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SAP MDM & Data Governance

I was part of an MDM implementation project in a Fortune 100 company. They had a single consuming system -R3, a comparitively clean master data but what they lacked was a strong foundation of creating and managing data. The business process was adhoc, there was no ownership of data and the quality was degrading. The company was smart enough to realize the path they were heading to and that they need to put some kind of structure and framework around their master data. And that was one of the main reason they went for a Master Data implementationm project – Data Governance.


Data Governance is a broad term, but one of the better definitions I found on internet says “Data Governance is a system of decision rights and accountabilities for information-related processes, executed according to agreed-upon models which describe who can take what actions with what information, and when, under what circumstances, using what methods.”


The challenge was to convince the business stakeholders the importance of Data Governance and that putting a framework into place would mean changing the way things are done currently. It would mean the business process would change, there would be more stringent data rules and people would be accountable for their actions.


Considering SAP MDM, we proposed the following pyramid as the underlying foundation for Data Governance. We broke down Data Governance into four distinct layers:

  • Data Standards
  • Data Administration
  • Data Quality
  • Process & Policies 


  1. Data Standards were implemented by creating different types of fields (Text, Real, User Stamp, date etc) and then set detailed properties (Required, Multi-Lingual, Sort Index etc) of each field.  
  2. A User-Role model for data stewardship helps manage data effectively. Besides we can set detailed Functions and Rights for each role and use of Change Tracking helped to impose security and data ownership. 
  3. Maintaining high quality data is one of the most important parts in Data Governance and fortunately SAP MDM provides extensive features like Validations, Assignments and De-duplication strategies for this.
  4. SAP MDM provides very user friendly GUI with MS Visio to design and build workflows which helped to streamline their business process and adhere to various compliance policies.

SAP MDM has a strong a foundation of communicating with multiple systems by supporting multiple file formats in Import Manager and Syndicator, ease of communication with R3 using SAP XI. But it also provides an equally strong base for Data Governance. Hence, it is very important to use these features efficiently to manage master data.

In the next few weeks, I would be coming up with a detailed article on how to leverage each of the above mentioned features for efficient data governance using SAP MDM.

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