SANTA’S GONE DIGITAL.

Santa working at festive table with cookies and tea on laptop dashboard showing overall productivity graphs. iPad showing Christmas countdown and staff time logs. iPhone showing map route and incoming messages.

After the holidays last year, Santa expected this year to be a year like the last hundred or so. He had a well-oiled machine that didn’t need any fixing. Or so he thought. Enter 2020, the year that threw us all for a loop, including Mr. Kringle himself. He was now dealing with Covid protocols, an elf strike, coal supply shortages, and other issues that have led to missed fulfillments. Santa had had enough.

Angel City Data’s introduction began like any other, where we sat down with Santa and his team to discuss how we could assist them in their global operation. There were many concerns due to the new Covid restrictions and regulations that the E.L.F. union had put into place. After centuries of consistent workflow, Santa’s team would have to rapidly change the way they worked. The union required remote work availability, a safety distance of 6 feet between work stations, and a mandatory 5 minute candy break. Not to mention the CDC’s recommendations for temperature checks, increased cleaning protocols, and a mandatory quarantine after travel. That was just the tip of the candy cane. This rapid change in technology was going to be a great undertaking for Santa’s team, and 73% of Fortune 500 CEOs would say the same. 

Saint Nick’s advanced age (about 900+ years old) also put him at a higher risk. His people just weren’t comfortable with Santa roaming the grounds, even with Mrs. Claus’ homemade mask to accommodate his great white beard. This led to the need for one centralized dashboard where he could quickly access and monitor each aspect of his operation, like elf productivity, toy production, and group texting of North Pole weather changes. 

ACD had previously created systems for managing wolf pack health, so it was easy to adapt when Santa requested tracking reindeer performance, hoof care, and antler maintenance.  Santa’s logistics team also wanted a better way to manage the shipping and receiving of raw materials, like coal and animal feed. Not a problem!

Another wrinkle was the onslaught of millions of childrens letters, photos, and movies, now arriving digitally. Santa gushed when we proposed integrating his system with automated scanning and cloud storage to free-up much needed floor space at his workshop. And we couldn’t forget about THE LIST. We provided him with two checkboxes next to each entry, allowing him to check it twice, as a vital part of his operation. He needed all this and more on multiple devices, multiple platforms, and in multiple languages. Given the nature of the project, we knew that Claris FileMaker, the world’s best rapid application development platform, was the right tool for the job.

Later in talks, it came as no surprise when Santa’s marketing department insisted that the look and feel of any new system stayed on brand”. We were able to take Santa’s legacy process and give it a digital transformation with ease due to the Claris FileMaker platform. With FileMaker we were able to ensure a timely delivery with a secure and consistent experience that would jingle all the way home.

Our Spring and Summer months were filled with project management meetings where we used an agile development process to keep Santa and his team involved. With this iterative approach and Santas engaged helpers, we cut our testing phase time in half. Deployment in late August was as sweet as a gumdrop.

Thanks to our help in bringing Santa into the digital age, the elves are now able to cash in on those rollover vacation days Santas been promising since the Dark Ages. It was the Christmas miracle they had hoped and wished for. Santa was not only thrilled but was downright jolly with what we were able to deliver. We would love to share more aspects of the system and what we did, but due to an NDA, we are only allowed to show certain portions and are not allowed to divulge any trade secrets or flight plans. However, you are still able to track Santa’s flight around the world on Christmas Eve with NORAD.

Angel City Data was thrilled at meeting and exceeding the expectations of Father Christmas. His entire team was so impressed, they assured us a spot on the Nice List for years to come. They also referred us to another colleague who struggles with an egg delivery service each Spring. We’re looking forward to that engagement, as Santa implied chocolate was involved.

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