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Moving to S/4HANA - What've you thought about MDG?

Metaphorically speaking, if digital core of S/4HANA is the nerve center of the enterprise then what is data? 

Answer-Nerve. Nerve needed to keep business process running in the enterprise within and across its organs (within digital core and across applications involved in the solution).

 

Good quality master data gives a solid foundation to a successful S/4HANA implementation. Further to propel enterprise throughout the lifetime it is critical to ensure consistent, current and relevant data supply and usage. Ensuring good quality master data can prove to be a keystone habit that can initiate a chain of positive outcomes for years to come.


If we analyze business processes running in today's enterprise (ECC) we will find these biggest challenges among other

  1. inaccurate or inconsistent data (example - inaccurate supplier master data in case of Procurement and Sourcing)
  2. Lack of Data ownership and process governance - questions such as who will manage, what data, and when
  3. Absence of data trace-ability and analytics
  4. Data not harmonized / information stored in multiple information systems


SAP MDG can help you overcome these data challenge associated with Business Partner, Supplier, Customer, Material and other domain specific solutions. Examples in Financials are CoA, G/L Account, Profit center, Cost Center etc. and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Via MDG Solution extension from Utopia along with SAP MDG's extensible application framework. SAP MDG act as "Single Source of Truth" for Master Data which provides centralized governance to keep one version of data flowing across the enterprise.  Capabilities in these data domains to author, collaborate between data owners and achieve highest data quality by using cleansing of data are important ones. You can take advantage of master data consolidation framework from MDG which provides an ability to identify, match and merge records and to create best record. Mass processing functionality helps you in handling bulk changes in much simpler and efficient way.

 

Inbuilt Data Replication framework (DRF) help you replicate data from MDG to other downstream SAP or Non SAP applications. Standard out of the box rule based workflow templates are available. Also ready to use integration with Business rule Framework (BRF+) helps setting up varied validation and derivation rules.


SAP NW MDM is on its way to sun set as per SAP's roadmap. NW MDM is a java based tool and SAP MDG is a business suit component of SAP S/4HANA which is on ABAP stack. We have observed that customers are moving from NW MDM to MDG as a preferred master data governance solution.There is no direct migration from SAP NW MDM to SAP MDG. The framework is completely different and there are no re-usable components between the two solutions. 


Standard data Migration approaches to be used to migrate data from NW MDM to MDG. Depending upon complexity, volume, target system etc. considerations ETL tool can be decided. What is important here is to identify which of these applications are playing source system role for initial data load to MDG in your target system landscape. 


There can be different starting points for Customers who wish to use SAP MDG in their target S/4HANA system landscape. Some of these are mentioned in picture below.


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With S/4HANA, customers use Standalone Deployment or Co-deployed on S/4HANA deployment options for SAP MDG. Each deployment option has its own advantages. A careful evaluation need to be done prior to deciding on strategy.



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MDG Hub deployment:


In this deployment, the standalone S/4HANA (or Suit on HANA system) is used for the activation of business suite component - MDG. This refers to the centralized HUB mode for the master data creation. This deployment is usually preferred option in case of heterogeneous environment where there is no single global system which can be representative of the entire set of systems.


The MDG hub will be the central system as "Single Source of Truth" where organization will have the Cleansed, harmonized and consolidated reference data and master data from the system landscape. Pros and cons of MDG Hub deployment are summarized as follows



Pros

Cons

MDG upgrade is not dependent on Global ERP upgrade

A separate HANA database and system  for MDG is required

Decoupled from Global ERP system maintenance cycles

Data migration to MDG hub from source systems is required (Initial data load at the time of implementation)

Allows fresh start with cleansed data (No prerequisite to cleanse data in downstream application first before implementing MDG)

Configurations needs to be migrated from Global ERP. Further, it is required to be maintained in sync (ongoing Customizing Synchronization)


Co-deployed Mode:


In co-deployed mode, MDG is activated on S/4HANA system itself. This option is well suited in simple system landscape involving an S/4HANA system and few downstream applications which receive their data from the former. S/4HANA system will have the global set of the reference data for the entire landscape receiving data.


Co-deployment option will bring benefits of out of box reports and analytics capabilities. The upgrade will happen hand-in-hand with S/4HANA system but customer can take advantages of integrated data models. Below table gives Pros and Cons of this mode.


Pros

Cons

No separate System (Hardware) for SAP MDG required.

MDG upgrade will be dependent on S/4HANA system

No replication of master data to S/4HANA (No cost of implementation and monitoring of replication interfaces)

Additional efforts needed to cleanse and consolidate existing data

No separate HANA DB required for search & Duplicate check

 

No additional Data migration to MDG, since it gets data from S/4HANA 

 



Lastly, these three important aspects you need to consider as well -  


SAP MDG product versions and availability SAP MDG is a business suite application and can be activated on SAP S/4HANA or SAP ECC. There is a product availability matrix provided by SAP to decide applicable version as per the current version of SAP ECC or S/4HANA.

Reporting or analytics for MDG: SAP MDG in any deployment option has 2 types of reporting associated with
  • In-built standard MDG Change Request based Analytics- This requires the standard BI content activation within MDG system which would enable MDG Change request based analytics activated. Out of the box MDG analytics offer reporting based on time and status of Change Requests
  • Reporting capability based on HANA analytics - MDG reports can be designed and modeled using HANA Analytics. HANA Analytics requires additional software component.

Integration scenarios for MDG: MDG as a business suit component offers Web Services which can be consumed by the inbound interfacing system to trigger change request in MDG. Outbound system integration - MDG offers services in form of Data Replication Framework (DRF) which uses the standard ALE functionality of S/4HANA. It also offers outbound web services. When MDG is on S/4HANA system it can replicate all the data to the active table in S/4HANA system. Thereafter, the standard integration methods of  S/4HANA can be leveraged (Point-to-Point or Middleware based).

Co-Author : Amit Patil (Amit_Patil03@infosys.com)
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