SAP, ERP and E-Procurement – Data Accounting, Business Rules and Integration Strategies for MDM

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Master data management (MDM) should be a focal point of all P2P integration strategies. But where should companies start when defining an e-procurement roll-out strategy? A few considerations that procurement must consider include:

Data accounting and business rules definitions – these need integration with the P2P solution in order to match the ERP’s (SAP) accounting rules and structure; combinations of company, account category, cost center, business area, general ledger account, orders, projects and assets.

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Mapping processes – P2P solutions support a broad range of integration technologies for mapping process purposes with an ERP (SAP). From simple unidirectional CSV flat files, to rich and robust APIs that allow complex integrations through middleware, some of these technologies include:

  • iDoc (SAP), one of the most common and stable methods for integrating with SAP, each business object has a specified iDoc format (similar to XML) that can be used to import and export data between SAP and external systems
  • Flat File, this approach requires the customer to translate the data files from the P2P’s CSV format to the format required for import to SAP
  • API, customers who rely on middleware for integration may choose to use the P2P’s APIs to pass data into and out of the P2P solution in a more direct, real-time fashion. The APIs should support all master data objects, as well as business objects such as purchase orders, receipts, invoices and expense reports
  • cXML and EDI are other technologies that could be used
  • Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) – is another customer option for middleware purposes

It is also important to point out that multi-ERP integration can affect the design of process mappings as it likely includes different accounting structures, with multiple transactional tables, user restrictions regarding transaction visibility, different sets of approval rules, content groups to drive users to specific content based on the specific ERP system, and so on.

Don’t let MDM get the better of your P2P implementation. To truly “master” the topic, read, Cloud P2P Deployment: A How-To Guide to SAP and ERP Integration with eProcurement and Beyond (free download on which this post is based). Authored by Xavier Olivera, lead P2P analyst, Jason Busch, founder and managing director, and Thomas Kase, vice president of research, this white paper provides an ideal starting point for ERP (SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, etc.) and P2P (e-procurement and e-invoicing) master data management considerations.

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