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Consolidated InfoObjects serve in the SAP NetWeaver BI system to integrate information from different SAP components in a standardized (consolidated) data model. If data from a more heterogeneous source system environment (including non-SAP sources) has to be integrated within the NW BI system, these consolidated InfoObjects play an even more important role.

For example, the consolidated InfoObject 0PRODUCT integrates product master data 0MATERIAL from mySAP ERP and 0CRM_PROD from mySAP CRM.

It is important to note that these consolidated InfoObjects are solely based on BI data modeling concepts and don’t represent a special or new feature of BI technology. SAP already delivers consolidated InfoObjects for Business Partner, Product, and Product Category within its standard BI Content. This blog will give an overview of the basic data modeling concepts behind consolidated InfoObjects and then link to the comprehensive documenation and to a former SAP TechEd presentation.

Data model overview

The following picture displays the data model of the consolidated InfoObject for product master data (InfoObject 0PRODUCT).

image

The lower data layer consists of local view InfoObjects (0MATERIAL, 0CRM_PROD, and so on), which reflect a technical representation of data that is dependent on the SAP component or the non-SAP system used.

The upper data layer forms the integration level of all InfoObjects of the lower layer. Data is cleansed and updated redundantly into the consolidated InfoObjects of the global view that is required for the integration of the local views.

List of important consolidated InfoObjects

SAP delivers with its standard BI Content a set of consolidated InfoObjects which can be also used and extended in data models of the customer. The most important ones are listed below where the links point to the respective documenation in the SAP Help Portal.

Consolidated InfoObject Technical name
Customer 0GN_CUSTOM
Vendor 0GN_VENDOR
Company 0GN_COMPANY
Product 0PRODUCT
Sales Category 0GN_CAT_SAL
Purchasing Category 0GN_CAT_PUR

These consolidated InfoObjects can also be seen as BI data modeling patterns for the development of further ones in customer systems.

Key structure of consolidated InfoObjects

The following components concatenate to the key of a consolidated InfoObject:

  • source system ID (two-character source system ID; permitted values are stored NW BI table RSSOURSYSTEM)
  • one blank character
  • backend object type (four-character backend object type; permitted values are stored BI table RSBWBEOTYP)
  • master data key value as stored in the source system

Note that the key of a consolidated InfoObject solely consists of non-integrated informations from the different source systems. Integration across source systems results from a (maybee repeatedly applied) data consolidation and cleasing process which unveils duplicate master data keys.

Key mapping as result of master data consolidation and cleansing

Data integration rises to the challenge that identical characteristic values of master data do not usually have the same key in different source systems.

For example, the product characteristic value “Pump”, which is an identical item in all source systems, has the key “1000” in a mySAP ERP source system (represented by the InfoObject 0MATERIAL) and “P1000” in a mySAP CRM source system (represented by the InfoObject 0CRM_PROD).

Master data consolidation and cleasing is (iteratively) done by the 3 following steps:

  • Replicate your master data from different source systems to a data consolidation and cleasing enginge (SAP NetWeaver MDM).
  • This data consolidation and cleasing engine uses master data attributes (e.g. addresses of customer master data) and matching rules to identify duplicate master data keys. As result, a unique key mapping information (group ID) is assigned to each individual set of duplicate master data records.
  • Upload the key mapping information to the SAP NetWeaver BI system and store the group IDs as master data attribute of the corresponding consolidated InfoObject.

This master data consolidation and cleansing process using SAP NetWeaver MDM was already described in a recent SDN blog.

It very important to note that the result of the master data integration step (i.e. the group ID) is not used as the unique key of the consolidated InfoObjects but used as navigational attribute. All BI queries on transactional data use this navigational attribute of the consolidated InfoObject to bring together identical master data objects from different source systems. By using this master data model, a refinement of the master data integration after a consecutive cleansing process would only lead to a attribute change run in the NW BI system but not to a complete re-alignment of the transactional data in the final InfoProvider.

Attributes of consolidated InfoObjects

The attributes of the above listed consolidated InfoObjects were chosen according to the following guiding principles:

  • Only attributes used for integrated (cross-source system, cross-application) reporting are relevant. This leads to a very lean master data model for consolidated InfoObjects.
  • Only attributes, which data is already consolidated and cleansed, are relevant. This means that the attributes of a consolidated InfoObject are either again consolidated InfoObjects or InfoObjects with standardized or unified values in all source systems (e.g. ISO codes, UNSPSC codes).
  • As outlined in the previous section, one very important navigational attribute of every consolidated InfoObject is the group ID, which is determined during the master data cleansing and integration process.

Customer can use the predefined consolidated InfoObjects from SAP’s delievered BI Content and add own standardized attributes.

Integrate transactional data using consolidated InfoObjects

To establish integrated reporting on transactional data, the corresponding InfoProvider (DataStore Objects, InfoCubes) also contain consolidated InfoObjects representing integrated master data. The characteritic values of consolidated InfoObjects within transactional data have to be built the same way as the keys of the corresponding master data. This means that the characteristic values again result from a concatenation of source system ID, backend object type, and characteristic values as stored in transactional data of the source system.

The concatenation of the key components is done in transformation rules during the BI staging process. BI Content objects defined by SAP use function module RS_BCT_GN_GET_GLOBAL_KEY for this characteristic value composition.

Recommendations for further reading

You will find very comprehensive informations about consolidated InfoObjects in the following documents:

  • Documentation of consolidated InfoObjects within the SAP Help Portal. You will also find there a complete list of all consolidated InfoObjects delivered with SAP’s BI Content if you click on the folder “Characteristics”.
  • A former SAP TechEd presentation held on consolidated InfoObject and stored within SDN. Please note that the functionality SAP Content Integrator mentioned on some of these slides is part of SAP NetWeaver MDM.
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5 Comments

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  1. Chetan Patel
    Dear Richard,
    Does this consolidation of Infoobect still hold true if you have MDM implemented.
    If yes than whats the purpose of MDM.
    Appreciate your reply.

    Regards
    Chetan

    (0) 
    1. Richard Putz Post author
      Dear Chetan,

      This is a good point.

      It is not the case that MDM becomes obsolete when consolidated InfoObjects in BW come into the play. Quite the contrary is the case: MDM and BW can act together to integrate and consolidate master data for analytics. There are 3 possible scenarios of a joint MDM/BW usage described in a former SDN presentation:

      How to get the most from SAP MDM in an SAP BW environment

      • MDM delivers identifying navigational attributes for BW.
      • Consolidated InfoObjects as the MDM business content in BW.
      • central MDM data replicated into BW.

      The present blog describes a mixture of the first and second scenario. You use the MDM to get identifying attributes of your master data (i.e. the group IDs) and you use the consolidated InfoObjects as BI content objects representing entities consolidated by MDM (Customer, Vendor, Product etc.)

      But even if you use a central MDM system to distribute all (a priori consolidated) master data to satellite systems, you can use consolidated InfoObjects as representatives in BW. Then you replicate the master data directly from MDM to BW.

      Best Regards,
      Richard

      (0) 
      1. Chetan Patel
        Thanks Richard for your wonderful explaination.
        In continuation of your reply,can you give the dataflow if MDM is NOT implemented and how the consolidated objects can be used.

        Scenario – Simple ,I take 3 regions having SAP R/3 installed ,but all of them have different material numbers belonging to same product and 1 Global BW be consolidated in region 4 from 3 R/3 regions.

        What is Pre-requisite – ?? in R/3 (individual 3 R/3 regions)
        What is pre-requisite in single BW instance to be fed from 3 R/3 regions
        Which Infoobjects(0material,0product..) to be used and loaded in what sequence in BW
        Where is the Product hierarchy coming into picture ,is there any consolidated hierarchy infoobject as well ??
        What abt the Units ??is there any consolidation infoobject available for Units ??like 0Mat_Unit
        Example- different units and packaging level are used for same Identical product in 3 different R/3 regions.

        Regards
        Chetan

        (0) 
        1. Richard Putz Post author
          Hello Chetan,

          Your question describe the entire process of material master data integration from different R/3 source systems. It is difficult to answer these questions generally in a short reply within this thread. These questions should be discussed in detail during your concrete data integration project.

          But, some of your questions can be answered if you have a look into the documents attached to my blog.

          See the former SAP TechEd presentation.

          On slides 21 and 23 you will find a possibility to integrate your master data without using SAP MDM, but using own informations about duplicate master data from different source systems. On slides 32 to 34 you will find informations about a consolidated InfoObject for product hierarchies.

          Best regards,
          Richard

          (0) 
  2. David Halitsky
    … it is yet another indication of how strenously software vendors must find new and creative ways to offset the deficiencies of the relational databases on which they have unwisely consented to build their systems simply because they thought it was better to “go along to get along”.

    What would have happened if knowledgeable software vendors circa 1973 had simply laughed at the relational paradigm as the side-show circus attraction it is increasingly coming to be ?

    (0) 

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