The Essence of SAP Retail Master Data — my recent blog post — was all about massively creating product data, location data, and product data that’s location specific. This video goes to the next level.
After you’ve brilliantly orchestrated master data to create master data — perhaps billion of rows — how do you maintain this over time … with least effort?
For that, you need to understand a concept called Reference Handling.
One of my seven granddaughters — Charlotte, the three-year-old — cheerfully reminded me of this truth. As they say, out of the mouths of babes!
Through example and repetition, her mother — my daughter — is teaching her daughter a foundational lesson. One that most humans learn to their unending profit. But, oddly, without an explanation rooted in self-interest (We never explained it quite that way to our children).
The essence of SAP Retail Master Data is manifested at the intersection of Products and Locations. We also call them Articles and Sites, or Materials and Plants. Take your pick; the SAP lexicon is forever morphing for your enjoyment 🙂
Whatever you call them, the number of Products times the number of Locations is a big number in SAP Retail. It quantifies the Retail Master Data challenge, and billions is the typical unit of measure.
You’ve got to massively create and maintain product data, location data, and product data that’s location specific. Yes, please, and with least effort.
A central concept permeates SAP Retail Master Data to enable master data creation: using master data to create master data. If you get your head around this idea — even at a high level — then you’ll begin to grasp the elegance and uniqueness of SAP Retail Master Data.
The short answer to the question of WHAT — to plagiarize a phrase — is that your customizing golden client should contain no unnecessary master data, “for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”
It would be fair to say that I still dislike eCATT. But the best SAP Functional folks are the best, in part, because they’re aware of every tool in their kit. And sometimes eCATT is the right tool for the job. In rare cases, it’s the only tool for the job.
You should know a bit about eCATT, even if you plan to avoid it, as I do.
Of all that you’ve likely read on the topic of S/4HANA Business Partner, it’s typically not clear – or simply said – that Customer and Vendor Masters fully exist in S/4HANA, exactly as they did in ECC 6.0. They’re just hidden behind Business Partner.
What’s more, and to the point, SAP S/4HANA Sales and Distribution (SD) and Materials Management (MM) modules — and many others — remain blissfully unaware of Business Partner. They continue to use only plain old Customer and Vendor Masters.
Full stop! What does that mean for your Business Partner master data design in SAP S/4HANA ERP? It means that you’re more responsible than ever for the maintenance and outcome of Customer and Vendor.
Years after introduction, plain statements such as these about the S/4HANA implementation of Business Partner – practical implementation advice for SAP Architects and SAP Master Data practitioners – remain in short supply. Written hot on the heels of surviving the crucible of multiple implementations of S/4HANA ERP in 1709 and 1809, this document aims to mitigate that deficiency.
Let’s take a good, long peek behind the curtain, shall we?
It’s a self-serving notion with the added benefit of being true!
Sure, it’s the unique business processes of Retail and Fashion Vertical Business that prompt these Industry solutions. But if you get the foundation wrong — if you fail to grasp what’s special about SAP Retail master data — then you can forget about effectively executing business processes.