Santa Retools to Save Christmas


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Compay Name: UCBOS, Inc.
Bio: UCBOS, Inc. is an Atlanta based global technology firm with the mission to provide the world’s first “No-Code Enterprise Application Platform” and revolutionize the notion of the composable enterprise.  Its vision is to simplify Automation and AI/ML technologies and make them practical for business, operations, and IT to adapt and transcend coding, industry, and business limitations.

The teams at the big syndicate up North were just getting to the end of their long, post holiday backlog and holding the final round of holiday delivery retrospectives when it became clear that 2020 was not going to be typical year. Trend spotting Elf scouts had brought back reports very different from the usual toy trends: lockdowns, isolation and something called Zoom. Santa and Ms. Claus called a Pole-wide meeting and had to break the tough news: no beach-side cookie break this year. The entire operation was staying put.

According to my source, the first order of business was to jump into the immediate relief effort. If you noticed a little extra sparkle in some of the PPE making it’s way to first responders at the start of the crisis (and we’re not talking about your smile, Cody Townsend), you may have caught the first emergency run of Santa’s workshop in over a century. As for the bottomless 55 gallon drum of hand sanitizer that showed up for the Bronx Community Relief Effort, Derrick Lewis, co-founder of the Bronx Community Foundation, would only say that, when it arrived, it was “cold. Like really, polar, cold”.

santa retools

Booting up the mask and hand sanitizer lines was handled with isolated teams. The next order of business was a complete retooling of the whole operation. Over the years, Santa had built the “greatest supply chain in the world” to deliver just the right gift to 100s of millions of kids. Now, all those operations had to be re-imagined with social distancing and COVID safety.

Santa and his team were no stranger to new technology from using using of NoSQL for the big list to the big re-do of Secret Santa. This time, the team took on the entire planning process and used a new approach to take it virtual. According to my sources, they made LIDAR scans of the workshops and then rendered them in UnReal engine. They then used the gaming environment to create safe elf workflows and plan how to take key processes, like the big naughty or nice tabulation, into distributed, virtual environments. This was sounding familiar. I thought back to our MESA Applied Data Working Group where we heard about the ETC film project The Ripple Effect and how ‘Safetyvis’ was bringing Hollywood production back online. When reached for comment on a possible North Pole connection, Eric Weaver of the ETC would only say “we had some great collaborators on this project and some of them really brought new, top of the world, perspectives”.Comparison Between a Proof of Concept and a Proof of Scale

santa retools

One of the key requirements coming out of the new workshop design was letting individual teams execute entire parts of the workflows on their own. The usual methods of a “lot of yelling and maybe too many team meetings” were not going to cut it in the new socially-distanced workshop. My source up North says they knew these changes were coming. “Ever since the huge success of the semantic list project, the data team has been lobbying to digitize some of the bottlenecks around the shop, particularly those around the Big Guy. But when you can just grab an elf and fling them across the shop, well, it just kinda kept dropping of the Kanban board.”

But this year, they had no choice. Headed up by Ms. Claus (the real “logistical genius” according to my source), the team set out to rethink how they worked. The data team’s work gave them a good foundation. What was missing was a way to put that data into action. “We looked at control tower concepts and other traditional supply chain solutions, but, suddenly, we couldn’t afford to have everyone together to make decisions”. In this new world, the teams not only had to be able to act on their own, they also had to stay in sync with the core team of Santa and Ms. Claus.

It was the elf development team that found the solution. The team had been tracking no-code, new technology to let end users create workflows and applications using re-usable components, but they weren’t sure it was right for them. According to one elf architect “we were going back and forth about it, until someone finally said, ‘what if it works? What would we do differently?'” Then the team took stock of how much new functionality they needed to create and no-code became a “no brainer”. But they still had a big stumbling block: how could they leverage all the data they had already been working on?

santa retools

The team found the solution with UCBOS. Created to let teams working on tough supply chain and logistics challenges create the tools and workflows they need, UCBOS combined data mapping and data integration capabilities with no-code. According to the elf architect. “once we saw that the platform could handle the complexity and diversity of our supply chain data, we were able convince the rest of the app team that moving to no-code would actually make their lives easier”.

Using the platform, the team created the core business building blocks for the workshop including Kids, Toys, the Big List, Suppliers, Distribution, Sparkle and Holiday Joy. Then they built rules on how these all worked together. For instance, to get the teaching toy lines up and running (a big request this year), the team first created a rich set of Kid parameters and mixed them with the right kinds of Toys and just a bit of Sparkle. Then the teaching team used those building blocks, added in the Holiday Joy and created a new automation program that ramped up and optimized the production lines while also updating the Big List. The education team even had time left over to create monitoring dashboards and inbound feedback forms themselves. This was, according to my source, “just about the same as everyone else” but the education team may have had “a few showoffs”.

According to my source, things have worked out well: “we’re actually really happy with the new workshop. Its a lot quieter and now that teams can build there own workflow tools, we’re doing a lot less running around.” But most importantly, the team is confident that they can, once again, get the world’s biggest logistics job done. “We’re always excited to work with new technology, but this year, it just may have saved Christmas.”

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About UCBOS, Inc.

UCBOS, Inc. is an Atlanta based global technology firm with the mission to provide the world’s first “No-Code Enterprise Application Platform” and revolutionize the notion of the composable enterprise.  Its vision is to simplify Automation and AI/ML technologies and make them practical for business, operations, and IT to adapt and transcend coding, industry, and business limitations.

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