The Santa Challenge 1: Get the Data!

Santa's facing a number of challenges this year related to the pandemic. Can the FICO Platform help?

Santa Claus is facing a challenge in this pandemic year. Kids worldwide can’t sit on Santa’s lap. Elves are in lockdown and he needs to find new toy sources. Plus with Dancer and Prancer self-isolating, he needs a new way to make his worldwide rounds. This calls for advanced AI and decision management technology – enter FICO! The race is on to keep Santa on schedule.


Challenge 1 – Get the Data!

The pandemic has played havoc with businesses worldwide, and Santa’s is no exception. One of his main sources of data has gone missing — kids sitting on his lap worldwide to say whether they’ve been naughty or nice, and ask for want they want this year.

In my role managing FICO’s scoring business, I understand this challenge. We work with lenders worldwide who want to grant credit to people who traditionally found it hard to get credit, because there’s just no data on them to guide a decision. Our Financial Inclusion Initiative was founded precisely to help lenders serve these unbanked and underbanked people worldwide.

I also understand how even a rich source of data like credit bureau data may be missing a dimension that helps you see the big picture. That’s why we launched the UltraFICO Score, so consumers could include more data in the scoring process.

With our scoring experience and the FICO Platform, we’re ready to help Santa get the data he needs. Here’s how we’re solving his data problem.

Finding Alternative Data Sources

Since Santa’s missing the kids-on-laps data, we went looking for new data sources that could give him the insights he’s need. There’s no global kid database, of course, so we found local data sources in dozens of countries that had relevant information on toy preferences. We vetted each source against local regulations to make sure we had the rights to use it for Santa’s purposes. We also identified the taps in Santa’s own database, and deduped the data to make sure that he didn’t have five separate records for, say, Sam Wennerholm in Sweden, or Cathrin Habel in Germany.

Bringing the Data Together for Analysis

Integrating new data sources is a big headache for any business, including Christmas Inc. Fortunately, the FICO Platform makes it easy to do this with Decision Management Platform Streaming. This technology can import, normalize, and synthesize data from a variety of structured and unstructured sources. And it’s set up for analytic processing, which will make Santa’s next challenge a lot easier.

We asked Santa whether he wanted FICO Decision Management Streaming available on premises or in the cloud. He said his IT elves have enough on their hands, so cloud it is!

Streaming New Data in Real Time

Suppose a kid has been nice all year, and then takes a bulb ought of a neighbor’s strand of Christmas lights, shorting out their whole light display? Or blows out the candles on the menorah?

Fortunately for Santa — and not so fortunately for the kid —FICO Decision Management Streaming does what it says: stream data. So Santa’s getting update in real time, which will feed into his analytics and decisions, even while he’s in the air. By maintaining a 360-degree, real-time understanding of kids’ behavior, Santa’s list is fresher than the cookies waiting for him by the chimney.

Santa Challenge 1 – solved!

Next up:  How does Santa analyze all that new data?

Follow our progress helping Santa week by week at

Find out how you can solve YOUR challenges using the FICO Platform

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