How the “One” with the Master Data Management Solution Could Have Won the Game of Thrones – Part 2

November 05 2014

Author: Erasmus Holm & Justine Rodian

In our latest blog post How the one with the Master Data Management solution could have won the Game of Thrones – Part 1 we revealed some of the similarities between the pains of fictive continent Westeros from Game of Thrones (GoT) and those of present-day enterprises. In part 2, we list a few more:

Autocratic ownership

Westeros is owned and basically ruled from the iron throne in King’s Landing, creating a poor one-way administration of the entire continent. The opposition is of course Daenerys Targaryen’s successful free army, in which each person has knowledge and freedom under responsibility.

Who owns the data strategy in most companies? Way too often the answer will be the IT department (Not that IT departments in general should be compared to the despicable - now deceased - King Joffrey or any other Lannister!). This is often due to a lack of awareness from the leadership team. Most simply don’t know that data management is a matter for the entire company. Constraining data stewardship to one business unit – opposed to implementing data governance centrally and openly in the company – will impair the effect of any data strategy.

Far-away, external risks are underestimated

Dangers from far away, like the wildlings and the white wanderers behind ”The Wall”, not to mention Daenerys Targaryen and her growing army across the Narrow Sea, are underestimated because they are far away and physically distanced. Westeros – especially King’s Landing – has a sense of false safety and comfort in its own enclosed world. But ignoring threats from outside or simply blocking them out constitutes a big risk for Westeros.

Too many companies still underestimate remote competition merely because it’s far away and in doing so neglect to adjust to international markets. Whether we like it or not, competition is still moving closer due to new technology. Even companies who have always enjoyed domestic success must recognize and adapt to external risks. At the same time, companies shouldn’t think themselves secured behind the “walls” of their company. What good does it do that data quality is high behind the walls if error filled data is floating in from, let’s say, the supplier side?

GoT External risks_Part 2

Now imagine…
That Westeros implemented a Master Data Management solution to manage the information flow across the entire continent. Suddenly people would realise that the real dangers aren’t the exposed semi-royal dwarf Tyrion Lannister, whom Cersei Lannister puts enormous efforts into destroying. And it isn’t the last surviving members of the Stark family who are also being fiercely hunted. No, the biggest threat seems to come from the North where a potentially destroying army gather its forces. Maybe even from within the continent; From Stannis Baratheon and his red priestess Melisandre? Or what about the cunning Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish who apparently is accountable for former King Joffrey’s death?

An intelligent MDM solution would hold this information up against other information, for instance, the fact that Daenerys Targaryen has mobilised a huge army on the other side of the Narrow Sea. By combining that information, Westeros’ authorities would most likely induce an atoning strategy towards Daenerys, whose army may be the only salvation in a “beyond-the-Wall” versus Westeros battle.

I’m sure you can imagine that the one with access to the knowledge and the skills to act strategically upon it would be the one sitting on the iron throne, and that Westeros with an operative information system would be a functioning and well-oiled continent.

“There is a tool for every task and a task for every tool.” Tywin Lannister

For companies struggling with inefficient information systems and siloed strategies, problems hopefully aren’t as life-threatening as it is in GoT. However, in today’s business environment lagging behind competitors can be fatal. The companies with effective information solutions are the ones with the insights. They are the most visionary, effective and agile ones and they will ultimately be the ones winning the battle over customer loyalty.





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