SAP NetWeaver: MDM Scenarios and Fundamentals

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Master Data Management

Master Data Management seeks to ensure consistent and high-quality master data in a heterogeneous system environment. It includes determination and future avoidance of duplicate and inconsistent data, thus allowing reliable global reporting and operational efficiency of business execution.

Benefits of Master Data Management

MDM enables an organization to link all of its critical reference or master data shared by several disparate IT systems and groups under one single version of truth. This ensures that multiple inconsistent versions of the same master data are not used in different parts of an organization’s operations. By providing front-line employees with more accurate and complete data, instead of inconsistent, incomplete, and often inaccurate data, organizations can realize many added benefits.

The business analytical capability of an organization can be increased by utilizing MDM to provide consistent master data across all its operational applications. By achieving this, the master data that flows into a data warehousing system would also be consistent thus allowing the organization to leverage company-wide analytics and reporting.

The benefits of MDM increase as the number and diversity of organizational departments, worker roles, and computing applications expand. The implementation of MDM is especially useful when companies merge as it can minimize confusion and optimize the efficiency of the new, larger organization.

In addition, companies with a global footprint having an independent region-wise ERP implementation tend to consolidate with one ERP solution for all countries. In this scenario, MDM proves to be the necessary solution by unifying master data from each ERP system into a single unified master data such as Supplier, Material master, or Customer.

MDM scenarios

SAP NetWeaver MDM scenarios can be easily implemented by the customers to utilize the core functionality of SAP NetWeaver in a phase-wise manner. It includes streamlined IT scenarios as well as product-content management and global data synchronization capabilities.

SAP NetWeaver MDM scenarios are broadly classified into the following two categories:

  • IT scenarios
  • Business scenarios

IT scenarios

IT scenarios are based on the lines of viewing the system comprising of various IT components and the flow of data between these entities. These scenarios can be applied to specific master data objects based on a model-driven approach.

The following IT scenarios are listed within SAP NetWeaver MDM:

  • Master Data Consolidation
  • Master Data Harmonization
  • Central Master Data Management

Master Data Consolidation

Consolidation involves matching, normalizing, cleansing, and storage of master data imported from heterogeneous client systems.

SAP NetWeaver MDM offers out-of-the-box models covering globally relevant attributes for the following:

  • Material
  • Product
  • Retail article
  • Supplier
  • Customer
  • Business partner
  • Employee

This allows customers to also model additional content on an ad-hoc basis.

Organizations can cleanse and consolidate master data on materials, retail articles, suppliers, customers, and employees in an interactive manner within heterogeneous environments.

The cleansed and consolidated master data can then be consumed to perform company-wide analytics, for example, global spend analysis.

The key capabilities of Master Data Consolidation include:

  • Identification of identical or similar objects spread across the local systems
  • Cleansing of master data objects on a need basis
  • Providing ID mapping for unified, company-wide analytics, and reporting

Components required for implementing Master Data Consolidation

Masterdata consolidation utilizes the following SAP NetWeaver components:

  • Process Integration (PI)
  • Components of MDM such as:
    • MDM Import Manager (required for map creation and for manual data import)
    • MDM Import Server (required for automated master data import)
    • MDM Data Manager (required for updating master data)
    • MDM Syndication Server (required for automated master data export)
    • MDM Syndicator (for manual master data export)
  • Business Intelligence (BI) (only if data needs to be consumed for consolidated analytics such as global spend analysis)

In the following diagram, we illustrate Master Data Consolidation:

SAP NetWeaver: MDM Scenarios and Fundamentals

How this scenario integrates with other scenarios?

MasterData Consolidation is the prerequisite for subsequent phases lying within the incremental approach followed by SAP NetWeaver MDM. Subsequent scenarios that follow Master Data Consolidation are Master Data Harmonization and Central Master Data Management.

Master Data Harmonization

Harmonization involves distribution of cleansed and consolidated high-quality master data within heterogeneous system landscapes.

Organizations can make use of the out-of-the-box models offered by SAP NetWeaver MDM to cover globally relevant attributes for the following:

  • Material
  • Product
  • Retail article
  • Supplier
  • Customer
  • Business partner
  • Employee

Additional content can also be modeled by the customers on an ad-hoc basis.

This scenario includes Master Data Consolidation to ensure high-quality master data within connected business systems in an interactive manner. An added benefit in this scenario is that it allows client-specific control on master data.

Organizations can utilize the consolidated and harmonized master data to perform company-wide analytics, for example, global spend analysis.

The key capabilities of Master Data Harmonization include:

  • Streamlined processes for data load, consolidation, and distribution
  • High-quality cleansed and de-duplicated master data within a heterogeneous system landscape

Components required for implementing Master Data Harmonization

MasterData Harmonization utilizes the following SAP NetWeaver components:

  • Process Integration (PI)
  • Components of MDM such as:
    • MDM Import Manager (required for map creation and for manual data import)
    • MDM Import Server (required for automated master data import)
    • MDM Data Manager (required for updating master data)
    • MDM Syndication Server (required for automated master data export)
    • MDM Syndicator (for manual master data export)
  • Business Intelligence (BI) (only if data needs to be consumed for consolidated analytics such as global spend analysis)

In the following diagram, we illustrate Master Data Harmonization:

SAP NetWeaver: MDM Scenarios and Fundamentals

How this scenario integrates with other scenarios

In SAP NetWeaver’s incremental approach, Master Data Harmonization is preceded by the Master Data Consolidation scenario.

You can also leverage the consolidation and harmonization capabilities of Business Objects Data Services.

Central Master Data Management

Allows centralized maintenance and storage of master data with distribution mechanisms that ensure master data is delivered to remote systems that need it. Central Master Data Management puts into place corporate master data governance policies that ensures the overall master data quality of an organization.

The differentiating aspect in this scenario with reference to Master Data Harmonization is that master data is created centrally using a rich client. Information is then delivered to target remote systems in an interactive manner.

The key capabilities of Central Master Data Management include:

  • Achieving Central Data ownership resulting in dramatic quality improvements
  • Empowers companies to set their own standards for master data management
  • Guarantees client-specific control on master data via local completion

SAP NetWeaver MDM offers out-of-the-box models covering globally relevant attributes for the following:

  • Material
  • Product
  • Retail article
  • Supplier
  • Customer
  • Business partner
  • Employee

This allows customers to also model additional content on an ad-hoc basis.

Components required for implementing Central Master Data Management

Central Master Data Management utilizes the following SAP NetWeaver components:

  • Process Integration (PI)
  • Components of MDM such as:
    • MDM Data Manager (required for updating master data)
    • MDM Syndication Server (required for automated master data export)
  • Business Intelligence (BI) (only if data needs to be consumed for consolidated analytics such as global spend analysis)

In the following diagram, we illustrate Central Master Data Management:

SAP NetWeaver: MDM Scenarios and Fundamentals

How this scenario integrates with other scenarios

In SAP NetWeaver’s incremental approach, Master Data Consolidation is a prerequisite for subsequent Central Master Data Management.

Business scenarios

In addition to IT scenario variants, SAP NetWeaver MDM also features business scenarios. This allows flexibility in adapting SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management to whatever business process flow the customer wants. The following business scenarios are described:

  • Rich Product-Content Management
  • Global Data Synchronization
  • Customer Data Integration

Rich Product-Content Management

This scenario targets requirements of a centralized product-content management and multi-channel catalog publishing. It allows for importing and exporting product data, centrally managing content, and publishing disparate product data across the enterprise and between trading partners.

Organizations can create custom print catalogs, web catalogs, or expose an MDM product repository to a business application (for example SAP SRM) through the Open Catalog Interface (OCI). Consequently, the capabilities of MDM are extended with business processes such as product introduction, cataloging, and publishing.

The key capabilities of Rich Product-Content Management are as follows:

  • High-performing load, aggregation, and search of product data
  • Multidimensional search
  • Flexible taxonomy
  • Intelligent imaging and Web/print publishing
  • APIs for seamless, multiplatform integration
  • Scalability (up to millions of products)

Organizations can utilize the following key benefits of implementing Rich Product-Content Management:

  • Manage or exchange product data locally and globally
  • Manage internal content
  • Search electronic catalogs
  • Print customized catalogs
  • Syndicate product catalog content through multiple channels such as OCI, Web, and Print
  • Presents role-based interfaces through a portal

Process flow

This business scenario includes the following processes:

SAP NetWeaver: MDM Scenarios and Fundamentals

The following section discusses each of these processes in detail.

Importing product data

Start the upload of product master data (flat files) from the specified remote systems, or product information from suppliers (in Excel or TXT format) to MDM.

This process has the following prerequisites:

  • The Repository has been set up using the MDM Console and import maps have been created using the MDM Import Manager
  • The inbound port has been defined using the MDM Console
  • The MDM Import Server is running
  • The inbound source data is staged in the inbound port

Once the data is delivered to a specific inbound port, it is automatically picked up within a configurable time interval and queued up for import processing.

The MDM Import Server maps and matches the imported data to the repository structure as per the import maps defined in the MDM Import Manager.

Re-categorizing and enriching product data

In this process, you search and merge identical records interactively using the MDM Data Manager. It provides different search patterns such as tree search, keyword search, free search, and so on.

After de-duplication you can check if new data has been attached to the correct category and re-categorize it, if necessary. You can also enrich additional information in the MDM Data Manager and custom validations can be applied to check master data updates. Workflows can also be configured which are triggered to support the change processes.

Support for adding images as additional information for repository items is available in the MDM Image Manager. Images can be imported into the repository and image variants (example thumbnails) can be created (using the MDM Console) for each image in addition to the original copy. These images are linked to the corresponding product items in the repository using the MDM Data Manager.

Providing catalog content

Using this process, you can choose to syndicate the product data, apart from print publishing such as Web publishing or exposing the MDM product repository, to a business application (such as, SAP SRM) through the Open Catalog Interface (OCI). The SRM-MDM web catalog provided by SAP contains the web interfaces developed by SAP to access the MDM catalog. The implementation would require a deployment into an additional NetWeaver component called SAP Enterprise Portal.

In the case of web publishing, a custom Web Catalog can be developed using the APIs. As a prerequisite, a web application should have been created and deployed on a web server with an open connection to the MDM catalog. An MDM API can be used to perform search, read, and maintain the repository content. On the other hand, if the MDM product repository needs to be exposed to a business application, we can provide the content via the OCI. Using the OCI you can search for products and add the required items to a selection list. The list is then transferred to the shopping cart of the business application and the order is completed.

Enabling print publishing

Using this process, you can compose and set up a printed product catalog using the MDM Publisher. In order to do this you need to first create a family table using the MDM Console to enable the initial partitioning.

As catalog printing is based on category-dependent pages and different product groups in a category have different layouts, further category partitioning can be defined in the MDM Data Manager. We can partition such categories using the field or attribute values to create product families.

With the help of the MDM Publisher, you can assign default settings to create a common layout structure for the publication. We can then arrange a specific layout for the given product family such as eliminate redundancies, apply printed version display name, and structure tables.

In order to start the publishing activities, a collection of families or non-family based records can be defined as a publication. The publication hierarchy, thus created, is not limited to the repository’s taxonomy unlike the family hierarchy. You can freely add, delete, move, and split nodes to create your own structure for the catalog. Spread editor will enable you to concentrate specifically on page layout and design such as creating layout templates for publication.

The next step involves using the DTP plug-in to send the publication data from MDM to a Desktop Publishing (DTP) application such as Adobe InDesign. Using the DTP application, some specialized format changes can be done and saved with the publication in MDM. This can be re-used with the next publishing run.

Finally, an index for the complete publication is generated using the MDM Indexer.

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