Interview: Taking data analytics to the next level, our Christmas correspondent James Nunns (he’s real) says he spoke with Santa who demonstrated how to be a big data success.
CBR has been reaching out far and wide this Christmas to find businesses that are making the most of their data for a successful holiday period.
After many letters and numerous promises that I will definitely be good next year, Father Christmas agreed to give me a little insight into how he uses big data to make Christmas happen.
Santa could not confirm what technology they use at the North Pole due to fears around maintaining a competitive advantage but his valuable insight should be advice that is followed by all.
Analytics underpins everything that the whole team does at the North Pole, making sure there are enough elves working away on the most in-demand gifts to make sure there isn’t a shortage.
Extreme levels of planning ahead are required for Christmas to go ahead without a glitch, so all the data that is collected from the previous year is heavily analysed by data science elves.
These elves make use of tools such as Spark to optimise and make efficiencies wherever they are required.
One of the biggest challenges faced is the ability to deliver all those gifts in such a short period of time.
Of course, Santa’s sleigh would have to travel at 650 miles per second, which is 3,000 times the speed of sound in order to deliver everything in one night.
So some help is required.
Sensors attached to reindeers and packages all feed data back to the elves back at the pole to make sure the most optimised route is being taken and that all packages are delivered safely and on time.
Sensors on his reindeer (Rudolph’s nose is now IoT enabled) and the sleigh make sure everything is as optimised as possible for a smooth and successful delivery run.
3. Supply chain management
Santa has quite possibly the greatest supply chain management system of all time, they know their market, always deliver on time, zero workforce turnover and a global service -it’s something to be marvelled at.
Just looking at the demand forecasting would be enough to drive a lesser person to tears, not Santa though.
The complexity of what has to be dealt with means a real-time responsive planning system is required to manage demand.
4. Omni-channel personalisation
This is one of the most powerful tools that Saint Nick has in his arsenal, it’s what helps him to personalise all those gifts so everyone gets what they really want.
This strategy helps to create data-centric, single view of shoppers that gives the insight to be able to deliver the most relevant content across multiple channels such as web, mobile and in-store.
Of course, Father Christmas has to know quite a lot about you in order to get this right, so he combines multiple data sources to see your browsing behaviour, geographical location and shopping trends.
As the song goes, "he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good. So be good for goodness sake!"
5. Inventory management
Have you ever heard of Santa running out of the most desired products? No, only his competitors fail to deliver, which is why Santa is number one.
GPS tracking has been deployed in recent years so that you can now track his route around the world online, re-assuring customers that Christmas presents are indeed on their way.
Highly trained, dedicated warehouse elves are armed with barcode scanners and can track all products through a management system.
Santa’s combination of big data management processes, analytics and planning are all strengthened by making the most of their data.