Iceberg, Right Ahead!

Tonight it is 100 years ago Titanic hit an iceberg and sank. So I guess it is rush hour for Titanic related blog posts. I’m going on board as well with some musings on lessons from Titanic to be learned within data management, be that migration projects, master data management implementations and data quality improvement programs.

From A to B

Why did Titanic have to sail through icy waters? There are no icebergs around Southampton, Cherbourg or Cork from where she departed, and no icebergs around New York where she was heading to. Unfortunately there is in the Iceberg Alley of Newfoundland where she passed.

In data management (and enterprise architecture too) we are often focused on the AS-IS and TO-BE states, while the dangers are on the route between these points.


1,100 lifeboat seats are good enough for 2,200 people on an unsinkable ship, right? And why waste time and money on training the crew in evacuation. Unfortunately omitting that caused lifeboats available to be only half filled when Titanic was going down.

The maritime industry has improved a lot since then. The data management industry and discipline has a way to go still.

Real time decision making       

When the lookout reported “Iceberg, right ahead!” the officer in charge on Titanic had to make a swift decision. “Hard a’starboard!” unfortunately was the worst option, causing the ships side to be opened below the waterline. The ship would have been better off if it had sailed directly into the iceberg.

Supporting better real time decision making is a great challenge within data management today.

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