What is Master Data

Master Data Modeling for MDM Solution  (part 1)  (What is Master Data)


In the blueprinting phase the most challenging part is to select the Data which should be part of MDM solution. The Business content can help us to great extend; however there are custom business requirement which requires to be incorporated into the MDM solution. Thus very careful study and understanding of the client Data is required to determine the relevant data to fit the business requirements.


Library Index is a perfect example of Master Data. It contains the master data of the library books and not the transactional data. In library Index, Names of all the books, authors, publication year and their place in library is maintained. Based on this master data; the transactions are processed. Without this or any mistake, there will be chaos while finding books or where they kept. In today's world where time is key, we will be losing heavily on this main factor by searching for information.

I really love this example since it's very easy to visualize, maintaining the library Index cabinet solution is also similar to data modeling for master data management. There are multiple library indexes for books name, authors, publication house, and year of publication. They all are linked to 1 single ID which is unique ID assigned to a particular book. Isn't this is quite similar to the lookup tables linked to main table to the global ID. However Library Index modeling is the simplest example unlike the organizations where complexity is more to run the business processes across the master data.

This is it…

Now let's move to a project scenario where MDM solution required being part of many SAP and non-SAP systems. The standard content provided by SAP in SAP-MDM is based on their experience of Industry and their landscape to help the organizations. However SAP-MDM is as good as the designer/Data modeler. It is upto the imagination and skills of Data modeler to model the repository according to the requirements. For medaling the best suitable repository; first we have to analyse that what is master data and what is not in organization landscape.<span>  </span>

As we understood the master data definition for the example of library that Library Index is the master data which drives the transaction data. Definitely this master data is stable and doesn't change often. However there might be requirement when certain modification occurs such as change in place of book in library is changed. Also certain attributes that this book might not longer printed by publication house and thus further orders are not possible. This will also increase the value of book over time so the offenders can be punished adequately.

However I agree that library doesn't require an MDM tool for managing their master data unless its worldwide library facing issues in catering global books movement. However this example is only for understanding and similarly organizations found themselves in tricky situation when they don't know what's happening where in their organization. Thus management is not able to manage their business until their business operations are synchronized across landscape. However to synchronies their business processes, all the business processes should run on same master data.

What is Master Data

This blog will try to help in determining the relevant data to model the MDM solution.

Not everything is master data and not everything can be part of MDM solution. Proper understanding of master data of organization landscape as well as business processes running around that master data is essential. What is the master data in organization and which should be considered in MDM solution? The master data for MDM solution should be considered with utmost care and due consideration by interviewing all stakeholders and data profiling and other techniques. <span>  </span>

Master Data – Customers, Vendors, Materials, employees. This data is always managed in MDM such as customer and Vendor names and their addresses, description, VAT numbers, Duns numbers long texts, Vendor status etc.

Configuration Master Data – This is subset of master data which is often part of lookup tables like company codes, plants etc. This data doesn't change over long time and in most cases it's done once.

Conditional Master Data – There is also some debate on this kind of master data such as pricing. This master data is referred as conditional master data since pricing differs from customers to customers based on certain business processes. This can be maintained in MDM if it's based on simple logic however complex pricing should not be maintained in MDM. Price based on dates can be part of qualified tables.


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