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How to improve SAP master data quality
Stuart Browne14-Mar-2022 12:03:242 min read

Are your SAP users washing their hair in dirty water?

My partner gets through shampoo and conditioner much quicker than I do.

New supplies seems to evaporate in a matter of days.

To be fair, her hair is long. And she washes her hair more often. The compound effect being that she uses 90% of our shower supplies.

Am I bothered?

Not really. It’s purely an observation.

Here’s another one...

SAP Data Migration

Most programmes that I’ve worked in or around place a huge effort on SAP data migration.

They should do too. Ask any SAP consultant or project manager what causes the majority of pain when an SAP system goes live and they’ll mention data.

You see data is an SAP system is like source code in many systems. Changing a material group or ticking the wrong checkbox on a Customer Master can have a significant effect on the way business processes execute.

In System X, the logic that forks a business process to go in one direction vs. another is likely to be code and changes to it go through a change control and testing process.

In SAP the same logic can be influenced by anyone who can maintain data.


But my observation is a little scarier.

SAP Master Data Maintenance

Despite the huge focus on data migration and cleansing on SAP programmes, most SAP programmes place practically no attention on Master Data Maintenance.

All of the attention is on initial data load accuracy and cleanliness.

Very little attention is paid to data maintenance procedures, responsibilities for data upkeep and accuracy, profiling and policing the ongoing cleanliness of data.

Even with clever tools like MDM and MDG, there's still a gap

A fool with a tool is still a fool

Why Data Management is Crucial to your SAP success

Good data management requires good organisational design. It warrants serious thought and consideration to the workflow of data creation and updates across distributed business functions.

And it necessitates that the processes for managing data are treated with the same importance as every other business process on your BPML.

Because the most critical business processes on your BPML are beholden to good (and bad Master Data).

Cleansing data on a programme and then failing to consider its ongoing management is like my partner investing in so much Shampoo and Conditioner and then rinsing her hair in pond water.

Clean for the first 30 seconds and then as dirty as it was before taking that transformational shower.


Stuart Browne

Stuart has held leadership roles in the SAP ecosystem over an 25 year period, spanning consultancy, delivery management, practice development, sales, marketing and analyst relations. He writes regularly on Linkedin and for ERP Today magazine. With an eclectic mix of skills and one of the largest SAP networks in the UK, Stuart has established a formidable reputation that has enabled Resulting to guide SAP customers through complex challenges.