“Jeff Bezos does not like sitting still.”
So wrote the Economist a couple of days ago after Amazon said it would acquire Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. The opposite of sitting still, of course, is motion. And for Jeff it’s not just about always moving, it’s moving faster than everyone else.
In his letter to Amazon stockholders a couple of months ago, he wrote what he considers the key ingredients for continued success of the business: Customer obsession. A skeptical view of proxies. The eager adoption of external trends. And high-velocity decision making. High-velocity decision making. It was that bit that really got my attention. (Not that Mr. Bezos didn’t have it already.)
He goes on to write that otherwise, companies will encounter stasis, irrelevance, decline and eventually death. These slower organizations may make high-quality decisions, but they make these decisions slowly—too slowly to ensure their survival. Bezos even says quick decision making is so critical that they don’t always have to be sound. It’s okay to make wrong decisions—as long as you can quickly see the mistake and correct it.
Of course Amazon, one of the ten most valued companies, is also one of the most heavily data driven. So, when Bezos says they have the capacity to quickly spot and recover from mistakes, I believe him. But he also says in order to continue in a state of constant motion, sometimes you have to move with 70% of the information you need instead of waiting for 90%.
The challenge for most organizations is that they don’t even have the 70%. This is one of the core problems organizations are having with their data. For these businesses, the data is there… somewhere. They just don’t know precisely where the data is or what the data is. But this is where automation and self-service are starting to shed new light. Because with automation of certain processes normally handled by high salaried and hard to find data scientists combining with self-service analytics tools that render data accessible to business users with no special background in data mining, data within many organizations is already being:
- Tagged faster
- Located and identified faster
- Governed and secured faster
- Prepped for self service faster
- Recognized for value faster
- Put to use faster
And putting your data—all of your data—to use faster means making decisions faster. If you happen to work at Amazon, then you know this would make Mr. Bezos very happy. But knowing what data you have and where to find it also means wiser decision making, too. And while Mr. Jeff Bezos might be a bit more flexible when it comes to making the right decision the first time, I doubt very much that you’d hear him complain.
How does Waterline Data combine machine learning automation and self-service to help organizations make data-driven decisions faster and smarter? Learn more about our Smart Data Catalog here.