If Santa had a Practice Management System

If Santa had a practice management system … what would he do?  As the population grows, Santa’s elves have been hard-pressed to keep up with “the List” (you know the one …of who is naughty and who is nice) and provide fast and accurate responses.  The elves have been working overtime (they always do) as the big day approaches. But the List is just too long.  Keeping the list current is a gargantuan task.  Just finding all the parchment and ink requires daily shipments for Ink from India and parchment from Sri Lanka (Yes … Santa is part of the global economy). So … what if we gave Santa a practice management system?  As a non-profit, Santa might even be eligible for software discounts or a NFR license to LNFOPBTM.

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So … Let’s look at the situation from a practice management consultant’s eye.  We need status records on 2 billion children.  We need to generate instant reports on who is naughty and who is nice.  With the rise of litigation, some naughty children have been appealing the determination of naughtiness (they don’t particularly like coal). And so, we have needed to open an audit file on each child to keep track of communications regarding each child’s activities.  These notes, of course, are discoverable, so we need some document retention policy.  And given the time it takes to do appeals, the typical 1 month retention policy for emails is too short.

Personally, I think these “coal appeals” are frivilous on two grounds.  First, there is no harm from the determination.  There is no claim on a contingent expectation of generous gifts, particularly where the determination is entirely discretionary; under the arbitration review standard, the one which is applied to coal appeals, no claim should survive (unless the judge has been bribed) on preliminary motions.  Second, it is frivolous, as the supplied coal is far more valuable than any gift that would be supplied by Santa.  With the current price of oil, any kid could take his lump of coal to the nearest savings and loan, and trade it in for cold hard cash.  Coal assets these days are far more value than real estate …. at least the price is appreciating.

So back to Santa’s workshop.  Everyone knows that even frivolous appeals do get litigated, and therefore the data needs to be managed.  And so, Santa and his elves would be better served by a Practice Management system or Case Management System.  My company has produced an Estate Planning Management System for estate attorneys (see link).  We could undertake the Workshop as a client.

We would start them on Time Matters Enterprise. SQL server would be required and some fairly powerful Quad Core Xeon processors. The complexity of the determination of naughty and nice would work with a stripped down basic contact form … in essence a Client Record, since we really have only one Client (Santa). For each appeal, we would open a Matter to track the status and proceedings in the litigation. Each communication and note regarding the “Client kid” would be tracked in the system, whether a note, an email, or a phone call.  We would keep a history of determinations on the second tab, showing the determination for each age up to majority (common … will ya … After ya hit 18 Santa stops keeping tabs).

Then we need to redirect the elves to a proper assessment process.  Let’s have none of these off-the-cuff determinations!  With a Case management system, our process is discoverable.  And the more open the process, the more transparent the method of determination, the less likely appeals will be overturned … hell even get into court.  And so, with the 2008 Santa’s Workshop Management System (“SWMS”), there will be a new regime.  The SWMS includes customized Contact Powerviews that let you review with one click.  Just after Thanksgiving, all notes, calls, events and tasks of each kid as recorded by the busy elves.

This report is printed out; reviewed separately by three elves to make an independent determination.  In the case of any dissenting votes, the report is passed up to a committee of 12 reindeer who decide by simple majority.  In the case of a tie, Santa is called in as the tie-breaker.  All proceedings are recorded in the SWMS.  Once a determination is final, the contact is flagged for the appropriate Santa’s list, and the gift determinations are also recorded and sent to the warehouse of Santa’s Workshop.  With just-in-time inventory processing, these warehouse order are then passed on to the production floor of Santa’s Workshop and then onto the fulfillment provision to get ready for shipment.

We anticipate that with the Santa’s Workshop, the Workshop should easily be able to meet the rising tide of litigation over “Coal Appeals”, and even shut down completely for the January and February mid-winter break from all the efficiency savings.  If you find elves wind-surfing in St. Barts this January … you will know that the Santa’s Workshop Management System is in place and doing its job for happy children around the work.