We just closed the books on our second year in business and hosted our 2020 leadership team/SKO in San Diego. A fitting time for both reflection and recalibration on how we are going to steer our journey as we start the new decade. Our second year of business brought us tremendous learnings about the market and the challenges that companies face as they look to transform within the data economy.
Atrium transitioned from scrappy start-up mode to scaling the business across key areas in our second year. As with many things, the magnitude of change did not feel significant in the moment but reflecting back on a year over year comparison, the changing characteristics of the business make for a sharp contrast. We doubled our team, onboarded 20 new customers, established solution centers in Jaipur, India and Bozeman, Montana, expanded our reach with our strategic partner (Salesforce.com), developed emerging capabilities with Amazon/Tableau, and launched our brand within the media/analyst communities. All of this culminated in helping our customers work towards understanding the possibilities of AI/machine learning as they looked to transform themselves with new paradigms available to them through AI.
Two points of learning came into ‘high-definition’ like focus for us. It is widely understood on an intellectual level that the transition to being a ‘data-driven’ company is daunting as it requires significant investment over the long term with limited ability to gauge incremental success along the way. The concept of a flywheel from Jim Collins ‘Good to Great’ iconic book applies. Small advances set the groundwork for future game-changing momentum. Above and beyond the intellectual roadblocks, we benefited from understanding the challenges our customers face on an emotional level.
Human factors and human aversion to change continued to emerge as the biggest opportunity area to be addressed relative to improving AI adoption. ‘Can I trust this prediction?’ or ‘what can I do with this insight?’ are far harder questions to answer than ‘can I technically build a predictive model with high accuracy?’ The latter question is almost always the first asked in today’s market, but the former questions are the most pertinent. Successful transitions using AI will continue to be long term commitments shaped by a perspective that AI success, more than just creating fantastic data insights, requires significant buy-in/trust from human factors.
As we develop our plans for the coming year, we focus our attention on the areas Atrium can most impact. AI success and adoption are at the top of our list. We are in a market starved for education and clarity. We view ourselves as advisors helping a complicated three-party negotiation between business strategy, data science, and technology professionals. As a part of the education process, we will spend time helping companies understand the key success elements that need to be in place to capitalize on the promise of intelligent systems.
– Do you have a question, that if answered, creates a 10x return?
– Do you know the data architecture you need to have in place?
-If so, does your data have a signal?
– If so, what can you do with the signal on a large scale that allows for action?
Helping to craft answers to these questions as a strategic advisor to our customers is what drives our passion. We have the foundation in place as we enter our third year, to make massive impacts for our customers and our team across the board and we are inspired by the challenge.