Would you rather trust your business to a human or a machine? As you make this decision, you might picture a massive T-1000 shape-shifting robot busting into your office and taking the keys to the executive washroom.

But in this case, I’m talking about algorithms. And according to a study by researchers at the University of Minnesota, hiring decisions that algorithms made performed 25 percent better than human decisions.

Although the subjects of the study had more information about applicants than the equation, they used the data inconsistently. The interviewers allowed arbitrary remarks and compliments to sway their decisions, rather than established hiring parameters alone.

Algorithms can minimize bias in crucial decisions that extend well beyond the hiring hot seat. And if you want to succeed in 2015, you can’t underestimate the power of the machine.

Work Smarter With Algorithms

Entrepreneurs have begun compiling data with algorithms to locate new markets, understand existing ones, and analyze the efficacy of marketing efforts. Consumers have adapted to algorithms as well, using personalized intelligent data like Amazon’s recommendation engine to buy products.

As the push toward personalization gains momentum, algorithms present a simple, scalable option for quantifying information and putting it to work. Companies that don’t prioritize data analytics and algorithms will inevitably fall behind competitors that do.

It’s evident that 2015 will be the “Year of the Algorithm.” There are thousands of applications for these equations, but in the coming months, you’ll see them manifest in four key areas:

1. Machine Learning

Perhaps the most important aspect of algorithms is their ability to become smarter with time. They can assess past consumer behavior to inform future suggestions and become consistently relevant to specific users. We’ve already seen this with Spotify’s playlist suggestions and Facebook’s content and friend recommendations, but other software will also become more adaptive to the needs of individual users. But as you consider applying this technology, remember that there’s a fine line between creepy and helpful.

The intelligent machine experience should be natural and non-intrusive for consumers. Users should see a clear benefit in the exchange of targeted information. The interaction needs to feel natural, like it’s a close friend making a recommendation, rather than a line of code spitting out obvious or irrelevant suggestions.

It’s something for enterprise users to consider as well — these applications can also benefit marketing and other customer-facing initiatives. Companies need to ensure that consumers get the right information at the right time; as Amazon Fire TV has shown, the more channels users can consume data from, the greater the opportunity for ROI.

The bottom line for companies is that everyday users gauge the value of an app or system based on how useful it will be in their daily lives. What’s the point of installing a digital operations system with a hefty $2 million price tag if only four people use it?

2. Logistics and Operations

That said, algorithms can make logistics and operations as easy as watching a T-1000 walk through a set of iron prison bars. These equations will simplify and automate the tracking of inventory levels and packages. It’s important to keep in mind that not all logistics algorithms are created equal; these processes must be useful.

Employees and consumers will only value an automated process if it’s helpful on a daily basis. By being sensitive to the end user’s experience, you can facilitate easier, smoother data applications, maximizing efficiency and generating ROI as a result. Useful logistics algorithms perform many simple functions, including issuing convenient alerts when inventory levels get low.

3. Alerts and Monitoring

In fact, with so many moving parts involved in running a business, relying on algorithms for alerts will become a vital part of maintaining efficiency. Alerts during important changes in operations, development, marketing, and more will help you understand outlier situations and make more informed decisions. Plus, companies can cover their bases while allocating human resources to more important aspects of business.

However, it’s important to be aware of alert fatigue. If customers are overwhelmed with alerts, they lose their potency. Alert fatigue can set in with all kinds of systems — from mobile phones to medical devices — rendering them useless. To avoid becoming “the boy who cried wolf,” these notifications need to be smart, telling people what they really want to know. This decreases the likelihood of error and enhances users’ ability to use the data to improve their judgment.

4. Mobile Apps

Some companies have already applied sophisticated algorithms to their mobile apps. Uber, the app-based transportation company, uses an algorithm to match nearby drivers with people who need a lift. Nest, a home automation company, enables homeowners to monitor their energy use remotely through its advanced algorithms. As the Internet of Things takes off in 2015, more companies will capitalize on the power mobile apps have to control people’s daily lives.

As apps become increasingly sophisticated, enterprise mobile software will need to adapt as well. It’s essential that businesses take advantage of mobile devices to deliver relevant information to the right audience on the device they’re using.

In the Year of the Algorithm, competitors in your sphere will factor formulas into every part of their business. You may want to trust your gut alone, but your employees and customers will be better off with the simplicity and intelligence that software provides. And with instinct and vast amounts of data on your side, your company can work smarter and harder with fewer resources.