Digital Transformation and Change Management Featuring The North Pole

Over the last few years, we’ve been involved in a lot of digital transformations for a wide variety of organisations. Digital transformation and change management go hand in hand and is something that many businesses forget about when undergoing a digital change. As a way of showing you some of the best examples of digital transformation and how your business good benefit, we’ve used Santa’s workshop as an example of how to go about a full digital transformation …

The Problem

The population of the world is around 7.7 billion people today. That’s a lot of gift ideas to come up with, a big manufacturing problem and that’s before we’ve got to the peak delivery demand bottleneck. Beyond that, Santa and his elves need to manage a naughty/nice list of about 1.9 billion children. Their digital transformation journey needs to be considered throughout every aspect of the workshop in order for this to have an effect.

The Digital Transformation Journey of the North Pole

1. Agile And Lean At The North Pole


Santa, Rudolph and the Chief Elf need to firstly work on some value stream maps. The real value every Christmas is based around Santa delivering working presents to the good children within a specific 24 hour period (although time zones give a little more flexibility). They need to create small, cross functional elf teams who are able to go all the way from Letters To Santa (concept) to deliverable presents. Each Elf team needs to form part of a larger “Polar Express” Release Train, which is focused on a particular region of the world.

The primary constraint on the value stream is identified as the “naughty” list. There are a lot of delays getting reports in from the “Elf On The Shelf” teams on how good the children were being. The solution is to incorporate an Elf On The Shelf into each Elf Team and eliminate the transport batch. This means that less waste is being generated by the Elf Teams (we identify waste as toys that are being made for children who it turned out were actually on the naughty list) as they have more up to date information on children’s’ behaviour.

Each Elf team now will have a “Toy Owner” who has the responsibility of working out what each child would like for Christmas based on the ever-changing and unpredictable desires of their group of children. Prior to this, different elves should making multiple copies of the wrong toys for good children. An Elf Master will also need to be appointed to each team to coach them through the transition and facilitate communication with the other teams. Let’s not forget, they also to lead each team in joyous Christmas songs and carols to keep morale up, all of this will contribute to successfully undergoing a digital transformation and change management so that no one is confused or struggling with all the new technological changes and systems.

2. Augmented Reality

Now for the introduction of new technology, the elves should be using Microsoft’s Hololens technology to create an Augmented reality experience for the cross-functional Elf Teams whilst building the toys. They will be able to see in real-time a three dimensional image of the toy they are creating, leading to a greatly reduced defect rate in the production system as the produced toys will always match the original specification.


3. Cloud Based System

From late November until the end of December, Santa’s workshop is very busy. A paper-based system cannot scale very well and will take a long time to find individual letters from children and the reports from the Elf On A Shelf teams can often be mislaid. Implementing a cloud based system using Microsoft Azure would automatically scale up as demand increases rapidly over the festive period. The robustness of the data storage and Azure Function solution means that no letters can be lost and all Elf On The Shelf reports will be received by Elf Teams in less than one minute.

4. Santa’s App

Santa and the Elf Masters need to find a way for the Elf Teams to monitor the naughty and nice lists in real-time, so that they can decide on which children will receive which gifts. By creating an App for iOS and Android it means that any of the Elves can download the lists on to their mobile phones giving them instant access to the latest data in a format that is easy to understand. The App can even include the sound of Christmas bells to cheer the Elves along as they work to help with productivity levels.

5. Remote Elves

The Elf On A Shelf teams also waste a large amount of time travelling back to the North Pole every night to submit their behaviour reports and so a progressive web App needs to be created, which they can use from their laptops, phones or tablets to submit their reports. This will allow them to spend more time in mischief around the children’s’ houses and less time travelling.


6. Smart Workshop

Santa’s workshop also needs to be converted into a Smart Workshop. Through Internet Of Things software various toy making tools and machines can talk to each other and an App created specifically for the Chief Elf. The tool usage can be monitored so that pre-emptive maintenance of tools can be undertaken, leading to a reduced failure rate of tools meaning that the elves can focus their time on creating spectacular gifts for good children! The Chief Elf will also be able to see and predict which tools are under-utilised and which tools the elves need more of to help manage the process.  

7. Rudolph’s Artificial Intelligence


Finally, the delivery of gifts to good children needs to be considered and by integrating an artificial intelligence program within Rudolph’s red nose sensor Rudolph’s already excellent nose can be full optimised. Rudolph’s nose will be able to provide real-time information on speed and position to the AI. The nose takes delivery address, time zone and daylight savings information to the AI so it can generate, monitor and adapt an optimal route for present delivery on the big night!

Your Workshop

We hope all these improvements make Christmas 2019 one of the best Christmas holidays ever for children all over the world! If your workshop could do with a digital transformation, please fill in the contact form below to find out if we can bring the magic of Christmas to your organisation!

To seem some of the best examples of digital transformation we have helped with over the years, then please check out our case studies.

Nick McKenna
Since 2004, Nick McKenna, BSc, MBCS Biography has been the CEO of McKenna Consultants. McKenna Consultants is a bespoke software development based in North Yorkshire, specialising in Cloud development, mobile App development, progressive web App development, systems integration and the Internet of Things development. Nick also holds a First Class Degree in Computer Science (BSc) and wrote his first computer program at the age of nine, on a BBC Micro Model B computer. For the last 21 years, Nick has been a professional computer programmer and software architecture. Nick’s technical expertise includes; Net Core, C#, Microsoft Azure, Asp.Net, RESTful web services, eProcurement, Swift, iOS mobile development, Java, Android mobile development, C++, Internet Of Things and more. In addition, Nick is experienced in Agile coaching, training and consultancy, applying modern Agile management techniques to marketing and running McKenna Consultants, as well as the development of software for clients. Nick is a Certified Enterprise Coach (Scrum Alliance), SAFe Program Consultant (SAI), Certified LeSS Practitioner (LeSS) and Certified Scrum@Scale Practitioner. Outside the office, Nick is a professional scuba diver and he holds the rank of Black Belt 5th Dan in Karate.