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The Quest for More Reliable Data: 3 Solution Extensions to Support Your Data Management Efforts

by Rebecca Newell | SAPinsider

October 1, 2010

You’ve probably heard of SAP solution extensions like SAP Interactive Forms software by Adobe, the SAP Information Interchange application by Crossgate, and the SAP Data Maintenance for ERP application by Vistex. But did you know that these extensions can also contribute to a company’s data management strategy? This article explores each solution — and their data management features — in detail.
 

A business’s data is one of its most important assets — though it’s one that can certainly be a challenge to manage. For most companies, the end goal of any data management strategy is to ensure that all of the business’s stakeholders are working from a single version of the truth. This unified data source enables consistency across business processes and ensures that decision makers are working from the most up-to-date, accurate information.

SAP offers a portfolio of master data management (MDM) solutions that can help companies reach this goal. We also offer additional applications that can contribute to an even more solid data management program when used in conjunction with our MDM solutions. For example, you’ve probably heard of SAP solution extensions like SAP Interactive Forms software by Adobe, the SAP Information Interchange application by Crossgate, and the SAP Data Maintenance for ERP application by Vistex (see Key Term box). But did you know that each of these solutions can also contribute to a company’s data management strategy? Let’s explore each solution — and their data management features — in more detail.

Improve Information Processes with SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe

With SAP Interactive Forms software by Adobe, you can enable direct interaction between highly structured transaction data stored within your enterprise applications and unstructured, document-based information and processes that exist outside of those applications. This bridge allows organizations to reduce operational costs and increase business process agility through automation and increased data accuracy.

With SAP Interactive Forms, non-technical users can accurately enter information as defined by the company’s data management strategy. By completing forms — such as purchase requisitions, expense reimbursement requests, and online recruiting documents — users can easily engage in automated, accurate business processes. This approach makes it easier for suppliers, customers, and partners to collaborate with your company; they won’t require access to or an understanding of the intricacies of your back-end system.

Features That Support Data Management

With SAP Interactive Forms, you can:

  1. Minimize the chance that a user might enter costly data errors through the software’s built-in error-checking functions and pre-filled form fields.
  2. Ensure more complete data entry by linking form fields to SAP applications so that data will be automatically captured, centrally stored, and distributed to the proper databases, business processes, departments, and other forms.
  3. Decrease the potential for forms illegibility or loss (a common problem in fax transmissions) since the application uses email to route forms according to predefined workflows.
  4. Ensure that everyone accesses only the most current versions of enterprise forms. Because SAP Interactive Forms centralizes forms and data, your staff can update one form, distribute it to a central location, and be confident that all users are using the correct version.

Increase Data Visibility and Control with SAP Information Interchange by Crossgate

With millions of B2B transactions occurring every day, how can a company keep up with all that data and make informed decisions? The SAP Information Interchange application by Crossgate is a great asset here; it helps you increase visibility and control over B2B transactions and optimize decision making through simplified access to the transactional information that exists outside of your business.

This solution enables users to easily share electronic information from SAP Information Interchange with trading partners running SAP and non-SAP applications; you can now integrate data that was once available only to individual partners and create a complete view of your business processes.

Additionally, the solution enables your SAP ERP and data management applications to generate and manage all transmitted electronic documents, so you can leverage the process automation, reporting, and audit trail functionality that these applications provide as part of your B2B process.

Features That Support Data Management

With SAP Information Interchange, you can:

  1. Lower IT costs and reduce business partner on-boarding time by eliminating the need to map trading-partner formats and constantly invest in IT services to integrate with your value chain.
  2. Meet evolving business needs by simplifying the process of adding new trading partners and more easily making changes to your portfolio of partners and applications.
  3. Reduce compliance risk by complying with any customer’s or partner’s B2B or EDI request without having to integrate point-to-point.
  4. Free up critical IT resources so you can rechannel them to higher-value initiatives.

Improve Data Quality with SAP Data Maintenance for ERP by Vistex

When faced with a high volume of data, organizations need to focus not only on improving the data’s quality, but also on their efficiency in managing it. To help, the SAP Data Maintenance for ERP application by Vistex can take in data from spreadsheets or flat files and perform user-defined edit validations to help ensure completeness and accuracy. Also, by working in conjunction with workflow capabilities supported by SAP NetWeaver technology, the application routes proposed data changes for internal review and approval before they are entered into SAP ERP.

The application is also extremely flexible, supporting multiple data attributes and identification mechanisms for easier data management, especially when product, pricing, and partner data are combined in complex relationships.

In addition, users can depict hierarchies and relationships in numerous formats to more efficiently delineate responsibilities for related condition types, such as purchase price from vendors and sales price for customers.

Features That Support Data Management

With SAP Data Maintenance, you can:

  1. Improve productivity with automated mass-update tools and an intuitive interface that simplifies the maintenance of pricing data within an SAP ERP instance.
  2. Reduce business risk by increasing the accuracy and reliability of relevant master data that supports critical business transactions.
  3. Increase business performance with actionable business insights gleaned through an all-in-one view into product, price, and customer and vendor data.
  4. Strengthen compliance with consistent, up-to-date data and a solid audit trail that helps simplify compliance reporting.

Extend Your Data Management Strategy with SAP Solution Extensions

The ultimate goal of any data management strategy is to ensure that all of the business’s stakeholders are working from a single version of the truth. The three solution extensions from SAP highlighted in this article can support your data management strategy and provide complementary capabilities to extend the functionality of your existing MDM solutions. Together, these solutions will help you improve productivity, reduce risk, and increase performance — and finally achieve that coveted single version of the truth. To learn more, visit www.sap.com/solutions/solutionextensions.

Rebecca Newell (rebecca.newell@sap.com) has held executive-level marketing and business management positions for more than 20 years. Rebecca began her career in the world of technology at Intel and then continued on to Novell and 3Com before joining SAP. At SAP, she has developed comprehensive go-to-market strategies to drive success for the solution extension applications portfolio worldwide.

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