Reimagining Holiday Classics with Data Analytics

by   |   December 21, 2015 5:30 am   |   1 Comments

The holidays have arrived! Along with plenty of eating, baking, parties and gift giving, this time of year also brings another celebrated tradition: holiday movie watching. We all have our favorites – the holiday comedies, the kids’ movies, and the classics that have withstood the test of time and continue to bring joy no matter how many times you have seen them.

To help get in a festive mood, here at Information Builders we took a look at some of our holiday favorites – with a new slant. How could BI and analytics have helped our favorite characters avoid or resolve their holiday mishaps? Below, we took a look at how concepts like data integration, master data management, BI reporting, and data quality management make their way into some of the most beloved, most watched winter classics. It’s a whole new way to appreciate some of our favorite holiday flicks!

A Christmas Story 

A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story is a holiday classic, replayed on loop every year and beloved across generations. In the movie, young Ralphie prepares for Christmas with only one gift in mind: a Red Ryder B.B. gun. No matter what he tries, Ralphie has no luck convincing his mother, who nixes the idea, insisting that he’ll shoot his eye out. If only Ralphie had the advanced BI technology to create a visualization of BB gun eye accidents over the course of the year to show how minimal the chances are. He could have made the case to mom that icicles, or flagpoles, are really much more dangerous.

Christmas Vacation 

Christmas Vacation

A holiday classic of a different sort, this 1989 film starring Chevy Chase follows the rapid unraveling of the Griswold family’s plans for a storybook Christmas at home. Anxiously awaiting his annual holiday bonus, Clark’s temper is tested by uninvited family guests, a burned turkey, and a Christmas tree disaster – enough to put anyone on edge. The final straw comes when Clark learns that in lieu of a cash bonus (that he’s already spent on a pool), he’d receive a Jelly of the Month Club membership, prompting a memorable tirade that led to the kidnapping of his boss.

Data-driven insights probably couldn’t have helped Clark avoid uninvited family guests and many of the holiday’s other surprises and mishaps, but if Clark’s boss had access to analytics-based insight, Christmas Vacation wouldn’t have come to quite the same conclusion. If Clark’s boss had integrated internal and external data on past bonuses, holiday stress, and probable reactions to eliminating the holiday bonus, he could have prevented Clark’s meltdown and his own eventual kidnapping, as well as mitigating potential corporate risks associated with the decision to eliminate the bonuses.

Jingle All the Way 

Jingle All the Way

Tracing the nightmarish journey of every parent whose child wants that “it” toy for Christmas, Jingle All the Way sees Sinbad and Arnold Schwarzenegger duke it out over a Turbo Man toy. While the duo certainly didn’t have access to modern technology, imagine how the story could have played out with today’s BI and analytics solutions.

Integrating data from retailers on historical holiday sales around the season’s hot items and current season’s store traffic could have clued Sinbad and Arnold in to when and where they should have picked up Turbo Man. A geographic data visualization could have even provided details on when to swing into the closest toy store. The pair could have skipped the stunt-filled battle for the last toy and relaxed with their families for the holiday parade.

Home Alone 

Home Alone

Home Alone is a holiday staple for kids and adults, and a classic example of how quickly bad data can put a kink in your plans. In a crazy rush to get to the airport on time, the McCallisters rely on bad data to ensure everyone is accounted for – resulting in the first of many blunders. If their data were properly cleansed, the family would have known the neighbor was accidentally included in the headcount and Kevin would have made it to Paris with the family. In fact, the McCallisters later prove, through subsequent mishaps, that they could benefit from master data management to help keep all of their information in order.

The McCallisters weren’t the only ones working with bad data. Things then get laugh-out-loud funny when Macaulay Culkin’s character, Kevin McCallister, matches wits with the bumbling Wet Bandits, who also operated on bad data throughout the film. While their thorough analysis of the neighborhood provided some insights into the top burgling targets, it’s unfortunate that their analysis wasn’t updated in real time. Those insights would have clued them in to Kevin’s presence, preventing a barrage of hilarious calamities.

Taking clues from these holiday classics, there’s a data lesson that organizations can learn: Assessing the environment with BI, using all the data available, and operationalizing that intelligence can lead to smarter decisions and, often, better outcomes. Don’t be a McCallister or a Griswold this holiday season. Don’t let your lack of data insights set you back. Instead, leverage the power of data analytics to create opportunities for 2016 and beyond.

Jake Freivald is the vice president of Product Marketing for Information Builders. He joined Information Builders in 1999 and has served in several roles, including vice president of Corporate Marketing and product manager for the Data Warehouse division. During his career, Mr. Freivald has also held several managerial positions with Anderson Consulting and Prudential Life Insurance Company of America. He also served in the United States Marine Corps as a Signals Intelligence Officer at First Radio Battalion. He graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1991.

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One Comment

  1. Posted May 11, 2016 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing. Nice article.

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