Best Practices for Implementing SAP Master Data Governance

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Best_Practices_for_Implementing_SAP_Master Data Governance

Bad Master Data. If you are involved with Master Data, then you know how bad it can get. You know that it affects everything in the enterprise. As master data starts impacting the bottom-line, the CIO will have to preside over wrangling in some formal data governance - whether it be a tool like SAP MDG or any another enterprise governance solution. Most of the time, it's a shotgun wedding announcement in a company memo: Neglectful Data Organization Marries Standardized System of Record.

As the CIO tries to rapidly and seamlessly tie worlds of systems together, data management organizations (DMOs) instinctively ask the question: “are we prepared?” Most often, from the DMO’s perspective, the answer is an emphatic ‘No!’ But once the initial horror subsides, DMOs prepare for the long-haul of configuring, developing, testing, and engaging different business units for roll-out. During the preparation phases, there are a few key considerations for the implementing SAP MDG:

1. Know Your Role(s)

When you speak of anything 'workflow,' the swim lanes become very central to the conversation. Routing, decision making, and parallel processes all need to be documented at a task/step level, sure, but when data governance becomes centralized with SAP MDG, begin to think at a level of role-centric ownership and user interfaces. Yes, this also includes field-level ownership (data- team leadership rejoice!). When deciding ‘who gets what?’ in terms of fields to be used in a workflow, define the fields to be assigned to each role, not workflow step. This will not only reduce the complexity of mapping steps at a field level, but also help with decisions of whether or not particular fields are required, optional, or read-only for this role in the workflow.

2. Detail Your Processes... then detail them some more

Developers hate ambiguity...almost as much as when the coffee runs dry. When documenting your processes, be very specific in detailing your workflows. Swim lanes, tasks, and connectors in MS Visio will not be enough. For SAP MDG, be sure to mark where master data merges, tasks split, new change requests begin, when notifications are to be sent, etc. Following the theme from the first consideration, each step should contain metadata about the step or task – all the fields and, importantly, the business rules associated with each field, for each step, for each role. As tongue-tied as you may get for saying that sentence 8 times fast, the developer will thank you when creating that rules-based workflow; he might even buy you your next cup of coffee.

3. Centrally Document Everything

Often, when multiple master data domains are being implemented, the organization goes haywire. More often than not, teams start to get confused over the latest version of Visio documents, Functional/Technical Specs, Field-Design Spreadsheets, etc. Everything that is important to the execution of the project may fall prey to re-work if there is not a central location of process documentation. Luckily, this nuisance of central documentation can be avoided (warning - shameless plug at the end of this post). Typically, there should be a ‘document champion’… or ‘King’ (whomever you’re having this conversation with) and his/her responsibility will be the handling of check-ins, check-outs, updates, distribution, quality reviews, and overall representation. From past experiences, not having someone who knows which document is the right ‘source of truth’ will help avoid searching for a needle in a haystack. Whichever application is chosen to house all the documents, keep that organization clean and up-to-date throughout the lifecycle of the project.

DATUM’s solution for this is Information Value Management®, a knowledge management platform focused specifically on the challenges of Information Management. It allows our customers to design their own program, ignite collaboration among business and IT counterparts, provide clarity into the readiness for tools like MDG, and continue to monitor the program to value realization. If you are interested in a demo of IVM™, you can request one below.

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