Stibo Systems - The Master Data Management Company

Why Darth Vader Must Have Had Master Data Management

July 15 2015
| 3 minute read


Star Wars and Master Data Management. That’s right, your two favorite topics in one place!

And it gets even better. More precisely we are going to talk about the Death Star, the Galactic Empire’s moon-sized battle station mostly known for its planet-destroying super laser. Anyone who’s seen Star Wars will agree that the Death Star is a massive feat of construction. Building the second Death Star, which was about 100 miles in diameter, would take 1,000,000,000,000,000 tons of steel. The construction of this must have been enormously demanding. None the less, the Empire manages to build not just one, but two. The second one, the Empire built in just four years.

For that to be possible the Empire must have used some sort of sophisticated data system, and as this guy, Matt Whitney, suggests; leveraged Big Data technologies. I mean, think about it. Manufacturing (a construction like that must have had its own manufacturing site, right?) all those parts and putting them together into the piece of technological terror that the Death Star represents, must have been one of the biggest jigsaw puzzles this world or a Galaxy far, far away has ever seen. Construction in that scale places big demands on the coordination and management of processes, people as well as items and assets. For it to succeed there must have been strict control with the data supply chain.

Organizing 1,179,293 Staff Members on the Size of 879 Million Empire State Buildings

After you’ve managed the tremendous task of constructing the Death Star, you then have the momentous daily task of managing this Machine of War. The Death Star simply couldn’t work without a Master Data Management (MDM) solution.

The numbers and daily logistics on the Death Star are staggering. 1,179,293 full-time staff members would be needed just to run the Death Star, and that’s without counting cleaning and cafeteria staff. Just keeping track of work schedules is more than an excel spreadsheet can handle! On top of that you can add information such as the staffs’ qualifications, locations (who is where and when), ‘building’ access, and payments (Assuming they got any!).

Besides Employee Data the Empire would have needed to strictly manage their Location Data. The Death Star was divided into numerous zones, each controlled by a "bridge". Furthermore, there were specific "sectors" each with its own function, such as the Military, Security, Service, and Technical sectors. In other words: A huge risk for data silo creation.

And what about spare parts? I mean, they surely have had to produce them themselves. How would they know just what to produce? It requires a system containing detailed information on all Death Star’s parts (And in a vessel the size of a moon, there must be many) AND on their expected life-span, risk of breakdowns, etc. Adding Big Data technology on top of master data would have made it possible to analyze all this data in order to predict which spare parts are needed and when.

There would also have been a big need for effective management of their spare part inventory and distribution. Delivering the right part to the right place at the right time, must have been crucial for the daily operation. Keeping in mind the Death Star’s size – this thing could have housed 879 million Empire State Buildings, and that’s just the “small” one - delivering a wrong part could do severe damage to the Empire’s workflows as well as the Death Star’s technical functions.

Lesson Learned? Do Not Give Droids Access to your Data!

By now, I think we can conclude that the Empire had a good grip on the Death Star’s Master Data Management.

Unfortunately (for them) they neglected a few, but very important, aspects of MDM, for instance Data Governance. They should have set up workflows for proactive data governance around their master data. Incorporating data user rights would have prevented Princess Leia from stealing the plans of the Death Star, which is later key to the destruction of the very same. It would also have prevented R2D2 from plugging in and accessing control over the trash compacter, which saves Luke Skywalker and friends in the famous scene from “A New Hope”.

After all, I guess it was a good thing that the Empire didn’t have a true Multidomain Master Data Management solution. But the saga hasn’t come to an end just yet; maybe they learned the data lesson this time around…?

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