Merck is the oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company in the world -- and also one of the earliest adopters of master data management (MDM) with significant investments in both SAP MDM 3.0 and SAP NetWeaver MDM 7.1.   As a pioneer in MDM, Merck was challenged to manage its product lifecycle data across both its global reporting systems and its localized transaction processing systems.  The desired solution was to provide an oversight layer of data stewardship to manage the data quality rules and ownership.  Recently, Merck decided to streamline its master data landscape as part of its strategy to become a "better run" life science business.

By adopting SAP's latest MDM family member SAP Master Data Governance for Materials (SAP MDG-M), Merck was able to leverage the SAP Materials Master (MM) data model to share common ERP rules for data quality and ownership.   SAP MDG-M also provided a solid framework to extend the MM data model and to define business rules using the SAP standard business rules facility (BRF).  In addition, SAP MDG-M also provided for easy creation of browser-based user interfaces to provide the workflow processes to stage MM data for approval and publishing into the master data hub -- i.e., REQUEST for new Material from Requestor, followed by APPROVAL from the Product Owner, ENRICHMENT from various field personnel, APPROVAL from the Business Process Owner/Approver, and lastly DISTRIBUTION (publish) by the SAP MDG-M system.

SAP MDG-M leverages the standard SAP subsystems including such flexible middleware integration connector/layer as provided by SAP Process Integrator (PI) for interfacing with other SAP subsystems via IDOCs, ALE, and XML.

Unlike many, if not most, commercial MDM solutions, Merck was able to install and configure SAP MDG-M in less than two days.  Key benefits arise from the leverage of existing SAP subsystems and processes/rules within the SAP ECC platform ...something which the previous SAP NetWeaver MDM product family had difficulties with.  As a comparison, Merck found the SAP MDG solution to be better suited for complex operational scenarios (versus the simpler analytical capabilities of SAP MDM).  Another key advantage of SAP MDG vs. SAP NW MDM is its ability to manage data governance as a central function.  Merck’s partner in designing and implementing their MDG-M solution is Camelot Management Consultants AG, a Germany based boutique consultancy.

Future plans for the Merck rollout of its new data governance-driven MDM capabilities (via SAP MDG) include upgraded "process visibility" via global cross-system processes to control the complete Merck product lifecycle as well as measure end-to-end process execution.  Additionally, Merck plans to measure data quality visually via the SAP Information Steward (formerly Business Objects Information Steward) dashboard capabilities.  Clearly, SAP MDG excels when the requirement is for strong governance processes in an SAP master data landscape.