You can use SAP NetWeaver MDM to consolidate, harmonize, and centrally manage all master data objects, like customers, products, vendors, hierarchies, employees, and company-specific object models. The objects come from the diverse source systems.
SAP NetWeaver MDM offers users a central component that they can use to consolidate, harmonize, and manage master data on customers, products, vendors, hierarchies, and employees that is based on object models and that comes from the most varied of source systems.
The heart of the high-performance architecture of SAP NetWeaver MDM is its server. It is based on a database that stores SAP NetWeaver MDM repositories that combine and store master data information on customers, vendors, products, employees, or other objects. This in-memory technology keeps the data of MDM repositories in the main memory of the SAP NetWeaver MDM server, which enables fast searches and quick access to data.
An SAP NetWeaver MDM repository consists of various types of tables, including main tables and subtables. The subtables contain the actual master data, like product number (product ID), product name, product description, manufacturer, price, and classifications. Classifications can map international standards like eClass or UNSPSC. Object tables store additional information, like images, video files, PDF files, and HTML text, which is used to create print and Web catalogs.
The console, an administrative and data-modeling tool, defines and maintains the structure and properties of the repositories. An import server can automatically import master data from various source systems into the SAP NetWeaver MDM server. The server works with a syndication server to distribute the master data into the target systems that have been defined. The SAP NetWeaver Exchange Infrastructure (SAP NetWeaver XI) component functions as a central hub for data exchange.
iViews in a package
SAP NetWeaver MDM supports several access concepts to manage the master data stored in the repositories. These concepts include several rich clients like the SAP NetWeaver MDM data manager, the SAP NetWeaver MDM import manager, the SAP NetWeaver MDM syndicator, and the SAP NetWeaver MDM console. A power user can create complex search queries, perform mass changes, and define validation rules and workflows within a repository. Such a user typically works with the SAP NetWeaver MDM manager as a rich-client application.
But users who change master data only sporadically do not need the entire functional scope of the SAP NetWeaver MDM data manager. They need only a part of that scope, which they can map with portal elements (iViews).
Despite the limited functional scope of portal iViews in comparison with SAP NetWeaver MDM data manager, they provide users with advantages when they link their master data from the directories of SAP NetWeaver MDM to a portal environment. The second part of this article covers this topic.
The portal also serves as a central access point for personalized, user-friendly access to SAP NetWeaver MDM repositories. Depending upon your role and level of authorization, you can display specific information on customers, vendors, and employee master data, or you can create, store, modify, and delete master data records.
The portal business package for SAP NetWeaver MDM provides predefined, standard content that makes it fast and easy to link master data information from the repositories with the SAP NetWeaver Portal component. Support package 3, the first portal business package available for SAP NetWeaver MDM 5.5, enables the display of master data. Support package 4 supports the display and modification of master data with SAP NetWeaver Portal. SAP NetWeaver MDM 5.5 is currently available with support package 5. Linking master data management with a portal requires SAP NetWeaver 2004 and SAP NetWeaver Portal 6.0 with support package 19. If you already run SAP NetWeaver in production, you need at least SAP NetWeaver Portal 7.0 with support package 9.
The current support package, 5, contains roles for business process experts, SAP NetWeaver MDM experts, and SAP NetWeaver MDM administrators. It also includes work sets, predefined layouts for portal pages, and preconfigured iViews. Users need only a Web browser to access the additional features.
Functionality in a container
iViews call specific content from the repositories and display it in the portal. They create containers for specific functionalities that they then display in the portal. Unlike iViews that work with portals, SAP NetWeaver MDM iViews are simple and have a generic and granular structure. For example, you can use predefined SAP NetWeaver MDM iViews to search for master data, view the results of a search, and display detailed information within a search. Because page layouts are predefined, you can set them up quickly and assign iViews to them.
SAP also provides templates for SAP NetWeaver MDM iViews. The templates serve as the basis for modeling SAP NetWeaver MDM iViews that are tailored to your special needs, so you can design individual portal pages. You select the templates using the iView wizard, which can also define which content to display. For example, you can configure an iView to display specific product characteristics, such as product ID, product description, or a product image.