The Comma Guide to nailing Christmas 2020

It comes around every year, so why does it still catch people out? Much like data, planning Christmas needs management, governance, quality assurance and support – here’s our guide to getting it right.

2020 is nearly over, thank goodness. And after a rather toilsome year, Christmas has come around to remind us that there’s a small fairy light at the end of a rather difficult year of bad news, cancelled plans and certainly a loss of freedom. For those who celebrate it, there’s Christmas to organise.

Of course, things will be rather different this year. For one, there’ll be no sneaky pints down the local to escape the in-laws (unless you book the escapade in advance – and download the Track & Trace app to be safe), but there’ll still be a bird or nuts to roast, decorations to hang and presents to source. So, here’s the inaugural Comma Christmas guide to getting the festive season right…

Get Christmas organised the MDM way.

Manage, centralise, organise and categorise. The four secret ingredients to a stress-free Christmas. First things first, what do you need to source and how will you source it? Are you opting for turkey from the butcher or the supermarket? Are you bulk buying Christmas presents online and what about those lovely tree decorations sold at the Garden Centre?

Start by gathering all the information you need before you start ordering everything online. Just like a data management system brings together data from different systems, software and databases, take some inspiration and streamline your shopping lists to match; by using websites and apps like Listmoz and Out of Milk, and adding the relevant retailer URLs and any important Xmas delivery information. These digital tools will help you keep track of everything you need to know by bringing the data together into a master document that – if necessary - several people can consult. Then, once you’re ready, start ordering. Chances are you’re making life harder (and more expensive) for yourself by Christmas shopping in dribs and drabs and not sharing the load.

Tip: With online shopping all the range this year, and many big eCommerce brands upping their digital services to match why not streamline your Christmas Day plans (once you’ve organised what you need and by when) and arrange a couple of big online orders? That way, it’s all done and dusted in one fell swoop and booked way in advance of the big day.

Sorted your Christmas shopping but struggling to do the same with your data management? Our Master Data Management service will help, book a free consultation with one of our data management advisors today.

PIM(p) your Christmas list.

Not sure what to buy your sister’s kids this year? Chances are, you’ve hardly seen them. What about your isolating relative? And what about you, what do you want from Father Christmas? Gift shopping is never easy but somehow the pandemic has made it – like everything else – that much tougher. Which is why you need to PIM(p) your Christmas list – see what we did there? Product information management helps businesses organise their product information to ensure a single source of the truth. So, once you’ve done your research and worked out what you need to buy (and request) make sure all your gifting plans are kept together in one clear, concise list. By implementing a successful Christmas list PIM strategy, you can:

  • Reduce costs and improve margins
  • Enable more efficient ordering
  • Enhance efficiency and productivity
  • Improve overall outcomes 😉

Tip: Keep your Christmas list in one place – whether that’s notes in your phone or a sheet of paper stuck to the fridge (as long as it doesn’t reveal any surprises) – and ensure everyone is working from a single, source of the truth. This way it’s easily distributed with various family members.

Got your shopping list locked down and in one secure place? Why not implement the same strategy for your data with our Product Information Management services?

Apply strict(ish) turkey governance.

When it comes to the big day itself, you can’t just shove a turkey in the oven. You need to check it fits in the oven (we’ve all been there), calculate the cooking times - at 20 mins per kilo, plus 90 mins, you may need to use your bathroom scales - get all the ingredients, put it in to Brine 12 hours before cooking and work out whether you’ll need any help stuffing or even carving the thing. Managing how people and programmes (aka your kitchen helpers and oven) engage with the Christmas day feast is a lot like data governance. You need to think about the processes that will govern the food – how it’s prepared, cooked and eaten.

Tip: When it comes to turkey governance. Much like data governance – it's all in the three Ps. Preparation, process and people. If the three Ps work together seamlessly, you’ll be cooking the best turkey of your life.

If you’ve ticked all the boxes on the turkey governance front, but need a pragmatic, step-by-step approach to data governance, our Data Governance as a Service will help you put an end to bad habits and getting everyone working towards the same data goals.

Do a quality check

Remember last year, you had to turn the tree around to hide the lights that needed replacing? Well, you still put them back in storage on 1st January, with one string of lights even missing several bulbs. Out of sight, out of mind, right? So, don’t wait until Christmas Eve to hang out the lights - instead, get it all out now and do a thorough audit. After all, if your lights don’t offer the festive delights you’re after, you’ll only be left disappointed.

In business, data quality management checks that data is clean, consistent, accessible, reliable and in the right format before you start to do anything with it. Ensuring data is fit for purpose is the first step to achieving better business outcomes. Do your own quality check on lights and other decorations while there’s still plenty of time.

Tip: Don't make do – nobody wants broken lights hung around their Christmas tree – we want all singing and dancing, flashing, multi-coloured lights that work. And hiding the broken ones will only make the problem worse. The answer? Maintenance – look after your lights and they’ll look after the Christmas cheer. You can apply this approach to your data too.

Broken lights fixed and flashing in sync? Make your data do the same with our Data Quality Services and have confidence in your data.

Get support

So, you’ve been drawn Derek from IT in the work secret Santa draw. Problem is, after weeks of working from home you’ve barely said 10 words to Derek – how do you know what to buy him? By turning to his closest work ally, Terry, that’s how. (Yes, you’ll be breaking the secret Santa rules but it’s okay, after the year we’ve had we think this kind of rule breaking is allowed!) Speak to Terry to find out whether Derek’s still bike mad or finally off his crazy no-sugar diet. In other words: ask for help. And it’s the same with looking after your data. Just like people, data changes all the time, and any data-driven business must learn how to adapt accordingly by working with data support specialists.

Tip: There’s never been a more appropriate time to reach out and ask for help – so don’t hold back.

Have you finally got Derek’s present in the bag but finding data changes difficult to keep up with? This is where our Data Support Services will help, our support and enhancement services connect data and people to make sure you consistently reach your commercial objectives with data.

At Comma, we understand that this year has been more challenging than most, and perhaps your data difficulties have been hiding in a box all year -having had a snowballing list of other priorities to contend with first - much like your Christmas decorations. But once they see the light of day, you’ll know it’s time for a change.

Make data your number one priority in 2021 with Comma. You can email us directly on [email protected] or download our latest guide 'Mixology: How MDM Can Inspire Your Knowledge' to find out how mixing cocktails and managing data match up.