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Master data management initiatives that we find at our customers are manifold. They range from Indexing & Grouping of master data for analytical purposes, via Consolidation of duplicates into “golden records” or Harmonization of master data attributes across a system landscape, to various Central Maintenance scenarios.
SAP’s master data management portfolio covers these broad customer needs with a comprehensive portfolio of MDM infrastructure and MDM applications. You might be well aware of our proven multi-domain infrastructure SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management, and of SAP BusinessObjects Data Services for Extract Transform and Load (ETL) scenarios as well as for Data Quality improvements like address cleansing or duplicate detection.
With SAP Master Data Governance (SAP MDG), we are complementing this portfolio with an increasing number of governance applications for selected master data domains, all tailored for centralized data maintenance and ready to run in SAP environments. SAP Business Suite 7 Innovations 2010 provides you not only with an extension for SAP MDG for financials master data but also with new SAP MDG applications for supplier and material master data.
This new version of SAP Master Data Governance goes into ramp-up shipment to customers on December 20, 2010 together with Enhancement Package 5 for SAP ERP 6.0.
SAP Master Data Governance is a family of process-centric applications that provide centralized governance for selected master data domains based on SAP’s standard data models. The applications come with a native integration with the Business Suite, using existing business logic and customer-specific configuration for validation of master data while it is being created. SAP MDG integrates with SAP Business Objects Data Services (DS) for data quality and enrichment. It uses the data quality engine in DS to inform the user about duplicate data sets and uses DS’s rich address enrichment features to support users in entering correct addresses for their business partners.
SAP MDG allows for designing workflows for the central master data creation or maintenance process. These workflows will typically involve multiple people adding their expertise to complex master data – like one person editing classification information in a material master and another one adding alternative units of measurement and their conversions. The workflows will also include workflow steps for approval of the changed data. Until the approval, the data is kept in a so called staging area, separate from productive master data, and only after approval it will be posted to the master data tables in the SAP system and distributed to all systems that subscribed to these master data changes. Through this, SAP MDG delivers consistent definition, authorization and replication to corporate systems, like SAP Business Suite and non-SAP systems. Through tracking all changes and approvals, SAP MDG supports compliance and a complete audit trail.
Did you ever hear your Finance people or your CFO ask questions like:How can I reduce manual work when updating financial master data and at the same time increase quality in my multi-system environment? How can I efficiently and safely execute and track required changes (who changed what, when and why)?
Or did your VP of Procurement ever ask:How can I maximize financial benefits (i.e. discounts, conditions, central contracts) through correct and complete supplier data?How can I improve my procurement decisions, i.e. supplier performance / evaluation, duplicates, spend analysis that falsify my view on my suppliers?
Did the Manufacturing head ever challenge you:How can I establish a “maintain once – use everywhere” best practice?How can I reduce redundant effort to maintain master data, i.e. through avoiding duplicates?How can I accelerate availability of up-to-date master data in my business network?
And maybe your CIO added that while accomplishing all that, how can you best leverage your investment in SAP?
The Innovations 2010 version of SAP Master Data Governance will help you to address all these questions. Let me tell you how.
SAP MDG offers you master data maintenance capabilities through a role-based domain-specific WebDynpro user interfaces or through Internet Service Request (ISR) forms. You can access the screens either through SAP Enterprise Portal or through SAP NetWeaver Business Client. In addition to central maintenance, data from external sources is supported. For example, you can upload data into SAP MDG via file or services, and then further process (or enrich) the data in SAP MDG. You can also use the search capabilities to start processing. These include database search, exact or fuzzy search via SAP Enterprise Search, and a fuzzy address search via SAP BusinessObjects Address Services.
Data in process through so called Change Requests is stored in a separated repository (staging area), and will be transferred to active area after approval. Active area can be the operational SAP database (“re-use option”) or generated within SAP MDG (“flexibility option”). SAP delivers standard data models and user interface configurations out-of-the-box. These data models are based on SAP Business Suite (financial data, business partner data, and material data) and can be extended by customers. Also the user interfaces can be changed to meet the users’ needs. Single item maintenance as well as mass maintenance is available.
Data can be validated against certain rules during entry or maintenance. Validation is done against SAP Business Suite logic, wrapped by the Business Rules Framework (BRFplus) and supported by SAP BusinessObjects Data Quality Services (like address verification and completion) or external services (like DUNS numbers). Customer specific validation logic can be added. During validation the system also checks for duplicates – optionally again using SAP BusinessObjects Data Services. Data can be enriched using BRFplus.
Figure 1: Illustration of the Master Data Governance process
The entire master data governance process is flexible and can be adapted and tailored based on defined responsibilities existing in a company across various business units. The underlying SAP Business Workflow is rule based. For example that means that the next step can be derived from results in the rules framework (BRFplus). Besides the actual maintenance and approval, workflows can include steps such as activation, replication etc.
Approved and activated data changes can be replicated to SAP systems (delivered out-of-the-box) and non SAP systems. The replication is controlled by the so called Data Replication Framework (DRF). This provides the flexibility to replicate selected data only to specific client systems by defining filters. It supports peer-to-peer communication as well as replication via a broker (like SAP PI). Replication can be handled via various means (like Enterprise Services, ALE / IDOC, RFC, or File) all control through the same framework. The DRF supports Key Mapping and Value Mapping and monitors replication activities, failures etc. through all channels. Replication can be started manually, or can be scheduled, or can be automatically triggered as part of a workflow. In order to support flexibility in data ownership, some data can be maintained in the SAP MDG hub, other data would be added in the client systems after replication.
In the Innovations 2010 version, SAP MDG provides governance applications for a broad set of financial master data, these include Charts of Accounts, General Ledger Accounts, Companies and Group Companies, Consolidation Units, Profit Centers and Cost Centers including their hierarchies, Cost Elements and Cost Element Hierarchies.
As mentioned before, Change Requests organize the data changes and the workflow across the various users and they document all changes for auditing purposes. Typically Change Requests are for a single master data object. If you want to synchronize multiple changes, you can cluster them into so called Editions. These allow you to, for example, group all changes for the chart of account for the next financial quarter into one Edition and then to activate all approved Change Requests of that Edition at the same time.
All changes are kept in the central system’s staging area until approval. They can then be distributed to operational Group systems or to Local financial systems. The distribution is possible via Enterprise Services or file download- upload.
Figure 2: Editions group multiple Change Requests for approval and distribution
Figure 3: Creating a Change Request for a Group Account
With the Innovations 2010 version, SAP Master Data Governance now also supports governance of supplier master data creation and changes. The focus of the first release is on corporate, company and purchasing attributes of suppliers. Search, display, change, and creation of single supplier master data is supported as well as mass processing or changes to supplier hierarchies.
Again, Change Requests steer the maintenance and approval process of new or changed data, based on a workflow-driven creation and change process for suppliers. And they document all changes for later audits. SAP Business Objects Data Services supports data quality services in SAP MDG such as duplicate check or address validation during the maintenance. There is an option for file upload for initial load scenarios or for supplier on-boarding.
All changes are kept in the central system’s staging area until approval. They can then be distributed to operational systems. The distribution is possible via Enterprise Services or Application Link Enabling (ALE).
Figure 4: Maintaining the Master Data of a new supplier
Figure 5: Work lists provide information which due changes need the user’s attention
Also new in the Innovations 2010 release, SAP MDG allows for central creation and change processes for material master data. The focus for now is on identifying and descriptive attributes of material master including basic data and classification. Again, search, display, change, and creation of single material master data is supported as well as mass processing or file upload.
As before, workflows and Change Requests document and steer the complete process of maintenance and approval. The non-approved data is kept inactive in the staging area, from where it is distributed after approval into the active data sets and to other systems – typically via ALE. As with the other domains, work lists inform users of due changes.
Figure 6: Changing the Product Hierarchy of an existing material
Figure 7: You can access the change requests that you triggered yourself to track their progress
We are planning to extend the standard scope of SAP Master Data Governance per master data domain and also to cover additional domains with the next releases of SAP MDG in the coming years.
As said in the beginning, together with SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management, and SAP BusinessObjects Data Services, SAP Master Data Governance complements SAP’s Master Data Management (MDM) portfolio. Being one of the key pillars of Enterprise Information Management, MDM helps customers manage and govern multi-domain master data across heterogeneous IT landscapes. Typical usages are, for example, customer data integration, product information management, or global data synchronization.
Typically, when companies adopt an enterprise MDM strategy, they either pursue a decentralized or a centralized approach:In de-central authoring and consolidation, data originates in the local systems and the MDM instance serves as a central hub for subsequent consolidation of globally relevant master data information. This consolidated information can then be propagated across the system landscape to ensure overall data quality. In central authoring and governance, the primary goal is to drive data quality already at the point of creation. The data is created on a central system and distributed to other systems to be used in operational or analytical processes there.
Following a very typical path towards central master data management, companies might start an MDM strategy at a local system scale by verifying the data quality, then integrating the data into a global MDM hub for central consolidation and harmonization across multiple system, and finally adopting central data governance mechanisms to ensure data accuracy upfront.
Accordingly, SAP’s master data management portfolio supports the manifold customer needs in a holistic way, including data integration & cleansing, de-central authoring, consolidation and harmonization, up-to central master data management and governance.
In this context, SAP BusinessObjects Data Services is SAP’s strategic go-forward data integration and data quality solution that can access, transform, cleanse, and deliver any type of data from anywhere at any frequency. In this capacity it supports SAP NetWeaver MDM as well as SAP Master Data Governance with data quality services in all relevant scenarios. You can find more information on the Data Services site on SDN.
SAP NetWeaver MDM is the proven generic infrastructure for analytical and operational MDM use cases like master data Consolidation and Harmonization, as well as Central Master Data Management scenarios focusing on globally relevant master data attributes for use in heterogeneous environments, consisting of SAP and non-SAP applications. More information can be found on the SAP NetWeaver MDM site on SDN.
As laid out in detail above, SAP Master Data Governance focuses on comprehensive master data ready for use in SAP applications, through ready-to-run governance applications for specific master data domains. It provides pre-built validation against SAP business logic and customer’s configuration settings, and can distribute master data to SAP and non-SAP systems. For additional information, visit the SAP Master Data Governance site on SDN.
SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management is also the foundation of the buy-side catalogue of SAP SRM. You can find more information in the Procurement in Innovations 2010 blog and at the SAP NetWeaver MDM Procurement Catalog Management site on SDN.
With the new version of SAP NetWeaver MDM for Global Data Synchronization (GDS) SAP provides superior process automation (like exchange of catalogue selections via peer-to-peer exchange, connectivity to the data pools of SA2 Worldsync, or Web-Service enablement for key processes). GDS 2.1 also enables more flexibility (like displaying images assigned to trade items, or improved value based restrictions). In addition, it offers enhanced process logging capabilities and the ability to exchange prices in compliance with the GS1 format.
Accordingly customers can now select between the two leading data pools of the world and eliminate the number one error root cause between manufacturers and retailers. They can also communicate with trading partners not participating in GDS using the GS1 standard, or trigger GDS processes from external applications.
Other key benefits include increased usability and clearly separated areas of responsibility, simplified handling of products, and easier error reconciliation. For more information please refer to the GDS site on SDN.