The Post-Algorithmic Era Has Arrived

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Last week, IIA hosted our annual Predictions and Priorities webinar, as well as the associated research brief. When we sat down to determine what we should focus on this year, Tom Davenport and I both immediately raised a trend that we’ve recently been discussing with organizations. After reconciling our semantics, we realized that we were both excited about the same base trend. I want to reiterate it here as I think it is a critical trend to understand and adapt to. Namely, “the post-algorithmic era has arrived”.

Does This Mean Algorithms Are a Thing of The Past?

Of course not! In fact, algorithms are being embedded into more and more business processes every day. If anything, analytics processes built on top of algorithms are going to continue to rise in importance for the foreseeable future. If that’s the case, then what does “post-algorithmic era” mean?

The defining factor of the post-algorithmic era is that having access to algorithms, and knowledge of how to execute them, is no longer a differentiator. Not long ago, a large part of the value proposition for an analytics professional was:

Knowing how to use the then-few (and complex) software tools that contained algorithms, and

Knowing from experience which specific algorithms might work …

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