Ho ho ho – Santa meets Digital Disruption

A further lighter look at the festive season.

Digital disruption is happening everywhere and Santa is not immune.

Looking back to my blog last year I thought it important to look back and see what has changed for Santa this year?

Let’s look at his data and approach to apps provision:

  1. His information substrate is richer – he has an extra year of information on who has been naughty and who has been nice
  2. His social media listening service has been tracking what everyone is talking about when it comes to the cool toys, music and gifts. He knows by brand, geography, age and gender what is hot and what is not in each region. This allows him to provide the best match of present to the child
  3. He’s revitalized his apps. He has gone cloud native – in fact he’s joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation (as we have) to unlock a DevOps approach in building, managing and deploying (Santa was more of a waterfall guy) 
  4. Santa is now fully mobile – and given the high volume of carrots that he has to buy, he is now fully enrolled into Amazon Prime grocery service for daily – and soon, hourly deliveries of carrots and reindeer friendly snacks to the North pole (note, this is a secret Amazon service provided by rockets, not yet rolled out)

After reading Capgemini’s 2015 research, Santa has considered getting into the data monetization business – his rich data substrate would provide a significant opportunity to provide either raw data services, or more importantly, insight based services to parents, relatives and retailers before, during and after the holiday season. 

Just imagine the possibilities of what he could realize:

  • Present Perfect – and insight service for parents that provides higher certainty that the present will be loved and played with (as well as the box it came in – parents with small kids, I know how you feel)
  • Compare-a-Present– insight into what the child’s friends are receiving to de-risk jealously and help manage expectations
  • Xmas Budget Buddy– help parents manage their Xmas budget, with insight into price comparisons of all chosen presents, suggestions of priority choices in the child wish list through  price/interest/sustainability ratio analytics, selection of retailers, automatic crowd funding from relatives who will share the costs
  • Battery Prediction – advanced insight into what batteries, and how many, will be needed on the day
  • SleepMax – insight into the optimum time to send children to bed – and the likely wake up time, based on the patterns of 526 million children.

More broadly, he could do a deal with the retailers to help them scale up the wider inventory to maximize sales and profits for all the other presents that are bought. No post holiday loss-making sales!

However, there is a problem. After reading our thought leadership survey with a hot cup of cocoa, Santa found that many traditional providers are threatened increasingly by startups – and from non-traditional competitors that can, by gaining access to data sets build entire new services and disrupt.

So next year? Expect Santa to be competing with the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny, who see that they have significant global coverage, brand trust and a highly capable logistics operation, but are under-utilized. They want in on Xmas.

Santa will need to innovate to keep his dominant market-share. Next year, Santa will embrace Digital Transformation and release My Santa World™ – an app available on any mobile device for each child to register, manage his private space, directly communicate with Santa at any time during the year, join well-moderated forums on key topics such as “how to make sure I will get the presents that I want”, and allow each child to compose his/her wish list, share it with friends for feedbacks and post it for final approval by Santa.

But will it be enough?

However, worry not – Santa will, I’m reliably informed, maintain a multi brand, multi channel strategy via Saint Nicolas, Père Noël, Papai Noel, Kris Kringle, Saint Nick, Santa Claus, Santa, Father Christmas to provide maximum impact and maintain his share of Xmas wonder. On that note… Season’s greetings and peace to all.


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