Losing Control of Data
From MDM to Data Hub to Datasphere
SAP has been aware of the challenge of efficient data management for many years. Long before the Hana database platform, the SAP community was already discussing master data management. According to a study by Cloudera, the self-proclaimed data specialist for trusted enterprise AI, companies spend an average of 29 percent of their IT budget on data management.
The Cloudera survey polled 850 IT decision makers across the EMEA region. In Germany, six out of ten managers surveyed believe that silo structures make it difficult to comply with data management regulations. To manage data throughout its lifecycle, many organizations rely on multiple point solutions. However, this increases complexity: 77 percent of respondents believe that the integration of point solutions for data analysis and management makes compliance more difficult.
Data structures and algorithms
What is often overlooked during the discussion is the intrinsic link between data and business processes. Many Abap tables have little meaning when separated from ERP algorithms. If you want to archive corporate data, you must always consider the underlying business processes. Data has two sides. The first side is the past: data was created as a result of a historical business process and must be maintained accordingly. The second side is the future: data also holds great potential for future answers. Data and AI algorithms should be able to provide a glimpse into the future with predictive analytics.
The ERP release upgrade called S/4 Conversion has put data structures and algorithms back on the agenda of the SAP community. SAP customers must now decide what data needs to be transferred to the Hana database platform and which business processes should be available for future tasks.
"With data volumes increasing, compliance remains a major challenge for many organizations. Innovations such as AI will add to the complexity—and with new regulations on the horizon, compliance will only become more difficult," said Benjamin Bohne, Vice President for DACH and Eastern Europe at Cloudera. "Organizations should therefore view data as a product located in the future and ensure that compliance is always and everywhere."
This means S/4 migration is both a data and a compliance issue. SAP's Datasphere approach is well-intentioned. However, the past year has shown that this approach still falls short. To avoid a loss of control in 2024, master data management must be elevated to a higher level— the Business Technology Platform may be a good option.