Once a year, the man in the red suit holds all the power. Anyone who has kids knows what I’m talking about. We’ve all used (or experienced) the power of Santa to change behaviour, at least for a short period of time. For decades, poor Santa has been operating with a static set of data, often referred to as “The List”. But in the era of analytical insight, it’s even more important to behave – Santa doesn’t just have data, he has insight!
And he’s been taking a few tips from the local energy industry on how to turn insight into action.
Within Santa’s wider executive team, he has employed a secret group of specialist Elves. These elves manage the day to day monitoring of The List using specialist tools like Santa’s Perfect Santa Sack (SPSS). Using SPSS, the team is able to uncover hidden trends and patterns in a child’s behaviour and predict whether they are likely to end up on the naughty or nice list, directing the toy factories and the Elf team that manages information sent out to children. This insight is near real time, forward looking, and lets them know how many toys to build and plan for the Big Day.
The innovation doesn’t stop there. What once was an organisation run on gut feel (and a big one at that), Santa and his team now make key business decisions based on analytical insight.
The factory Elves have put in a sophisticated system for keeping an eye on their toy manufacturing machines. Lots of sensors and monitoring systems feed information back to their central system, aggregating, summarizing and visualizing it in a way Elves can understand. With SPSS, the Elves can now better predict when toy manufacturing assets will break and can take preventative action ahead of time. The children will get the toys they want! (And more importantly, Mum and Dad will get a day of peace)
Even the Elves on the front line have been installing clever monitoring devices. Instead of waiting for parents to send Santa an email update on their children, they can see how the kids are behaving every half an hour. Imagine how great that is going to be for Mum and Dad!
With a comprehensive analytical platform deployed through the back and front office, when Santa’s team sit down to talk shop, everyone knows what is going on in near real time, and everyone is clear on what decisions need to be made to drive greater value. New initiatives like the Child Performing Perfectly (CPP) program can be rolled out to homes and the children can be rewarded for their good behaviour in real time – they don’t have to wait until Christmas day. And parents can even monitor them on their fancy new phones.
The heart of this transformation in the culture of the North Pole is data translated into insight. The North Pole is being transformed into a dynamic team with a clear understanding of value for all, the toy factories are running perfectly, the optimum volume of toys are going out the door (or being brought from other factories), and the children are getting real time information to help them stay good.
Santa is ahead of the game, and with his trusted advisers can keep an eye on the operation from his office. When he sees change coming he can get the whole North Pole team on board and aligned because everyone understands the most important thing at the North Pole – making sure that every good little boy and girl gets the toy they want for Christmas.
Whether you’re producing and distributing energy, or toys, decisions based on analytical insight at every point of the distribution network provide the opportunity for cost-effective operations and happy customers.
Merry Christmas to everyone – to learn more about how SPSS is transforming Santa’s operations, or an industry a little closer to home, take your local IBMer out for some egg nog and holiday cheer!
Nigel Broomhall (@sustaiNZ) is the Industry Solutions Executive Utilities, and has worked in the energy industry for more than 10 years. He is a passionate advocate for leveraging technology to assist the industry and has led initiatives in smart grid, electric vehicles and carbon offsetting.