In a world where master data is increasing exponentially, enterprises now more than ever need to keep master data consistent and accurate across the organization to better perform key activities. SAP’s solution that consolidates and centrally governs your master data is called SAP Master Data Governance (MDG).
We at Avelon are specialized in SAP MDG and in this blog we would like to give insight into how SAP Information Steward can increase your master data quality and its relation with SAP MDG.
SAP Information Steward
SAP Information Steward, which is a component of SAP BusinessObjects, is an environment to discover, assess, define, monitor and improve the enterprise’s data quality. This is achieved by the following main features that SAP Information Steward offers:
The Data Insight module is used to get a high-level data quality view on a particular data source (relational database, application or file). It allows you to profile the data source’s data against rules provided by SAP (ex. Length of telephone number) or against rules that you created yourself using an editor. The result of the data profiling will be a scorecard in which you can drill-down to see the segments which scored poorly against your rules and even see the actual data which failed the rule checks.
The Metadata Management module offers a central repository where you can store your metadata information from across your different enterprise systems.
From this central repository you can:
- Search and browse the stored metadata objects;
- Create relationships between metadata objects to enable auditing, usage, change impact and data lineage analysis;
- Add custom attributes and annotations to metadata objects or relationships;
- Integration with Information Steward Metapedia (see next module).
As its name already reveals, the Metapedia module is a central repository (“encyclopaedia”) where you can create a business glossary of words, phrases and business concepts and relate them to metadata objects from the Metadata Management or Data Insight modules.
Cleansing Package Builder
A cleansing package is a concept part of Data Services in which you add data that needs to be parsed and standardized by rules which you have defined. The Cleansing Package Builder module of Information Steward provides you a graphical user interface to create a cleansing package from scratch based on sample data, or refine an existing cleansing package (custom built or SAP-supplied) to meet your enterprise specific requirements. The actual data transformation is done in Data Services but the Cleansing Package Builder improves the cleansing package creation/refining process.
The results of a data transformation (cleanse, standardize, duplicate matching of data) in Data Services are stored in a staging table. The Match Review feature of Information Steward allows you to review the result of the automated matching and to make the necessary corrections. If you identified duplicate records, you can merge the information from the duplicate records into a single best (“golden”) record.
As you can see, SAP Information Steward provides a lot of utilities to identify data quality issues and increase data quality across your enterprise systems.
However, capabilities like standardizing and matching of duplicate data is already included in the MDG Consolidation process for BP (including Customer and Vendor) from MDG 8.0 and also for MM and Custom Objects from MDG 9.0.
So you might ask yourself the question: “Does SAP Information Steward still brings an added value over SAP MDG?”.
In our opinion, the simple answer to that question would be: “Absolutely!”. Despite the fact that some of the functionalities of SAP Information Steward are already part of SAP MDG, both are still complementary to manage, monitor and improve the data quality into your organization.
SAP MDG already provides a single, trusted view on your master data which greatly reduces the chances of creating faulty master data, but it still might be the case that this happens over time. Using the Data Insight module of Information Steward, you can quickly get a transparent view on your enterprise master data. This transparent view can be used to: check the master data against changed business rules, check if pain points have risen in your MDG system or as a business case to start using SAP MDG.
One great example of the SAP MDG and SAP Information Steward integration, is the Data Quality Remediation scenario blog written by Steffen Ulmer from SAP. In this blog, the Data Insight module of SAP Information Steward shows the data which did not pass the rules. From the SAP Information Steward “Objects with Errors” a Change Request can be created that will be treated in the MDG system.
The Metadata management module of SAP Information Steward is also a great module to view relationships between SAP MDG tables and replication target systems. This way we can see which other systems might be impacted if anything would change on MDG side or vice-versa.
Also if your consolidation process scenario is not covered by SAP MDG (ex. very complex transformations), SAP Information Steward is a great option since it will reduce the time of creating a Cleansing Package and you can use the Match Review feature to consolidate the data coming from different sources.
Thanks to Niels De Greef for writing this article.
For questions or additional information on this subject, please contact Wouter Van Peteghem.