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Best Prac for Data Loading Into Sap

Best Prac for Data Loading Into Sap

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Published by: BOBJ_BW on Jun 22, 2010
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© 2008 Winshuttle, Inc. All rights reserved.www.winshuttle.com
Best Practices for Data Loading into SAP® ERP Systems
An organization’s ability to act swiftly and make business decisions is based on having access to complete and accurateviews of enterprise data. Companies recognize the value in leveraging all of their corporate information and the
benets of reconciling data into consolidated views, but the path to get there can be difcult. Getting data into the
company’s ERP system in a timely and accurate manner is a critical success factor in business decisions. This whitepaper examines existing data-loading methods and best practices to easily incorporate data into SAP solutions.
A white paper by:Winshuttle, Inc.Bothell, WA 98012, USA+1 425.368.2708www.winshuttle.com
© 2008 Winshuttle, Inc. All rights reserved.www.winshuttle.com
It is a core business principle that to run a successful company, assets must be managed effectively. However, there isan often overlooked asset that, if correctly harnessed, is a turning point in competitive advantage, particularly withthe increasing sophistication of enterprise wide business management systems such as SAP ERP. This asset is the coredata produced in abundance by every company in the world. Corporate data sets include transactional data and masterdata. 
Managing large amounts of data can be a signicant challenge to most organizations. Some of the common data
management tasks include:Data migration, e.g., loading legacy systems data into SAP applications during initial SAP implementation or M&A
activityData maintenance, e.g., mass changes to SAP data for price changes and payroll changes
Data integration, e.g., loading vendor invoices or bank statements into SAP applications
Mass data creation, e.g., creating new master data (materials, vendors, customers, etc.), or transactional data
(journal vouchers, invoices, etc) in SAP systemsA common theme among these data management applications is data loading – loading of data into SAP systems from
external les such as spreadsheets or other databases. The limited resources in IT and in the lines of business struggle
to complete these data-related tasks in a timely and accurate manner. However, if the best practices described in thiswhite paper are followed in each stage of a data loading process, these challenges can be overcome.
Planning the data load project1.Developing templates and preparing the data2.Running the data load process3.Post data load activities4.
Planning the Data Load Project1.
Every data loading project should have a plan that includes quality and user acceptance as the top priorities.Preparation is key to the success of any operation, and data loading is no exception. Items to be considered whenplanning a data loading project:
Selecting the right tool for the job
For small projects affecting fewer than 50 transactions, manual data entry may be the best choice. However,when uploading large amounts of data, such as employee records, pricing conditions, material masters,purchase orders, or customer invoices, manually keying in the data is resource-intensive, time-consuming, andstressful for data entry personnel and IT support teams. In addition, the manual entry of data increases the riskof errors, thereby increasing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of SAP solutions.
- Custom programming
One alternative to the manual entry of data into an SAP system is to write custom ABAP™ programs. Manycompanies have developed custom programs for very large data loading tasks that will remain static. Theseprograms can streamline the repetitive entry of hundreds of thousands to millions of records. However,creating robust programs involves multiple iterations of requirements gathering, programming, testing,
documentation, transporting, and renement, and these programs may be used only once or twice a year,
making the effort particularly costly in terms of man hours and ROI. Using a program that was hastily puttogether or one that has not been well-tested can damage or destroy data.
Fig. 2 - Stages of a data loading projectFig. 1 - Data loading use cases
© 2008 Winshuttle, Inc. All rights reserved.www.winshuttle.com
- SAP-provided tools
If technical resources aren’t limited, one approach to create and change master and transactional data is touse the data importing tools already resident in SAP applications such as BDC and LSMW. LSMW can be a veryeffective way of creating data in a new SAP implementation. However, SAP technical tools are intended tobe used by technical resources in IT departments, rather than everyday business users. In addition, any dataimport scripts and programs added to the SAP system need to be maintained as SAP versions are upgradedeven if they were created as one-time-use tools. Finally, your business users require extra authorizations toperform uploads using SAP-provided tools.
Third-party tools such as Winshuttle’s transactionSHUTTLE do not reside inside the SAP system,so they generally do not require extra authorizations and can be used by everyday business users.
transactionSHUTTLE simplies the data loading process because it does not require any programming and
does not require any technical resources. For your SAP systems, data loading using a third-party tool isexactly the same as manually entering data, only at a much faster speed.
Uploading to SAP via the Correct Interface
Data should never be uploaded directly to SAP tables. Writing directly to SAP tables circumvents the data
validation provided by normal SAP transactions. Always upload data via pre-congured SAP transactions, BAPIsor IDocs, and use tools such as BDC, CATT, LSMW, or a qualied third-party tool. This maintains the validationscongured in each transaction.
One of the most common SOX audit concerns is that users in IT departments have very broad access toproduction data in SAP systems. Data uploads should be carried out by data owners who are authorized toperform them. Check to be sure that rights and duties are assigned to different individuals separately so thatno one individual has the power to divert business or transactions in a fraudulent manner.
Sharing Templates
There is no need to re-invent the wheel for each transaction. Reuse templates developed for previousuploads and share them among departments. Keeping a repository of templates, in SharePoint or a shared
le repository, along with a common naming convention, will enable users to easily nd a previously created
Planning for Iterations
Due to changes in requirements and errors in data, data loading projects are iterative in nature. Plan to createseveral scripts and allot time for iterations.
2. Developing Templates and Preparing the Data
The following best practices should be considered while developing the data loading scripts and templates:
Testing data loading templates thoroughly on a non-production system allows you to detect and correctsystematic errors before moving the data into production.
Use a peer-review process
To verify their accuracy and performance, any scripts or templates developed should go through a peer-reviewprocess. This process can range from a very simple method of “looking over one’s shoulder” to a complete
workow-based review process.
Use a versioning method to keep track of changes
Since data loading scripts tend to change as requirements change, use a version control system to keep trackof these changes. All document management and collaboration systems, such as Documentum or SharePoint,offer easy-to-use version control features.

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