In 1980, I fell in love with feudal Japan. Why? I was 10 years old and watched the NBC miniseries Shogun with Richard Chamberlain . . . samurais, ninja, everything needed to captivate the imagination of a young boy. I immediately read the huge book Shogun by James Clavell (1300 pages), which I have now read three times. Completing it for the third time a month ago getting ready for the new miniseries of Shogun on Hulu/FX. Yes, I had a watch party in my office on February 27th to watch the new Shogun! And yes, I wore a samurai kimono and zoroye complete with samurai swords to the watch party (reply and ask me for pictures). The watch party had sushi (my oldest son is a master sushi chef in Milwaukee), sake, Japanese whiskey, and Japanese beer).

As the GRC Pundit and market/industry analyst, I often reflect on the dynamism and complexity of the GRC technology market. This market resembles the vivid narrative of James Clavell’s novel Shogun. In this grand tale, just as in the GRC industry, numerous GRC technology/solution players are vying for dominance, alliances are ever-shifting, and strategy is key to survival and triumph.

Imagine the GRC technology solutions as the various feudal lords and samurai depicted in “Shogun.” Some are the daimyos that represent the GRC platforms that try to outmaneuver each other for market dominance. Others are samurai that serve these daimyos that are best-of-breed focused GRC solutions that extend capabilities, but at times shift alliances. Others are ronin, samurais with no masters and alliance.

Each daimyo, with his unique strengths and weaknesses, competes for influence and power in feudal Japan, much like how GRC vendors strive to innovate and differentiate their offerings in the market. The goal for these lords is to become the Shogun, the supreme military dictator, paralleling how GRC vendors aspire to lead the industry, to be GRC Shogun! Success requires great technology, but also alliances with other GRC best-of-breed technology solutions, professional service firms, and GRC content/intelligence providers.

Mergers and acquisitions in the GRC field are akin to the strategic marriages and alliances formed in the book. These unions are about gaining power and acquiring new capabilities, expanding territorial reach, and neutralizing threats, much like how GRC vendors merge with or acquire others to enhance their technological capabilities, expand market presence, and eliminate competition. And 2024 has shown quite a few M&A activities that have already gone public and much more in play yet to be announced that I have interacted on.

Similarly, partnerships in the GRC technology market resemble the shifting alliances between the daimyos (feudal lords) in “Shogun.” These tactical alliances are often formed to gain a strategic advantage over a common foe or enter new domains. In the GRC world, such partnerships might involve collaborating on joint ventures, integrating complementary technologies, or co-developing new solutions to meet emerging market needs.

The intrigues and power struggles within “Shogun” mirror the competitive dynamics in the GRC market. Just as the characters in the novel employ diplomacy, espionage, and warfare to outmaneuver their rivals, GRC vendors use market research, competitive intelligence, and strategic marketing to gain an edge. Something that GRC 20/20 specializes in and is better than any other market research firm on the planet. My very existence.

As in the novel, where the characters must adapt to a rapidly changing environment and unforeseen events, GRC vendors must also be agile, responding swiftly to regulatory changes, evolving risk landscapes, and technological advancements. This agility is crucial to survival and success in the quest to become the GRC Shogun. This is definitely the case with GRC solutions figuring out their artificial intelligence (Cognitive GRC) strategies, which are causing further acquisitions and alliances.

Lastly, the depth and breadth of the characters’ skills and alliances in “Shogun” can be likened to the range of solutions and services offered by GRC vendors. Just as a well-rounded character is more likely to succeed, a vendor that offers a comprehensive suite of solutions and services, which includes professional service and GRC content/intelligence partnerships, tailored to diverse and evolving needs, is more likely to lead in the GRC market.

The quest to become the GRC Shogun is a complex and dynamic journey, much like the intricate plot of “Shogun.” As an analyst, I provide insight into this fascinating market, helping businesses navigate the ever-changing landscape and understand the differentiators that set each vendor apart. Just as in “Shogun,” where strategy, alliances, and adaptability determine the ultimate victor, the same principles apply in the quest for leadership in the GRC technology market.

My role is to provide objective and independent evaluation and insight into the breadth and depth of the players in the GRC market to help organizations select the right solution that fits their specific needs and strategy. It is my job to evaluate and forecast where the market is headed and what differentiates players and to predict who is capable of being the GRC Shogun to dominate this market.

Have a question on GRC solutions (whether broad platform or specific best-of-breed focused solutions), ask an inquiry . . .

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