Master Data Upload
This topic is bit easy but while doing it first time – it would look like huge task, and in a way it is! It needs more attention and some precaution too. This reference article is for those consultants who want to read before starting their task.
Master Data is one of the most important task after configuration, rather equal, and need to be done very carefully. Basically, the data/details that you want to store, maintain and use further to perform activities, during actual processes – is your master data. This data do stay in system and appear when required/called in transactions, such as – Customer Master Data, Material Master Data, Credit Master Data etc. and play his role.
How Does It Works During Project
Most of time consultants share templates after BBP sign-off and ask core team members to fill that up. After successful completion of configuration, uses these data templates to upload in system. Ideally, one should have entire master data in DEV, QAL and PROD system. This ideal scenario will help testing lot of scenarios and enhances confidence at both ends. This helps even after Go-Live.
Many organizations have ready-to-use Templates; this is a good practice and save lots of time.
What is Master Data Template
Master Data Template is nothing but an empty excel-sheet with title heads, descriptions and space to fill actual data. In another worksheet mention all reference values for easy reference (and strictly ask them to follow this list). Some sample data will make it more clear, and easier to fill.
- Try maintaining values in excel as general text format. Always align it to left (at times this matters). Use excel formulas to calculate but, finally remove it and mention the resultant values.
- Do not keep any un-necessary/un-wanted data in excel-sheet, keep the template clean and tidy. A simple dot (.) will get considered as value, so be aware of any such garbage.
- Do not pass any special characters – system might accept it, but in table it would get stored as garbage and might make difficult situation while extracting that in outputs or reports. It might give dump at times.
- As I told earlier, the template should have all the list of details to be filled, making it easy to understand and use. The maximum number of characters/digits allowed should also be mentioned. In case if it exceeds, system will trim that itself, would not give any warning, so manual intervention is must.
Options For Data Upload
There are three ways to load your data in system. All three are important but you need to choose very intelligently at times. List is as follows:
- Manual Method
- Mass maintenance for missing fields (in existing data)
The general rule is – if your data volume is less than 20/30 do it manually, otherwise good to go by LSMW or BDC way. In case of huge data, choose wisely.
LSMW – is a best tool and functional-consultant-friendly. Functional people must try working on this. It has capability to work equivalent to BDC. One more benefit is – you are nor dependent on ABAP team (for any last minute modifications or troubles). Here, we will not talk how to use LSMW. I personally prefer this most of the times. So as to learn and gain expertise on LSMW – use these links:
BDC will be developed by ABAPers. Good thing about BDC is – flexibility, validations and logical conversions. For this task your ABAP team would ask for recording using SHDB. While recording, be sure of the fields that want to consider, and choose those fields by entering value or at least put space in that fields (if do not know value now, but planning to record it). In case of doubt, record it instead of excluding. Because, AABPer can comment/hide it if not required, but in case of new field addition they might require to put more efforts. So if there is 1% or 2% chances of using certain filed – consider it in recording. Later on comment that field if unused. Do a clean recording, go in sequence and do not repeat one field (in case of mistake, do it again).
At times your client might use this BDC/LSMW for their day today business. Ex. Our open order BDC has been used by our client to load Sales Orders in mass, every day. In fact – your BDC belong to them, you would be asked to handover all those finally.
What To Check After Template Receipt
You should verify entire received data. Check if it is as per your configuration, check other integration points, such as SD-FI, SD-MM or MM-FI etc. Most of the time you will not get perfect data until 2nd or 3rd iteration, so be very cautious. Test it and change if there are any modifications required, or get it done from client as they are more aware of their own business and data too. Now, get it approved from client before production. Be sure by perform trials on DEV and QAL, this will improve your confidence and data quality!
- Check all the entries in template with your configuration – check values, id’s, names, sales organization, material IDs, company code, cost center, terms of payment and all others things (you can do it easily by converting that column to unique values or use v-lookup or formulae).
- Do take care of the required prefixes. Let me give one simple example – in SD Customer Master data there is ‘Terms of payment’ which is ‘0001’ as standard. But in normal excel, if you enter 0001 – it converts to 1. But master data will not accept 1 – it asks for exact 0001 (four digit). So, modify the data format of such fields accordingly (sounds very childish but when you face this you get mad on this silly things).
- Also, check for the maximum number of characters/digits allowed. System will not throw any error but will trim it. So be ready for that!
Some So-called Complications
Certain master data, such as Material Master or Customer Master, are complicated. You might use same/simple transactions but the screens, fields, tabs, would vary depending on your selection parameters or input parameters. Simple example: in case of Material Master if you choose less views it will show less number of fields. Similarly in Customer Master if you do not provide company code in XD01 it will only show you two views one is ‘Sales Area’ and another is ‘General Data’ view. So accordingly your LSMW or BDC will differ. So just to get it more easy – for customer master there could be three BDCs (choose as per your requirement):
- CM creation at fresh
- Extending CM for another company code if any
- Extending CM to anther Sales Area
Precautions Before Upload
Make sure you have tested this templates and BDC/LSMW multiple times in DEV and QAL system, and it’s running smoothly.
Because, at time of Go-Live you cannot take any risk! It becomes very time critical and this saved time is worth investing on other critical things.
Troubles You Might Face
- The excel files with huge data – might get hang and you lose your data. So, be careful and regularly keep backup of your files.
- Your LSMW/BDC terminates because of system failure or power failure (if you set it at ‘display errors’ or ‘foreground’) – in that case check your database in respective tables and see till which record it got saved, and repeat task for that data onwards (modify your template accordingly).
- At final moment you find some data-point is mandatory and not given in template (and you got to know when BDC/LSMW thrown an error!) – in that case use any masking value, keep record of that and modify afterword. There were cases told by my mentor, their client given a huge master with multiple pin-codes that were less than required digits (and pin-code made mandatory). His Team started checking the right pin-code from Google and mentioned at every record. They did this for 80/90 records religiously and spent some time extra. Was it worth! His suggestion was – instead, one can enter any indicative values such as 999999 or 000000 and then replace it soon you get correct value from client. May be you get in trouble for wrong details! Possible, right!
- Your BDC or LSMW that was running well is not working now (or need one more fields to be added or removed) – not sure why but it might happen. In such cases be in touch with ABAP Team. In this scenario I find myself very comfortable with LSMW. I can create one more for me and test it, am not dependent on someone else. You develop your style and comfort!
- Your team member who is responsible or aware of data load, is absent – you can’t do anything in this cases – only since beginning, be aware of what to do, be aware of the data stored. Make sure of a back-up since beginning. That’s it.
Even after tons of precaution you did not managed to fill an specific filed or maintained erroneous data in specific field. Oops! in such cases there are ways to work on it.
- If the data value is same throughout – you can quickly use mass maintenance tool. T-code is MASS or specific to your module, which is XD99 for SD. (precaution: mass maintenance takes lot of time, so be patient). I also, hear SAP stopped giving support for LSMW.
- If Data is not same but can be grouped – filter it and maintain your mass data accordingly and do it in parts.
- If there is no way for any such grouping of values – better option is prepare a LSMW and change Master Data. Simple example – when we missed maintaining City field in Customer Master (using BDC) – LSMW for change master data and added city to each record.
More you give attention to the data-templates – more easy will be your life on final day.
This entire article is not a rocket science, you will also understand your way of comfort and learn this with time.
All the best, happy uploading!
Abhinay Purnale (SAP SD)