Skip to Content

Master Data Modeling for MDM Solution (part 1) (What is Master Data)

Master Data Modeling for MDM Solution  (part 1)  (What is Master Data)







In the blueprinting phase the most challenging part is to select the Data which should be part of MDM solution. The Business content can help us to great extend; however there are custom business requirement which requires to be incorporated into the MDM solution. Thus very careful study and understanding of the client Data is required to determine the relevant data to fit the business requirements.





Library Index is a perfect example of Master Data. It contains the master data of the library books and not the transactional data. In library Index, Names of all the books, authors, publication year and their place in library is maintained. Based on this master data; the transactions are processed. Without this or any mistake, there will be chaos while finding books or where they kept. In today’s world where time is key, we will be loosing heavily on this main factor by searching for information.


I really love this example since its very easy to visualise, maintaining the library Index cabinet solution is also similar to data modeling for master data management. There are multiple library indexes for books name, authors, publication house, year of publication. They all are linked to 1 single ID which is unique ID assigned to a particular book. Isn’t this is quite similar to the lookup tables linked to main table to the global ID. However Library Index modeling is the simplest example unlike the organisations where complexity is more to run the business processes across the master data.



This is it…


Now let’s move to a project scenario where MDM solution required being part of many SAP and non-SAP systems. The standard content provided by SAP in SAP-MDM is based on their experience of Industry and their landscape to help the organizations. However SAP-MDM is as good as the designer/Data modeler. It is upto the imagination and skills of Data modeler to model the repository according to the requirements. For medeling the best suitable repository; first we have to analyse that what is master data and what is not in organisation landscape. 



As we understood the master data definition for the example of library that Library Index is the master data which drives the transaction data. Definitely this master data is stable and doesn’t change often. However there might be requirement when certain modification occurs such as change in place of book in library is changed. Also certain attributes that this book might not longer printed by publication house and thus further orders are not possible. This will also increase the value of book over time so the offenders can be punished adequately.


However I agree that library doesn’t require an MDM tool for managing their master data unless its worldwide library facing issues in catering global books movement. However this example is only for understanding and similarly organisations found themselves in tricky situation when they don’t know what’s happening where in their organisation. Thus management is not able to manage their business until their business operations are synchronised across landscape. However to synchronise their business processes, all the business processes should run on same master data.




What is Master Data


This blog will try to help in determining the relevant data to model the MDM solution.



Not everything is master data and not everything can be part of MDM solution. Proper understanding of master data of organisation landscape as well as business processes running around that master data is essential. What is the master data in organization and which should be considered in MDM solution? The master data for MDM solution should be considered with utmost care and due consideration by interviewing all stakeholders and data profiling and other techniques.   



Master Data – Customers, Vendors, Materials, employees. This data is always managed in MDM such as customer and Vendor names and their addresses, description, VAT numbers, Duns numbers long texts, Vendor status etc.


Configuration Master Data – This is subset of master data which is often part of lookup tables like company codes, plants etc. This data doesn’t change over long time and in most cases its done once.


Conditional Master Data – There is also some debate on this kind of master data such as pricing. This master data is referred as conditional master data since pricing differs from customers to customers based on certain business processes. This can be maintained in MDM if its based on simple logic however complex pricing should not be maintained in MDM. Price based on dates can be part of qualified tables.





Company :   SATYAM Computer Services Limited

Role:   Projects Lead / Project Manager 

Above shared views are my personal views and might not synchronize with my company views.

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
  • Ankur, could you throw some light into a comparison between SAP MDM and other MDM solutions in the market?

    If a company has say 10 SAP systems and 20 non-SAP systems (This is the ratio I have typically come across in most big clients) that use Business partner data, what would be the advantage in going for SAP MDM?

    I have seen other MDM vendors also claim that they handle hierarchies better, and their repositories can talk to each other unlike SAP MDM etc. Also, almost every MDM vendor out there claims to have a map for things like Customer, product, vendor etc for SAP. All these things make me wonder what is the unique advantage for some one to go for SAP MDM if SAP is not the only solution in their landscape. What is your take?

    • Hi Vijay,

      Even if I go independently to any client; I will suggest SAP MDM over others. Since they are the market leaders (2nd Rank as per Gartner reports) however their vision is quite steady and followed by others now. SAP MDM made the maximum progress in Gartner quadrants over last 2 years. I would suggest you to have a look at Gartner reports for comparison.

      Multiple repositories was definitely a missing functionality which is coming up with MDM 7.1 by Q4 2008.

      Now to answer your main and most challenging question faced by us from clients is : However to reach a decision for SAP MDM will be based on their landscape and integration. It depends that from where the most of quantity of data is coming and going. If the company has SAP BI in their landscape for analytics, then the best and recommended choice will be SAP MDM. However other systems are also quite important such as SRM, CRM to reach a conclusion towards SAP MDM.
      Example : I had implemented SAP MDM in 1 client where data was coming from handful of SAP systems and more than hundred legacy systems. However the legacy systems data constituted only 5% of the total master data.