During my tenure with SAP, before my present role supporting our partners in their interactions with the SAP App Center digital marketplace, I did a lot of work in the data quality area. One thing I remember well from that career chapter was the daunting experience customers faced in trying to trust their data, map it to processes across the organization, and keep it accurate, synchronized, and harmonized. Sometimes they would just give up.
That’s why I am so pleased that customers can now learn about Master Data Online (MDO) by Prospecta on SAP App Center. MDO is all about trustworthy, reliable data – a single source of truth with governance, data quality, automation, and collaboration all in one place. MDO employs new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify data quality initiatives, with a particular focus on enterprise asset management and maintenance, repairs, and operations for managing spare parts.
I spoke with Ranjan Bakshi, CEO and founder of Prospecta Software, to learn more about MDO and what’s different about their approach to this frustrating issue. The key is in fact threefold, Bakshi explained: “The first element is that MDO covers a certain domain area, enterprise asset management, where we have deep expertise. The second is that we understand the cloud-driven segment of the market. These companies want a quick deployment without a big price tag. They are willing to invest in getting their basic data operations right and want our help in that journey. The third is integration with SAP solutions and our considerable knowledge of how data works in the context of the SAP environment.”
Smooth-Running Workflow Mechanism
What removes the sand from the gears of these data initiatives, Bakshi noted, are the built-in frameworks for data governance and quality. Data is governed through a workflow mechanism and validated within the defined business rules in MDO. Business rules are set up based on machine learning models, with a rules-based engine for both new record maintenance and existing master data. Change history and audit trails are maintained in MDO to ensure accurate master data for consumption by one or more back-end systems. Tight integration with SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA manages overall data orchestration throughout an enterprise’s SAP software-based landscape.
When it comes specifically to enterprise asset management and managing spare parts, MDO delivers data governance and process automation across all relevant data objects, including functional location, equipment, bills of materials, task lists, maintenance plans, and measurement points. The built-in classification system in MDO helps define spare parts based on standards. SAP Asset Intelligence Network provides additional value to maintenance processes.
MDO also partners with the Capital Facilities Information Handover Specification (CFIHOS) to help engineering, procurement, and contractors follow a standardized process to collaborate in the master data process.
Opportunity to Shift Gears
Bakshi launched Prospecta in 2002 after beginning his career with KPMG in Sydney, Australia, where he developed extensive knowledge of SAP solutions in the context of enterprise asset management. When KPMG shifted its focus, he saw an opportunity in the market to start his own firm as an SAP service partner.
“At the outset, we were a strong mobility partner for SAP’s plant maintenance module, not necessarily concentrating on software. During the first few years, we saw an opportunity in our clients’ inability to trust their data – a pervasive challenge. In 2008, we launched MDO, incorporating our domain knowledge of enterprise asset management into the tool with these predefined frameworks, workflows, content, master data, and so on.”
Engines for Growth
Since then, he has built a global enterprise with about 150 employees. The business’ headquarters are in Sydney, with offices in North America, India, and Europe. After 18 years of bootstrapping, Prospecta has just landed financial backing to support further growth. Customers range from large enterprises that solve specific problems with MDO to smaller companies that subscribe to MDO as their overall data management solution. For the latter, Bakshi noted, MDO helps support the evolution toward a “data culture,” where everyone is committed to the importance of maintaining accurate, current data.
With the maturation of cloud computing in recent years, Bakshi said, the company developed a cloud strategy and moved MDO to SAP Cloud Platform to help customers in their transformations. One aspect involves supporting their transition to SAP S/4HANA, which is significantly easier with MDO in place. “If someone says, ‘I don’t know about our data,’ we respond, ‘You should know!’ That’s not a good reason to delay the migration and be left behind,” added Bakshi.
SAP App Center and Working with SAP: Integral Parts of the Strategy
Along the way, Prospecta developed an even closer relationship with SAP as SAP’s partnership model evolved.
“In the past, we would seek out SAP account executives to introduce ourselves. Now, they find us on SAP App Center,” said Bakshi. “We engage closely with our partner manager to make sure that we are visible and take best advantage of getting our message into the marketplace via SAP App Center. What I like about SAP is the emphasis on the value we can bring to the customer together.”
Bill Rojas is senior director of Digital Transformation and Partner Engagement for SAP Digital Commerce.