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 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
- 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.
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.