Santa and his Elves run one of the largest and busiest not-for-profit corporations in the North Pole. While the rest of the world looks forward to the holidays as the year comes to an end, it’s the most hectic time for Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves as they ensure that all children get their gifts every holiday season.
Santa has been running the non-profit for over 1,500 years and has streamlined the processes over the years from reading the letters and preparing the workshop to the final delivery. However, increasing workload, the soaring children’s expectations, responding to their questions, accommodating last-minute requests, and changes to the children’s wish lists have been proving to be cost-inefficient in addition to growing complaints from children. This drove Santa to look for ways to automate manual processes and focus more on selecting the right gifts and keeping the children happy. And as a result, he approached Quantiphi to kickstart his company’s AI-led digital transformation.
Here’s an exclusive interview with Santa, where he talks about the recent changes, the technologies involved in the process, and how he perceives the benefits of the transformation. Our interviewer, Jane, spoke with Santa earlier this week.
Jane: Hello Santa! We are all so excited about the upcoming Holiday season, especially after the pandemic that affected celebrations last year. But as we know it’s an unimaginably busy time for you. Could you walk me through the different tasks that you and your team look after at the North Pole?
Santa: Hello Jane. Undoubtedly, this time of the year is the busiest and the most exciting time for us back at the North Pole. If I have to broadly classify the tasks I’d say
Monitoring the naughty/nice list | Reading the letters | Manufacturing the toys | Final Delivery
While they sound fairly simple on paper, the scale and the continuously evolving nature of the children’s demands make our operations tremendously challenging. Missing a single delivery or an error in delivering a gift leads to disastrous consequences.
Jane: Can you elaborate on the challenges you face?
Santa: We receive around 8 million+ letters in different formats every year that is needed to be processed.
We need 24×7 access and analytics on the requests while preserving privacy.
Jane: I can’t begin to imagine the amount of work you and the elves need to put in. We’d love to know more about how and why you decided to get started on your digital transformation journey?
Santa: Well, as my database and children’s demands are ever-growing, I have been looking for ways to make my operations easier, cost-effective and efficient. I recently got introduced to artificial intelligence, dug deeper, reached out to friends, and a few good friends recommended Quantiphi to me. I checked their credentials – they were rated a leader by Forrester in Computer Vision; IDC had ranked them as a leader in the worldwide AI IT services and had a host of other recognition in the AI-First Digital Engineering space. I wrote to Quantiphi, and one of their experts responded to me within minutes. She answered all my questions, understood the challenges, and suggested a project plan for a full-scale reinvention of my company. The Quantiphi team helped me automate the workflows in a matter of weeks, which ensured the resiliency I needed to ensure gifts get delivered through the stormy winters at the North Pole.
Jane: Agreed! Glad to hear you’re on a better path. Santa, Santa, can you dig deeper into how Quantiphi’s solutions have helped you?
Santa: I was intrigued when I heard about AI-first digital engineering from Quantiphi experts. After incorporating the approach into our operations and supply chain, we have removed redundancies and improved operational efficiencies by 90%.
We migrated data from multiple data sources to the cloud and established a cost-effective, scalable, and centralized data lake platform on the cloud with all security protocols in place.
Thanks to Quantiphi’s Doc AI solution, we were able to process terabyte-scale, unstructured data and developed a Knowledge Graph framework. This helped the elves and me understand the children, their year-long deeds, and the gifts they want. Manufacturing and wrapping toys have become a faster, seamless process that saves us a lot of time and money.
Mrs. Claus and the elves are glad, as now we get to spend some time with each other in a rather busy time.
My favorite, however, is the pin code recognition solution. To manage all these addresses at once has been a challenge forever. Rudolph gets very impatient when we keep changing the routes due to the errors in processing the pin codes.
Quantiphi developed a custom computer vision solution to scan the letters on a mobile app to process the pin codes almost instantly.
The throughput has increased significantly, which means timely delivery of all gifts, accommodating last-minute wishlist changes, and even answering children’s queries that we get all the time.
And one thing’s for sure, I won’t disappoint any of the children and will return home much earlier to enjoy the holiday season with my family!
That’s the magic of applying science to solve the transformational problems at the heart of businesses.
Jane: What do you think is the way ahead?
Santa: I plan to have a virtual assistant take up queries that we receive and set up a recommendation engine for gifts. Also, I hear from Quantiphi about a few use cases of AI on the edge, more exciting things are coming up!
Jane: This sounds exciting. Would you recommend Quantiphi to your friends who face challenges with their digital transformation as well?
Santa: Absolutely. Quantiphi worked with us to assess the risks and plan the milestones for the transformation without considerable downtime. Their in-house accelerators expedited the process so we could have things up and running. Who wouldn’t want that!?
Jane: Thank you Santa! It was an absolute pleasure talking to you.
Santa: Ho! Ho! Ho! The pleasure was all mine. Happy Holidays!
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