Improving data quality offers many benefits – but the path to clean, standardized data may seem daunting. As with most business analysis, when the input data is bad, the output can be unreliable. And when that data output drives your business, the stakes are high for failure or success.
The benefits of having clean, standardized master data for an SAP S/4HANA migration span many business disciplines and provide significant cost savings. Furthermore, improved data quality also addresses less quantifiable issues such as increasing knowledge capture and reducing safety and environmental risks. In addition to these specific benefits, cleansing, standardizing and enhancing data establishes an environment for business improvements which include the following:
- Centralize widely-used data: Common data found in different legacy data systems will be standardized and consolidated in a central location for universal use. This ensures a 360-degree view so related information is always available, clean and managed. For example, before consolidation, distributed systems may each contain customer names, but inconsistent spelling or formats could prevent one business group from finding all information related to a specific customer.
- Drive business insights: Enhanced, centralized and governed master data enables cross-functional analytics to optimize business performance and inform strategic decisions.
- Harmonize systems: Data systems grow from many sources. For example, divisions setting up their own IT systems; mergers/acquisitions; and adoption of specific business applications. Using SAP Master Data Governance to standardize data across systems and then upgrading applications to use the standardized data, will help ensure consistency in the way that data is used. Special cases, extra validation, and mappings can be eliminated, simplifying not only the data, but the processes that depend on the data.
- Opportunity to modernize: As legacy data systems are standardized and applications are chosen to be upgraded to use the clean, governed master data, another opportunity presents itself. Many companies will be able to completely jettison custom legacy systems in favor of modern ERP solutions such as SAP S/4 HANA either on premise or in the cloud.