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souheibt
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Introduction


As an intern at an SAP partner company, I had the opportunity to delve into the realm of SAP Master Data Integration, a service that plays a crucial role in harmonizing and synchronizing master data across various systems within an organization. Throughout my internship, my primary goal was to conduct extensive research and evaluate the feasibility, functionality, and positioning of the SAP Master Data Integration service.

This blog post serves as a comprehensive account of my findings, shedding light on the insights I gained and the experiences I encountered along the way. So, let's embark on this journey together as I share the results of my research and explore the fascinating world of SAP Master Data Integration.

SAP Master Data Integration (MDI) in a nutshell


SAP Master Data Integration is a cloud-based service designed to help businesses maintain consistent and accurate master data across their enterprise applications. It provides a centralized platform for managing and synchronizing master data across different SAP and non-SAP applications, including customer data, product data, and supplier data.

A typical flow in the SAP Master Data Integration service involves the creation, update, or deletion of master data in an application that is connected to the service. When these actions occur, they send events through the MDI service to other connected applications. Events and data are distributed in MDI and then propagated to the other connected applications.

One example of this process is the replication of cost centers. If a cost center is created, deleted, or updated in SAP S/4HANA Cloud, the service sends the relevant event to the connected applications, such as SuccessFactors or Fieldglass. The applications then receive the event and data through the service, ensuring that all systems have access to the most up-to-date information.


Simple representation of Cost Center replication



SAP MDI position in the Integrated Intelligent Suite


The Integrated Intelligent Suite is mostly defined by these major business processes:

  • Lead to Cash

  • Source to Pay

  • Recruit to Retire

  • Design to Operate


These processes span across multiple different business applications. If we take the example of the Recruit to Retire, for example, we see that there are multiple solutions, such as SAP S/4HANA, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Fieldglass, and SAP Concur being involved.

To ensure that these processes run flawlessly, we need to make sure that suite quality is being achieved. And for that, SAP invests into the so-called suite qualities. SAP Master Data Integration mainly focuses on the suite quality of aligned domain models.



Important concepts


SAP One Domain Model (ODM)


One of the key features of MDI is its use of the SAP One Domain Model to communicate with other applications.

The ODM provides a common language that applications use to consistently communicate with each other. This is important because each application has its own interpretation of the data models, and without a common language, it can be difficult for applications to understand each other.

With the ODM, each application maps its local interpretation of the data with the common model, allowing for a common understanding of data across the Intelligent Enterprise Suite. This enables deep out-of-the-box integration, as well as easy extension to support specific business requirements.


Example cost center ODM



SAP Master Data Orchestration (MDO)


It provides a centralized platform for configuring data flows and controlling the distribution of master data across different systems.

One of the key features of SAP Master Data Orchestration is its configuration UI, which allows businesses to set up and maintain data flows easily. Using this UI, businesses can define exactly what kind of master data needs to go to which application, apply filters to ensure data accuracy, and monitor data flows in real-time.

To configure the replication process, you can create Distribution Models. These models allow you to specify various parameters such as provider/consumer settings, entity types, and filtering criteria. By setting up these Distribution Models, you can define how the data should be distributed and replicated between different systems.



It is important to note that MDO works only with MDI and that the configuration of MDO an important step for the functioning of the whole data flow.

For more details, refer to this link.

Key Features


Extensibility


Extensibility allows businesses to extend ODM models for specific business cases. For example, businesses can extend the WorkforcePerson model in the aviation context with information on commercial pilot licenses, such as the types of aircraft that can be flown.

Filtering


SAP Master Data Integration also provides powerful filtering capabilities, allowing businesses to control which data is replicated to which applications.

Optimistic Locking


Optimistic locking ensures consistency by preventing dirty writes. This feature helps businesses to avoid conflicts and inconsistencies when multiple users are updating the same master data simultaneously.



Data Protection and Privacy


This includes the ability to determine purposes as a filter for compliant distribution, read access logs on sensitive data, and delete data upon request of connected applications. Data is only kept as long as applications that own the data also have the data available, ensuring that businesses remain compliant with privacy regulations.

Integration possibilities


The following services offer capabilities to integrate with SAP Master Data Integration:

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud

  • SAP S/4HANA On-Premise

  • SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central

  • SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Payroll

  • SAP Customer Experience

  • SAP Field Service Management

  • SAP Entitlement Management

  • Integrate with Third-Party Applications

    • Using a SAP CPI MDI adapter




Refer to this link for the integration steps for each service. Each service has its own integration steps.

Personal experience


In this section of the blog post, I would like to share my personal experience using the SAP Master Data Integration service. This requires a little bit more experience in this service. I encourage you to further check the official documentation for a better understanding of this section.

Workforce replication


I have successfully managed to implement this scenario: Workforce replication from SAP Successfactors to S/4HANA Cloud using SAP Master Data Integration. Check the results in this other blog post I wrote.

Extensibility


Extensibility seems to only be available for Business Partners. When trying to use on other entity types (for example Workforce) you get this error.



Cost Center replication


The replications of cost centers from S/4HANA Cloud to MDI does not generate any errors during the replication process. The last message in the monitoring system states:

"Change Request accepted by MDI."

However, it seems that these cost centers are not being successfully replicated to MDI.


I did not manage to solve this issue yet. An update might come later.

Conclusion


In conclusion, I would like to highlight that this blog post was created as part of my internship, with the objective of researching and implementing the SAP Master Data Integration service. The guide aims to provide you with a clear understanding of what SAP Master Data Integration entails and the possibilities it offers.

If you are interested in a more in-depth exploration of the service, I invite you to read my other blog post where I delve into the implementation of workforce replication from SuccessFactors to S/4HANA Cloud using this service.

For further information and specifics, I encourage you to consult the official documentation. Lastly, please feel free to reach out with any questions or suggestions you may have; I am here to assist and make any necessary corrections.




Images used in this blog post come from the openSAP course called SAP Master Data Integration in the Intelligent Enterprise.

 
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