Recently Infosys implemented SAP MDG solution for introducing data governance on material master for one our clients that has an ERP landscape involving multiple SAP systems and non-SAP systems. We focused on the SAP systems first during the implementation and then came up with a scalable integration solution with non-SAP systems.
The requirement for integration was along the following lines
1. Integration solution should be scalable to enable to add non-SAP ERP system into data governance as and when such systems are ready
2. Initiation of integration should not entail any new development effort in the SAP MDG system
3. SAP MDG user interface should be enabled to allow the data steward to pick and choose the target non-SAP ERP systems to replicate the material master data
4. Receive and process acknowledgement carrying success or failure message
Scalability is the paramount requirement as the number of non-SAP ERP systems are around 30+, hence having a mini development project for each of such application as and when the regions represented by these applications join the global data governance process is not a feasible. So the integration solution needs to be designed in such a way that any new region joining the global data governance stream is just handled by a master data type extension. This forces us to think hard on coming up a viable solution that achieves this scalability and at the same time is not technical complex to develop in the first place.
After studying multiple solution options we went ahead with standard SAP Classification based solution. The contours of the solution are
- Every material created by the MDG solution will have a default material class assigned.
The class will have characteristic whose value represents the non-SAP ERP system.
This way any new non-SAP ERP system is just handled by addition of one characteristic value.
Some amount of work in the middleware SAP PI is needed once the characteristic value is defined in MDG but does not involved very detailed development effort in PI too.
From a solution development perspective only major drawback we faced was due the fact that SAP creates a separate idoc (intermediate document) message for material classification values for integration with external systems, which means the middleware has to process to two idoc messages for each material and that can make it complex for middleware. So to eliminate this we had to enhance the standard material master idoc message with additional segments to carry the classification values too. But still this is an one time development effort and we found that there is good amount of effort and cost savings compared to alternate solution which might need a development for each non-SAP ERP application addition to data governance and went ahead with this approach
Recently we presented this solution at ASUG (Americas SAP user group) St. Louis, USA conference. The solution idea and the benefits were well appreciated by the august audience.
Some of the interesting comments received were
From a Monsanto executive
"We have millions of material masters in our system and all the challenges and issues you highlighted are very much there and I seriously yearn for your solution in our system"
From an EATON Corporation executive
"We have a high priority requirement to create material master workflow, I am now convinced after listening to your presentation, MDG is the way forward"