Santaforce Online

Earlier this year, Santa sent me an email with an interesting problem. He was so frustrated with how much effort it took to keep on top of his workload. There were way too many Christmas lists and keeping track of who was naughty and who was nice was a nightmare!

I didn’t want to let Santa down and thought I should ease off the eggnog, roll my sleeves up and help out. And help out I did – in the only way I know, with the Cloud!

Before we began, I visited the North Pole and ran a series of discovery workshops to figure out exactly what the jolly old man did and what he would need to keep track of. We also touched on who would need access to the data and that actually turned out to be a sore topic. New GDPR regulations mean that only Santa is allowed access to the Naughty or Nice list, as well the toys that everyone has asked for. This actually came as a blessing in disguise, as it removed any need for complicated sharing models. One Santa, one user.

Overall, Father Christmas’ requirements were quite light; no doubt a result of the previous process being completely paper-based. This new system would have to perform the following highlights:

  1. Track the boys and girls within each house
  2. Log acts of kindness or naughtiness throughout the year
  3. Log Christmas lists that the boys and girls send in

I thanked Santa for his time, milk and cookies and asked him to give me a few days. As soon as the reindeer dropped me home, I got to work, span up a Salesforce developer org and put together a pretty simple data model.

To achieve everything that Father Christmas would need, I was able to get by with one additional custom object, leaving everything else as standard. This comes with a benefit of future-proofing as much of the system as possible. New features that become available for Accounts, Contacts and Cases will just work with little change or configuration. Very handy, considering Santa will be handling the administration himself.

The interface uses a few of my favourite productivity-boosting tools such as conditional visibility, the Lightning map component and object-specific actions.

In the page below, we’re immediately able to see that he’s been a good boy. At a glance, we can also see where he lives, his age and his Christmas wish list. On the top right-hand side of his record, we can also record a new wish list, as well as quickly log new acts of kindness or naughtiness.

Taking the view up one level and looking at the Account, or in our case, the Family, we can get an overall view of everyone in the household.

Oh dear, Gemma has not been as nice as Christopher. She’ll struggle to get what she’s wished for this year…and not to rub salt in the wound, Game of Thrones season 8 isn’t out yet.

While it’s bad luck for Gemma, it’s great news for Santa because he can now keep track of who has been good this year.

Going into 2019, there are plenty of improvements that can be made to make Father Christmas’ job even easier. Given the monumental amount of data required to pull this off, a purge (not that kind!) will be needed every January. At the moment, this will be a manual process, but there are plenty of automation options out there to archive this data and keep it safe just in case.

Another area where the North Pole HQ could see some improvements is with Communities. Santa can move into the 21st century and become truly paper-free with a self-service wish list submission and “acts of naughtiness” appeals process. What has been built today though is a good foundation with lots of scope to build on for many Christmases to come.

Happy Holidays.