The Importance of Algorithms when Searching for IT Solutions

Algorithms were originally developed by mathematicians for mathematicians. Thousands of years ago the Greek mathematician, Euclid, devised the very first algorithm, which was used to determine the lowest common denominator in a set of numbers.

The use of algorithms is now going through a dramatic revolution.  Essentially a set of step-by-step instructions, algorithms are used in a multitude of applications we use every day.  When I take a photograph, for example, the Face Detection Algorithm systematically identifies the components of a face, regardless of size or shape, and thereby enables the camera lens to focus.

A plethora of search engines, such as Alta Vista, Bing, Google, Lycos, Magellan, Yahoo! and countless others rely on algorithms.  In 1995, Sergey Brin and Larry Page developed the PageRank algorithm and a more efficient search engine was born:  Google.  Today, this ranking algorithm is responsible for 3.5 billion web searches each day.  Its efficiency relies on its ability to look at incoming links and determine the relative importance of those pages, based on the frequency of other relevant links.

Searching for IT solutions requires new algorithms to discover a “feature document.”  A feature document is an expression of an IT solution that is readable by search engines for retrieval and which can execute the operations: monitor; manage; and provision.

The Role of SEO in IT solutions

In order to understand the complexities IT professionals face today, consider the relevance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to end users.  Millions of web pages are available, so SEO is essential.  Securing top positions for the right search terms makes it easier to find the correct solution.

Conversely, millions of solutions are available to IT professionals, yet there is no search engine available today that is able to retrieve the correct tools capable of managing the Third Platform.  What are the items a search engine provides today?  Typically, these include: documents, web pages, videos, maps, music, etc.  Each of these items needs some type of user agent to make it usable.  In order to create an IT solution, it is necessary to first understand what the demands of the user agent are.  Specifically, the IT solution user agent must be able to display the solution very much like a typical web page and—more importantly—enable one or more of the following operations: monitor; manage, and provision.

Emerging from browser technology today is a new capability called “responsive UX,” which is made up of individual building blocks called widgets. Popular frameworks including Google’s Angular JS make it possible to use these widgets to create a system for executing tasks that can monitor, manage and provision an IT infrastructure.

Using these widgets it is possible to express an IT solution. This requires the widgets to enable describing the IT solution.  Then, enable the IT solution to execute changes in the infrastructure.  And ultimately, to enable the IT solution to be searchable in the form of a “feature document.”  A feature document is an expression of an IT solution that is readable by search engines for retrieval and which can execute the aforementioned operations: monitor; manage; and provision.

The Google Generation & IoT

“Google generation”1 is a popular term referring to a generation of young people, born after 1993, who are growing up in a world dominated by the internet.  For them, constant connectivity–being in touch with friends and family at any time from any place and any device–is of utmost importance2.  According to Wikipedia, the phrase has entered popular vernacular as “a shorthand way of referring to a generation whose first port of call for knowledge is the internet and a search engine.”

This Google generation-driven demand for enhanced capabilities is placing increasing pressure on IT professionals to find more intuitive, AI-enabled ways to support the growing number of devices, applications and the “internet of things” (IoT).  The IoT connects devices and data, integrating business systems across any platform or operating system.  In essence, IoT promises to revolutionize business practices by linking physical and digital worlds together and bringing so-called “Big Data” to the next level.  Now, businesses will have more tools at the ready to help them un-tap the potential of information they are already gathering, allowing them to improve operating efficiency and deliver more robust end-user applications.  McKinsey Global Institute estimates that applications enabled by IoT will generate between $3.9 and $11.1 trillion per year in new economic value by 2025.2

Clearly, the confluence of enabling technologies will demand a robust, searchable and scalable IT solution to execute changes in infrastructure.

  1. Hamid Jamali, “The Google generation: the information behavior of the researcher of the future,” ResearchGate, accessed June 16, 2014, http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hamid R Jamali/publication/215500461
  1. Jason Frand, “The Information Mindset,” 2000, September/October 2000, p.15.