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The New Master Data Integration Service for SAP SuccessFactors

As part of SAP’s data model and integration unification strategy, SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite now has Master Data Integration to enable a harmonized integration and distribution of different master data objects and data between SAP solutions. This includes master data for business partners, cost center, and workforce data. Workforce data is provided for integration scenarios that need data from SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central or other core HR systems. The new service is named “SAP Cloud Platform Master Data Integration” (although not officially an abbreviation, for clarity of reading I will use the abbreviation MDI throughout this blog to refer to it).

In this blog I’ll be focusing on how MDI can be used for SAP SuccessFactors customers as the master data hub for integration with other SAP systems.

How is MDI used for Workforce data integration?

MDI provides a central data model for consumption of a set of employee master data across SAP systems. The employee data is fed from SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central into MDI where it is then consumed by other SAP systems. The MDI service is a key part of SAP’s Intelligent Enterprise architecture to enable smooth cross-application data integration.

Process-wise, MDI can be visualized as per the below diagram:

MDI%20Process

MDI Process

MDI leverages a concept called One Domain Model. The One Domain Model concept means that multiple SAP applications have aligned their data models to enable easy integration with the MDI service and therefore with each other. It is based on a Domain-Driven Design (DDD) approach. The One Domain Model follows a principle that the same entity can have totally different semantics in different domains and that, since you cannot merge domains and get one big complete and consistent data model, you need to ensure that separate data models have a shared identity that enable interoperability. In practical terms, this means that the principle of standardized fields and field attributes across data models (such as name, type, and length) is applied to a set of data models that can then be integrated using MDI.

In addition to the employee master data, the MDI service also manages the distribution of cost center objects from the finance system into other systems. Because of this, a provider system can also be a consumer system, and vice-versa.

Why Use MDI?

MDI is a cornerstone of SAP’s new integration strategy for master data. It acts as the master data broker between your core HR system of record – for example, SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central – and SAP S/4HANA. It essentially creates a hub-and-spoke data distribution system using a standardized subset of employee master data in a common repository; this is sometimes referred to as a mini-master.

These integrations leverage OData and REST APIs to provide a point-to-point or middleware-based integration using SAP Cloud Platform Integration. Additionally, MDI enables centralized monitoring and management of master data integration between different systems in the landscape.

I recommend that all customers look at leveraging MDI when they have to integrate Workforce master data (e.g. employees and cost centers) between SAP SuccessFactors and SAP S/4HANA Cloud. The one-data-model approach can ensure that both these systems easily get the data they need to operate their people-related processes.

What about Process Integration?

Integrating your end-to-end processes across systems has always been challenging, no matter what systems are being integrated. SAP offers SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite for process integration capabilities that helps with real time, event-based process Integrations between SAP and non-SAP applications.

Architecture and Data Scope

The below diagram shows an architectural example of using MDI with SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central as the core HR system, SAP S/4HANA as a consumer system and provider of Cost Center data, and an identity service as a consumer system.

In this scenario, Employee Central provides employee (“worker” in MDI terminology) data to MDI, which is then consumed by S/4HANA Cloud and by the identity management system. S/4HANA Cloud provides roles to the identity management system and provides cost centers to MDI for Employee Central to consume. The identity service in return takes care of user provisioning and authentication in both Employee Central and S/4HANA Cloud.

The core One Domain Model contains the following employee master data elements (both effective-dated and snapshot) for employees and contingent workers:

  • Biographical and personal details
  • Communication and contact information
  • Addresses
    • Private
    • Work
  • Bank details and payment methods
  • Person to work assignments (one-to-many)
  • Job, organization, and cost center assignments
  • Work orders (for contingent workers)

Configuration and Extensibility

This currently a planned roadmap item for SAP. MDI is not configurable, but it is planned that it can be extended to add fields to store additional data, as needed by specific integrations.

Pre-packaged Integrations

At the time of writing (Q2 2020), there are out-of-the-box integrations available for MDI for SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Further pre-packaged integrations will be planned in future.

22 Comments
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  • Thanks for sharing, Luke 

    I agree that this employee data hub is beneficial in case of on-premise or 3rd party Core HR, especially in heterogeneous landscapes. That’s were SuccessFactors People Central Hub was positioned previously (from an integration point of view).

    From the other side, for SuccessFactors – S4/HANA Cloud case it adds an additional cloud persistence layer for employee data. – In general case, we can have an employee with 3 different data/states in one moment of time: in SF, MDI, S4 – that not adds coherency in the global data view.

    I hope the future cross-SAP integration direction – is a Hasso Plattner’s view of single persistence of determined data entity – in source HANA base- and virtual online access to this data from other solutions and services.

    • Thanks for your comments Vasiliy.

      Although data does persist in multiple states, EC is still the master and data can be replicated to MDI periodically so that it maintains an updated set of data. This isn’t to say it’s real-time integration, but that a near real-time picture of the data sits in MDI that can be consumed by other systems. In my opinion, it doesn’t solve the real-time data integration situation but it provides a very good centralized solution for master data replication to other systems.

  • Hi Luke,

    thanks for sharing! One point that is not 100% clear is MDI aiming connecting SuccessFactors with other Cloud applications only, or is the on-premise connectivity support by cloud connector or other SAP integration elements?

     

    Regards,

    Timmy

     

     

    • Sorry Timmy, I mentioned above “where it is then consumed by other systems”, but I can see how that might not be clear as to which “type” of systems. It is any system that can consume data from the MDI via the APIs, no matter if it is cloud or on-premise.

      Best regards,

      Luke

  • Thanks Luke, very interesting. To your knowledge, is there any relation between MDI and SAP Cloud BW? Since there is no configurability (yet) and no expected license fee, there is no seeming relationship. But functionality-wise, there is a seeming overlap.

    Thank you,
    Mikhail

    • MDI serves a different purpose than SAP Cloud BW. MDI is an integration mechanism for replication of a subset of the workforce master data to downstream systems. It is not meant to be used as a data warehouse or an analytical/reporting tool. The data in the MDI can be replicated to SAP Cloud BW or another data warehouse or analytical/reporting tool.

  • Hello Luke, thank you for this article!

    May I kindly ask you how this concept interferes with the standard integration scenarios available for SAP S/4HANA on premise – (DSN for cost centers) and (DSI for employee and org data) – is it replacing them or adds a value to them?

    Thank you very much and Best regards,
    Ralitsa

      • Thank you for your reply, Luke!

        As I understand, it is going to replace the other solution I have cited. In this context, is MDI fully available for implementation (we are in the start of integration implementation and I need to now if we need to switch the concept) and can we start immediately implementing it?

        For our client, we are integrating SF EC wtih S4HANA on-premise. On SAP help portal, however, documentation on the topic of MDI is only available for S4HANA cloud.

        Could you please reconfirm that MDI is available also for on-premise version of S4HANA and I will very much appreciate if you direct me to any documentation on the topic.

        Thank you and Best regards,
        Ralitsa

  • Hi Luke,

     

    Thank you for this. I can definitely see the value of this tool, especially for the integration scenario I am currently working on.

     

    Is there someplace where I can find out more information and/or official documentation?

     

    Thank you,

     

    David

  • Hi Luke,

    Great article as always. Is there any dependency/pre-requisite on Identity Authentication Services to utilise MDI for SuccessFactors and S/4 integration?

  • Hi Luke,

     

    Very interesting article, thanks for sharing.

    I can see what the idea behind is. However, I have one big question mark with the added value of this solution. If EC is your master data system, why should you mirror the data into another data repository (SCP MDI) to just route it through into other systems? We are currently using EC as our data hub and connect/integrate other systems directly using CPI. So we use SCP only as the transfer channel, not storing data in it.

     

    Regards,

    Freddy

    • Thanks Freddy. The purpose of mirroring the data is to create a data hub for integration to multiple systems, leveraging packaged integrations to facilitate a more rapid rollout of integrations in an SAP landscape. Of course, this is the first “iteration” of the solution, so it can be hard to conceptualize the solution when it integrates mainly to SAP S/4HANA. With that said, if you feel that EC should be your master data hub for integration then I believe that is a fine solution for your needs. I don’t believe there is really a wrong or right solution, but I do think that MDI will fill the needs of many customers who don’t want EC to be their centralized data hub in a larger application environment.

      I hope that makes sense 😉

  • Hi Luke,

    Thanks for sharing detailed info about oneMDI.

    Just to ask,Is there any Fiori app or there any way to monitor the data in SCP-MDI level.

    Thank you,

    Syam

     

    • Thanks Syam. There is no Fiori based monitoring as of today as this is an internal component used for SAP to SAP master data integration.