When Herb Kelleher was asked how long it would take to train his successor, he replied, "About five minutes," which is about the length of time it would take to explain the importance of making decisions at Southwest based on the core concept of being the lowest-cost provider. Is it really that simple? Why not fire the flight attendants and maintenance personnel? This would certainly lower the costs of doing business. However, in the long term this would increase the costs of the business and force Southwest to increase prices. This is an oversimplification of an obviously successful business model, but think about the message this sends to the employees.

Is there an overarching theme by which decisions can be made with your data management systems? I am going to propose three basic themes, which align themselves with the framework seen in Figure 1.

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