Where SAP® MDG and Automate Evolve Fit into an SAP Data Management and Automation Portfolio
Teams across the business are under pressure to move faster, reduce errors and risk, and be more efficient. If you’re responsible for helping the business meet these goals and getting the most value from your SAP ERP investment, this eBook is for you.
We’ll discuss how to make the most of your limited SAP IT resources and budget by choosing the right solution for the task at hand and discuss where SAP’s MDG product and Automate Evolve may best fit into your SAP data management and automation portfolio.
|SAP MDG||Automate Evolve|
|Primary functions||SAP master data governance||SAP data management and business process automation|
|Typical fields governed||Core data fields controlled through governance programs||Core data fields controlled through governance programs plus line-of-business/regional fields.|
|Business rules management||Centralized with ERP through BRF+||Distributed (embedded within forms)|
|Centralized hub functionality and data syndication||Yes||No|
|Workflow capabilities||SAP standard workflow||Includes flexible workflow capabilities. Does not require programming skills.|
|SAP skills required to build and modify solution||ABAP, BRF+, WebDynPro (FPM), SAP MDG||None|
|Business user front end||Web forms||Web form or Microsoft Excel|
Chart the right course
It’s hard to overstate the importance of getting your SAP master data right. Both SAP MDG and Automate Evolve are great solutions for improving data quality with some overlap in capabilities and can be used side by side. There are, however, important differences between the two solutions.
The table on this page is not meant to be an exhaustive feature comparison between the two solutions, but rather a quick read on where each solution might best fit into your software portfolio so you can chart the right course for your specific business needs.
Common deployment journeys
Over the years we’ve seen customers deploy both SAP MDG and Automate Evolve side by side or independently based on their specific use case, requirements, budget, and go-live timeline.
|SAP MDG||Use SAP MDG to manage core fields on top four domains.|
|SAP MDG + Automate Evolve||Use SAP MDG to manage core fields on top four domains, and Automate Evolve to manage other MDG fields on those domains and any fields on any other master data object.|
|Automate Evolve||Use Automate Evolve to streamline data collection and improve data quality for any data across the SAP landscape.|
Pay attention to hidden data objects
When most people think of SAP master data, the top four domains—materials, vendors, customers, and finance spring to mind. But these domains are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your master data—there’s much more below the waterline that needs your attention if you’re to avoid costly downstream errors and help the business move faster. SAP MDG includes “ready-to-run, domain-specific solutions”1 for materials,
retail article, customers, vendors, and technical assets. While the solution is extensible to other areas, it may be cost prohibitive to manage other master data objects with SAP MDG.
Automate Evolve is an SAP-specific data management and process automation platform that enables you to improve data quality and streamline processes across all your master data. You can also use Precisely Automate to streamline transactional data processes like sales orders, journal entries, invoicing, and maintenance notifications and work orders.
1Information from SAP MDG solution brief
“We save around $1.9 Million per year in avoided programming, reduced data entry workload costs and SLA costs with Precisely Automate. Most importantly, we have given our users a tool that enhances their productivity and the accuracy of the data in our systems.”Business Process Manager SAP Center of Excellence, Canada Post
Don’t let the details sink your efforts
SAP MDG is designed to help you lock down and centrally store the core data fields—fields that are often shared between systems of record, like customer name and address. These fields are a fraction of the total fields on any given data object. Small mistakes in these other fields such as storage location or unit of measure on materials can have costly downstream consequences.
While you can manage any field with SAP MDG, it may be cost prohibitive to govern all the data that’s important to the business with that solution. This is especially true when it comes to governing plant, company, or region-specific data where different business rules and procedures apply.
Automate Evolve enables you to manage any master data field on any object and build flexible solutions that can handle the differing needs of your business.
What’s your final destination?
SAP MDG does a great job of centrally managing the creation and maintenance of core fields for the big four master data domains, but that’s just one step on your journey to better business outcomes. Typical business processes touch multiple data objects and involve many steps.
Let’s look at an example.
Automated promotional packaging launch
Launching a product in SAP involves collecting data across many objects from many different departments—materials are one piece of the puzzle. Let’s see how you could use Precisely Automate’s New Product Introduction (NPI) solution, built on our Automate Evolve platform and SAP MDG to automate one type of product launch—a promotional packaging change.
Precisely Automate’s NPI Solution
Each puzzle piece in this NPI solution is a complete workflow solution designed to collect the right data from the right team. A project manager chooses the type of launch they want to execute, and our NPI solution dynamically links the puzzle piece solutions needed to complete the launch—typically reducing launch cycles by 50% or more.
Each solution can be used independently, and because the platform is modular, you can add more pieces to your launch process over time, like routings for example.
We work with you to determine which ‘puzzle pieces’ you need to accelerate your processes and build a custom solution that embeds your business rules and follows your procedures.
Let’s see where SAP MDG-M might fit into the promotional packaging launch. SAP MDG-M is designed to manage the core fields in material master. It is not a business process automation platform and therefore is not designed to dynamically link the different workflows required to complete an entire product launch.
Although the SAP MDG-M platform is extensible to data objects beyond material master—it can be time-consuming and expensive to use the platform for this purpose and requires advanced skill sets that may not be available in house.
Why agility is key
Most organizations are surprised by how long it takes to determine all process flows and data rules fully, and how often these change over time. To that end, it’s important to follow an agile development methodology and build solutions that are easy to modify, as is the case with Automate Evolve.
SAP MDG is best suited to scenarios where the requirements are fully established, validated, and not likely to change frequently.
Create ‘shell’ materials with SAP MDG
Once you use SAP MDG-M to create the shell materials, you would need to collect the other fields in the material master records manually then enter that data manually via the SAP GUI—a laborious, time-consuming, and errorprone process. Someone would then need to manually update the PIR, source list, and material status.
You could also use an automation platform like Automate Evolve alongside SAP MDG-M to digitize the manual processes to accelerate the launch and improve data quality.
|Key data stewardship capabilities||Key workflow and automation capabilities|
|Search for duplicates||Parallel and sequential task assignments|
|Smart form logic||Task reassignments and out-of-office functionality|
|Role-based views||Conditional workflow logic|
|Field standardization||Automated email notifications and reminders|
|Easy required fields||Drag-and-drop workflow design|
|Copy from reference records||Drag-and-drop form design with pre-built SAP functions|
|Live SAP validation||Workflow loops|
|Modifiable field drop down values||Support for attachments|
|SAP F4 lookups||Bulk creation and updates for any data object|
|Data pre-population||Full audit trails|
|SAP permissions fully respected||SLA tracking|
The essential equipment for process automation voyages
With Automate Evolve, accelerating processes doesn’t mean sacrificing data quality and compliance. Automate Evolve offers an extensive range of proactive data stewardship capabilities and sophisticated workflow capabilities to ensure your business rules and procedures are always followed.
The solution requires no specialized SAP programming skills and is designed for people like tech-savvy business analysts. This means you can get more projects done and typically in a shorter timeframe and for less cost than an SAP MDG implementation.
“Automate Evolve allows you so much flexibility to build in data governance, and route correctly to your business users. It provides business ownership capabilities that make the process very simple and allows users to easily get the work done on time. “
Data Integrity Manager
Making mass data maintenance smooth sailing
Automate Evolve enables you to create or maintain data en masse via our Excel workflow solution, but if you don’t need multi-step approvals, you can use Automate Studio. This desktop software enables people like SAP business analysts, super users, IT, or master data professionals to create scripts that get embedded into Excel workbooks. And these solutions can be built and deployed in a matter of hours.
Anyone that knows how to use Excel and has the necessary SAP permissions can use these workbooks to create, update, block or flag for deletion hundreds or thousands of records—eliminating manual data entry via the SAP GUI.
Your SAP IT team can control who can do what and when with Precisely Automate and has full audit capabilities.
Simplify SAP master data management using Excel
“We’ve realized substantial savings from Precisely Automate solutions, and with no application performance issues. We’ve actually seen increased usage in SAP which means higher ROI on our ERP investment.”SAP Architect Maersk
Streamline any SAP process journey
Business teams can use Precisely Automate software to streamline business processes and improve data quality across your organization for both master and transactional data use cases. Also, IT teams use Precisely Automate to speed up system conversions and data migration projects.
“We’ve seen much more than a return on our Precisely Automate investment. In the first ten months, we have seen a return many, many times over.”
Director, Master Data Organization
Reynolds Leveraged Services
Start your journey today
We hope this eBook has given you insight into how you can use both SAP MDG and Automate Evolve in your organization to improve your master data quality and accelerate your business processes at scale.
We welcome the opportunity to learn more about your goals and help you select the right solution for the job at hand.