What do Digital Transformation and Santa Claus have in common?

Santa Claus. Even if you don’t celebrate the day of turkey, gammon and Quality Street, we all know who this guy is. Some of us may even know that the incarnation we hold so dear was the result of Coca-Cola hiring some ad men in the 1930s to sell more product. These well paid consultants lifted imagery from Clemet Moore’s poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ and the jolly old fat man in the red suit was born. Ingrained in our subconscious, we simply cannot see this phantom character as anything else. Over the years, Coca-Cola further entrenched Santa’s mythos as the giver of gifts to good little children all over the world. Today, this has turned into a multi-trillion dollar industry which we happily accept.

In writing this, I wanted to take a (broad) stretch of the imagination and compare this to the concept of digital transformation. Not really knowing what it is, expect that it means different things to different people, I feel it’s a bit like Santa Claus. It is somewhat imaginary, definitely created by industry, and has turned itself into a multi-trillion dollar industry which we happily accept. What it is, where it comes from and what its true purpose is, I don’t think I will ever truly understand. Like the Himalayan Yeti, Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, I hear different tales and interpretations, first hand accounts that don’t always add up and a degree of mysticism that often leads me confused.

If we look beyond the buzzwords on focus on IT infrastructure, internal processes, digitising documents, leveraging machine learning to speed up process to the nth degree, taking on big data, better aligning silos and teams, and start looking at customer experience, then we start getting real about the conversation. It’s a bit like when you figure out that Santa isn’t real, that it’s just your uncle who drew the short straw in a cheap polyester suit – the magic fades a little.

Even though we might not always believe in Santa or aren’t quite sure how to pinpoint digital transformation, we still live for that feeling and celebrate every moment it brings. And that isn’t a bad thing at all.

One last bit of trivia to ponder. The 1964 Coca-Cola Santa, probably the one most replicated, was based on a man by the name of Lou Prentiss, a retired salesman…


Ryan Matthews, Content Director

Ryan, is a fan of the festive season. Between catching up on some reading (Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is the perfect gift this year) and potentially over-eating, he will be recharging for 2018. Join the conversation at www.chiefdigitalofficerafrica.com

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