Enquire Now
DQ Blog Article A Christmas Miracle

A Christmas Miracle

Martin Doyle December 16th, 2020 Article, Master Data Management
Worried Santa Claus

‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…

However, all was not quiet at the North Pole as operations erupted into chaos.

As the Elves in the Logistics Department wrapped presents and prepared them for delivery, they noticed that their database contained poor quality data which had severely decayed since last Christmas.

As a result of the bad data, Martha Smith was set to receive Martha Smyth’s bike, Chrissy would have received coal when she had been good all year and Nigel was about to receive Nigella’s hair straighteners, but Nigel is a (male), and b (bald)!

A Meltdown at the North Pole

With incomplete names, wrong addresses and a jumbled ‘naughty and nice’ list, the North Pole was in complete meltdown.

Santa Claus was in despair. After an awful 2020, he was not going to let Christmas be ruined.

He called an emergency meeting with the Board of Elves at Christmas Inc to determine what went wrong and how to fix it.

The 4 Common Mistakes

After analysing the data in their CRM system, the Board of Elves found 4 common mistakes within their data.

  1. Addresses

With the UK government abolishing stamp duty this tax year, many children moved to a new house. The Elves working in Data Management worked from home for most of the year, and as a result, company-wide data management processes were not being followed correctly and address updates were not carried out.

Even those whose details were updated still encountered problems due to incomplete addresses. Does Martha Smith live on Hampshire Road in Southampton or Southampton Road in Hampshire? Who knows!

  1. Elf Error

At 1,750 years old, Santa’s eyes are not what they once were and as a result, he misread and misspelt many children’s names on his naughty or nice list.

Due to elf error, (because they were Elf taught and didn’t know the full Elphabet), Chrissy, who had been extremely good by sanitising her hands, wearing her mask, and attending her school’s Zoom lessons would have received the lump of coal meant for Chris.

  1. No Ownership of Data

While Santa appointed an Elf responsible for data, he and the rest of the Board of Elves never took responsibility for the assets, and as a result, standards started to slip, and processes began to fail.

  1. Duplicated Data

The final problem the Board of Elves found was that a handful of children’s names were duplicated in the CRM system.

This confused the Elves working in the Logistics Department as some households with only 1 child living there appeared to have 2, 3 or sometimes 4.

Mistakenly, the Elves packed more gifts per household than needed. This meant the average cost of gifts per household rose for Christmas Inc, thus leading to a loss in profit.

A Christmas Miracle

Once Santa and his Board of Elves determined what was wrong, they approached the Elves responsible for Data Quality and asked for their suggestions as to the next steps.

The Head of Data suggested implementing a data management tool to help cleanse and merge Christmas Inc’s database, so that is what they did.

With powerful fuzzy matching capability, all records were compiled into a Single Child View (Single Customer View in CRM terms) within hours, and the Elves knew exactly who was on the naughty or nice list and where presents should be delivered to.

Once the data was sorted, the Elves in the Logistics Department continued wrapping presents and preparing them for delivery.

Thankfully, Christmas 2020 was not ruined, however, it was a narrow escape.

If measures were implemented too late and children received the wrong presents or no presents at all, Santa Claus and Christmas Inc’s reputation would have been tarnished and they would have made front-page news.

To avoid this happening in 2021, Christmas Inc also implemented data management training and procedures to ensure that the data in their CRM system remained intact and a Christmas disaster of this scale would never occur again.


Written by Martin Doyle

Martin is CEO and founder of DQ Global, a Data Quality Software company based in the UK. With an engineering background, Martin previously ran a CRM Software business. He has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience over the years and has established himself as a Data Quality Improvement Evangelist and an industry expert.