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Author's profile photo Wolfgang Albert Epting

Week 2: Master Data – lifeblood of the Intelligent Enterprise!

Summary. In this article of the series “Give Data Purpose Weekly” I share some insights why high-quality master data is essential for every business and how you can provide those with SAP Master Data Governance.

Introduction: Why data is the blood in your company`s veins

Master data is the blood that runs through the veins of every intelligent sustainable enterprise. Blood is the universal transporter. In our organism it takes on the function of a distribution and drainage system. Starting from the heart, it is pumped through the blood vessels to the tissues, where it supplies the cells with nutrients, oxygen, and other important substances. As an IRONMAN triathlete, I know too well what a loss in performance it means when our blood does not have the right composition, i.e. lack of minerals and vitamins.

Similarly, master data transports transactional data to business processes. If they are not of the proper quality, they can’t optimally support business operations.

After 18 successful IRONMAN finishes, including the legendary IRONMAN in Hawaii, I dare to say that all blood values are equally important so that the body can perform at its best.

Think of your enterprise as your body and master data as your blood. It is important to have all master data domains – customers, vendors, material, financials etc. – under control to keep your business running at its best.

How does bad master data affect your business operations?

Bad master data lead directly to bad business processes, indirectly to unusable analytics results and, in the worst case, to insolvency due to incorrect business decisions.

The following list could be extended:

  • How do you want to turn customers into fans of your brand if you don’t know them at all due to ambiguous master data records?


  • How do you want to make your supply chain more resilient if you can neither clearly assign your suppliers nor your products?


  • How do you want to bring products to market faster than your competitors if you have long lead times before materials are available?


  • How do you want to achieve your sustainability goals and prove them credibly if you don’t have a clear view of your sourcing?


  • How would you like to draw the full added value from new business applications like S/4HANA if the quality of your master data does not allow this?


  • How do you want to participate in new trends like “Data Mesh” and treat data as a product if domain owners don’t have the ability to ensure the right quality?


  • How do you want to participate in the platform economy if you don’t have a clear picture of the data you could share with others.


Nothing is more frustrating than having to manually correct the same data errors over and over again, especially when the tools used are inadequate and there is a lack of process transparency and root cause analysis. At first glance, hiding associated costs through poor data quality in the crowd may seem to be an easy way of avoiding necessary investments. In the long term, however, this will not only further erode data quality, but also the motivation of your employees.

What is at stake is nothing more or less than the competitiveness of your enterprise. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we must be able to react quickly.

Be on top of the game with SAP Master Data Governance?

I see three difficulties to realize a single source of truth for master data:

• There are many systems in which master data is created
• There is no company-wide master data management
• The quality of master data is often overestimated

Let’s start with the multitude of master data persisting systems

The contact channels with your customers are diverse, whether via the online shop, by self-service or in direct exchange with a sales representative.

Supplier management tools like SAP Ariba help shorten supplier onboarding and qualification cycle time. However, they do not ensure a supplier master data record is created that is unique across all systems and can also be used for logistics.

Production bill of materials consist of different externally manufactured parts with the same function that are purchased across multiple paths.

How do you manage to unify all these domains?

SAP Master Data Governance offers you the opportunity to consolidate, deduplicate, enrich, refine, correct, complete, check addresses and carry out due diligence on customer, supplier, material, financial and other master data.

Remember, all blood values must be in the optimal range.  Only a multi-domain capable master data management product like SAP Master Data Governance ensures a balanced fit to support your business in the best possible way.

Without an enterprise level master data management, the provisioning of a “Single Source of Truth” is not possible

No matter which of your applications collects master data, it is important that you consolidate them into a unified view. SAP Master Data Governance offers a new federated approach to initially enter common master data while maintaining application-specific views exactly at the place where the required domain knowledge is available. SAP Master Data Integration ensures that core master data is distributed leveraging our SAP One Domain Model. In the case of enrichment, master data may be transferred back again to synchronize all players.

It works like a strong team, everyone contributes according to her strengths, but lets everyone else participate.

You cannot control what you do not measure

Measure the blood values of your master data continuously. Let the built-in Artificial Intelligence called Rule Mining help you figure out suitable rules. Don’t measure for the sake of measuring, measure for the sake of improvement and eliminate deficits immediately. Create a closed quality cycle that uses uniform rules at all entry points into your system and ensure that your data quality never erodes again.

With SAP Master Data Governance, ensure that the blood values of your master data are correct and make your enterprise to a high performer.

In such a way master data management is not only great fun for IT and business, it also enlightens management. Annoying rework and corrections are no longer necessary, and thanks to a high degree of automation, generation is even faster.

In our popular paper “12 ways to give data purpose in a multi-cloud world” we provided a quick preview into 12 main ways to overcome typical hurdles that keep companies from generating maximum value out of their data.

Provide a single source of master data is one of them.

If you have any questions about SAP Master Data Governance, leave them in SAP Community Q&A,visit our SAP Community topic page or the Frequently asked questions about SAP Master Data Governance, cloud edition.

Join us for our #GiveDataPurpose Trusted Data Workshop where we work together with you to align your business goals and your data management capabilities in order to provision the right platform. We touch new trends such as Data Mesh, Data Fabric, Data Culture etc. to show possibilities to follow them with SAP Business Technology Platform.

hāʻawi i ka ʻikepili kumu – #GiveDataPurpose (hawaiian)

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      Author's profile photo Markus Ganser
      Markus Ganser

      Excellent blog post outlining the need for high-quality master data. Thanks for posting!