologies, while 68 percent of respondents said mobility is critical for the success of their businesses. Among organizations of more than 1,000 employees, the number climbed to 74 percent, Gartner notes.

Moreover, mobility has moved beyond simply allowing employees to bring their own devices. Instead, 47 percent are leveraging mobility as the platform to deliver new products and services, while an additional 45 percent of companies said they are turning to mobility to drive business process transformation and competitive differentiation, and 39 percent said they are aggressively using mobility as a means to extend their ability to engage with customers and partners, according to Gartner.

Gartner also released its list of strategic technologies for 2016, which include:

  • “Device mesh,” which includes the Internet of Things (IoT) but also augmented and virtual reality
  • Ambient user experience, which is also related to the IoT and incorporates contextual user information
  • 3D printing
  • “Information of everything,” which is the data produced by the IoT
  • Advanced machine learning, which ties into the focus on algorithms
  • Autonomous agents and things, such as self-driving cars
  • Adaptive security architecture
  • Advanced customer architecture, such as more closely simulating human brains
  • Mesh app and service architecture, with apps working together
  • IoT architecture and platforms, which will come about as IoT vendors work together more

The first step to dealing with the new age of algorithms? Make sure you know what you have, Sondegaard says. “Anything in the business can be an algorithm from the secret recipe for your product, a business process you do especially well, or a true algorithm around parsing data,” writes David Wagner in InformationWeek. “The important part is that you are aware of the algorithms that make your business work and are unique to you.”

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