Any fan of Game of Thrones (GoT) will tell you that it’s a dark-ages styled drama, presented more as history than fantasy, and a significant topping of back-stabbing politics for greed and power, with a strong undercurrent of sword and sorcery.

It’s pure escapism, which couldn’t possibly have relevance to our digital age, other than its fantastic on-screen presence powered by CGI. Or could it?

Eaton's Iron Throne
– Eaton

Winter is Coming [1]

In GoT, the winter isn’t a once a year thing, it’s generational, and once it’s arrived it lasts for years. Lots of them. The GoT winter is a fantastic metaphor for the threat of change, and calling change ‘winter’ suggests only those that are strong or prepared will prosper.

The rate of change in our modern world has increased, and has become normal. That said, our ability to create, collect and use data means analysts are now predicting a new step-change that businesses need to be ready for. Things like IoT, 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and robotics will change many sectors beyond recognition. The manufacturing sector already refers to it as Industry 4.0, or the 4th industrial revolution; it’s that big of a deal.

Chaos isn’t a pit, chaos is a ladder [2]

All these changes create a level of chaos. Tech companies are turning into banks, finance entrepreneurs are building electric cars and cloud providers are turning into power companies – the list goes on (insert your favorite disruptive brand here).

So just like GoT, those best equipped will find their ladder out of where they are, and cause chaos as they go. Perspective is important: it’s a ladder of chaos to everyone else, but to your business it’s a ladder of prosperity. What’s interesting is that most of the time, the ladder turns out to be data.

Fear cuts deeper than swords [3]

Rising risk levels are also changing the landscape where data is concerned. The threat of malware or ransomware has made organizations re-evaluate how they protect their data, both on-premises and in the cloud.

In addition to cyber-threats, an up-tick globally on data privacy laws such as GDPR and CCPA, backed by strong enforcement, are also causing businesses to look more closely at how they collect, process and store data. Sadly, many organizations are missing a clear opportunity to reduce compliance risk by properly mapping their data.

One of the best things companies can look at doing is installing a platform that allows you to automate policies and workflows based on the content of data. It should also turn your backup and archive store into an effective big data repository, without having to build something bespoke at a high cost.

If I look back, I am lost [4]

Big changes are definitely coming, and you don’t have to look far through the tech media to find a story about how AI will affect your job or that of someone close to you. If you think mobile changed your world, the next big shifts will likely have an even greater impact.

In Game of Thrones, ‘winter is coming’ became the catchphrase of the show. In our world, change will only look like winter if you fail to modernize how you look at data. And you can only do that by making a generational shift in how you keep data available, compliant and visible.

Who said what? Just in case you were wondering:
1. Ned Stark, then just about everyone else
2. Littlefinger
3. Arya Stark
4. Daenerys Targarian