Beyond Naughty & Nice: The Hidden Data Assurance Challenge of Christmas 2021

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The Data Set

There are approximately 11,759,000 children (under 16) in the UK.

Working on the assumption that all those children are on the nice list.

Those children could live in any one of the UK’s 27,000,000 dwellings.

Working on the basis that Father Christmas is set to deliver (on average) three presents into the stocking of every boy and girl, in the knowledge that the average number of children, per family in the UK, is 1.7.

On the basis that the earliest UK bedtime is 6.00pm, and that all Great British parents adhere to the fundamental rule of,

'No presents opened until 8am'

The man in the red suit has (at the outside) a nine-hour window to deliver those presents while everybody is safely tucked up.


Scope of Work

  • 35,277,000 total presents
  • Approximately 5.1 presents per house
  • At a rate of 3,000,000 houses per hour
  • That’s delivery of just over a quarter of a million presents, every minute.

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Red Flags

Globally, twelve in every 1,000 children are twins, so that’s 141,108 little Rosie and Jims expecting to wake up to around 423,324 presents.

1.5 million people in the UK moved house this year, and 18.3% of those movers will be children.

That’s another 274,500 bundles of joy, expecting about 823,500 neatly wrapped gift items that have changed abode in the last 12 months.

Which means, on the nice list, there are potentially 1,246,824 items of duplicated, incorrect, or out-of-date information. Using this data would see one in every 10 children get the wrong present.


Data Migration at the North Pole

Long before 23rd December deadline (allowing 24 hours for post-live /bug fixes and loading the sleigh), a project team sets out to administer the data migration of last year’s nice list, to cleanse and de-duplicate the data.

Having completed a strict profile analysis, to ensure everyone on the list has been sweetness and light (at least through the late autumn), the database gets built, and 35 million stellar gift items get, wrapped, loaded and into the appropriate stocking, in time for the deadline. On the season’s biggest late shift.

If you would like to discuss any of these numbers with us; if you think we have it wrong; if you are interested in assuring your data transformation in 2022 - or if you loved this article and are looking for a new role in data certainty for the new year, please do get in touch! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Presents are for Christmas, dogs are for life, data changes daily. Check your list twice or call us.

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