Digital North Pole: Santa’s cutting edge empire

In the beginning it was easy for Santa Claus to deliver his presents. He had a list of naughty kids, good kids, presents and the address for each child.

It was a local business with a good value proposition, don’t be naughty and you get a present.

Of course the times have changed. He no longer runs a small start-up. Santa manages a multinational corporation that delivers presents worldwide. It is the era of technology so naturally he has taken advantage of all the digital and tech opportunities that are available on the market. He does this to assure the delivery of both quality and quantity.

We don’t know for sure what Santa uses but from what we observed this is what we inferred.

Digital North Pole

Receiving of Letters

Sorry to burst your bubble, but let’s be real. No company keeps a delivery fleet that is used only one time per year. His business is integrated with all the API’s of International Delivery companies like DHL, UPS, FedEx.

Receiving the letters
Airplanes, trucks, reindeers or huskies. Santa has all the means.

The transportation companies ensure that the letters are delivered to the North Pole and in return the presents are delivered to the kids. The good news is that Rudolph is the Chief Logistics Officer, so every present is delivered on time and to the right person.


Interpretation of Letters

All the letters that arrive at the North Pole are opened, sorted by language and age of the sender and fed to an Optical Character Recognition System. The system includes a neural network that continuously learns from past letters in order to ensure that all the information is captured.

The numbers of letters sent by digital means has increased, but still the majority of children prefer the traditional communication channels.

The letters that are too difficult to interpret are sent to the Language Elves. They extract the information and manually enter it into the database.

Letter to Santa
Image via

The text of each letter is interpreted by a cognitive computing system that understands natural language, I mean you, IBM Watson. Watson interprets the data – image, text and drawings – to extract the gift that the child wants.


Good or Naughty List

When it comes to the Good and the Naughty List, the stories are true. Santa really has this list, plus a database full of information gathered from various sources about each child. For the hosting of the Good Naughty Database Santa chose Amazon Web Services. The deciding factor was Amazon Redshift, a  fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse that makes it simple and cost-effective to analyze all the data that he stores. Add to this the amazing Analytics Solutions that they developed and you have a very fruitful partnership.

Information Sources

Santa Claus is a Big Data fan!

His database aggregates information from various sources. He has a dedicated Elf Support Desk that discusses with parents or people responsible for the child’s raising and education. Each conversation and valuable piece of data is inserted in a CRM (the elves name it the Child Relationship Management), connected to the GND (Good Naughty Database).

Santa wants a seamless customer experience. That’s why he uses Salesforce’s Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud Products for an integrated, omnichannel marketing strategy.

Santa also  uses digital footprint technologies, cookies, various analytics software and a dash of data mining to discover  demographics, interest data, online behaviour, relationships, preferences and more.

GNA Algorithm

Google ain’t got nothing on the GNA (Good Naughty Algorithm). It’s a proprietary algorithm that the Santa Claus R&D Department developed.

Similar to SEO Experts, kids try to figure it out in order to leverage the system and get better presents. There are some good case practices and guidelines, but you can never be sure what Santa Claus takes into account when it comes to your GNA Ranking.

The last update was Reindeer 4.2. It eliminated the Black Hat GNO (Good Naughty Optimising) practice of massively increasing good deeds/day in the last two weeks before Christmas. Now kids must have a constant rate of good deeds/day in order to obtain a better present.

GNA ranking


Gift allocation and Toy Shop Logistics

When it comes to present distribution the GNA Ranking of each child is cross-referenced to the present that he wants. If he/she is Naughty, a present from an inferior tier is allocated. If they are good, then they get the present that they request.

The present allocation system is connected to an EPP (Enterprise Present Planning) that checks the Inventory for available Toy stock. If the child has a high GNA Ranking and the toy is not in stock, it will be made on-demand by 3D printers or express ordered from the manufacturer.

For the Toy Supply Chain Management, Supplier Relationship Management, Toy Lifecycle Management and Elf Capital Management Santa uses SAP.

After the present is allocated to each child, warehouse robots deliver the presents to picking stations where Picker Elves gather the presents and send them to packaging. Santa Claus has a custom implementation inspired by Amazon’s Kiva robots. After packaging and posting, the presents go to the  storage area.



All of that data crunching is not for nothing. Santa Claus can predict with very high accuracy what each child will want for Christmas. The presents are shipped in advance to strategically Santa Toy Shops Subsidiaries all around the world.

For sure there will be changes in the Toy Stocks as we get closer to Christmas, but the big bulk of toys are already delivered somewhere near your house.

From the Santa Toy Shops Subsidiaries the delivery companies take over and the presents arrive under your tree.


Are the Reindeers and the Sleigh just a PR Stunt?!

No! Santa uses his sleigh to fly from Toy Shop to Toy Shop to be sure that everything goes well and all the presents are delivered. Every year he personally delivers some of the toys. He says that it’s important for a CEO to know what happens at the ground level in order to improve  the business and the value proposition.

If you like our work and have an interesting digital project send us a message and let’s get in touch.

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