How do you get real SAP data into non-production systems for testing, training and support?
The simple solution: EPI-USE Labs’ Data Sync Manager™ (DSM) product suite and related services. With DSM, you can rapidly create new non-production systems, reduce the footprint when refreshing existing test clients or creating new ones, and copy selected data on demand, all with integrated scrambling of data for security.
Trusted by over 600 companies world-wide, Data Sync Manager is the simplest, most effective way to copy and mask data between and within any SAP ABAP stack landscape (such as ERP, CRM or BW).
Data Sync Manager (DSM)™ is certified by SAP for 'Integration with SAP S/4HANA®' and 'Integration with SAP S/4HANA Cloud®'.
In a typical Data Sync Manager scenario, the Basis team uses System Builder to make a repository copy of Production, creating a ‘shell’ non-production system in minimal time. Then, using Client Sync, the team adds a new client containing only the necessary data and customization, while masking sensitive data with Data Secure if necessary. The new slimmer client can be used for effective testing, training or support by developers and support personnel. Users can then use Object Sync to add real, accurate data from Production as required, masking with Data Secure as needed. Because much less disk space is used, and no downtime is needed, this process can be repeated frequently. This approach balances client size with the availability of up-to-date production data.
SAP has specific solutions for various industries, and each of these industries faces unique test data management challenges. Find out more about these challenges and how Data Sync Manager can help at the links below:
The Data Sync Manager product suite is made up of complementary products that can be used in conjunction with each other or independently.
System Builder™ creates a new non-production system shell, without any application data. The repository is exactly the same as that of production, but without the production client.
For S/4HANA systems, System Builder is replaced by Shell Sync™, which aligns the target system repository with the source.
Client Sync™ creates lean SAP clients that are fully functional and have complete data integrity. An alternative to a full system refresh.
Object Sync™ allows functional users to copy speciﬁc data scenarios, on demand, with complete data integrity, from any system to another.
Object Extractor allows you to create a copy of the specific data needed for reference without excessive overheads and running costs, allowing fast decommissioning of SAP systems.
System Compare™ quickly and easily compares systems to identify any diﬀerences for testing using an intuitive interface.
Data Secure™ is a comprehensive protection solution that comes with pre-defined masking rules. It protects sensitive data across all non-production systems using flexible masking options.
Read a few examples of the many challenges we’ve solved for our existing clients across a wide range of industry sectors:
Mike Ellis, Software Development Technical Manager,Edwards
Esben Fagerlind, SAP Landscape and Release Consultant, Vestas
Jeff Greiner - Director, Enterprise Applications Engineering,Siemens PLM Software
ERP/SAP Manager, Babcock and Wilcox
Jan Huizinga, Technical consultant, Rabobank
Companies running SAP’s Utilities Industry Solutions (IS-U) have a particularly difficult challenge in getting good test data. These utilities also face an uphill battle when trying to get accurate test data. Both IS-U and CRM environments tend to increase quickly, with a large amount of data relating to business partners, installations, premises, point of deliveries and other technical master data. Production data also changes quickly in the utilities, due to new transactions and functionality, as companies try to stay competitive in a mature market and keep up-to-date with industry compliance requirements.
The data model for IS-U is very different from standard ERP. With production systems containing literally millions of customers, it is impossible to keep several full copies of production in the non-production landscape. This provides a massive challenge around enabling functional analysts, testers, trainers and consultants to access the data required to support the production system.
EPI-USE Labs’Data Sync Manager™ (DSM) for Utilities offers an effective and efficient solution, and provides the flexibility and power that all IS-U customers require. It provides a lean testing environment with a subset of business partners and all their related data, so a full history of the accounts. You can then add additional data on demand by copying data for specific accounts, as and when needed. Typically, less than 10% of the size of the production system is needed. The bigger benefit is having the real data available. The testing mimics what would happen in production, even in development and early testing systems. The system can replicate an issue for a specific contract in minutes, with no need to copy the other customers from the production system. There is no system downtime, no large space requirements and no effect on other users of the test client.
For the majority of testing and training requirements, all the necessary data can be derived from an installation, contract or contract account, also picking up the business partner, premise, devices and equipment with related transactional data. Full consistency across the wider finance module is not necessary in the vast majority of cases. So meter reading, data exchange flows, billing documents and print documents can all be copied exactly as they occurred on the source.
Companies in the Oil and Gas industry have ever-increasing volumes of data, combined with diverse landscapes of business areas, production, contracts, ownership, revenue accounting, scheduling, tariffs, duties, permits, transportation and marketing, to name a few. Both factors sometimes cause business processes to fail, creating a high demand for correcting the specific business process promptly.
These productive business processes need to be replicated onto testing systems in order to find or replicate the same error experienced in the productive environment. Consequently, there is a demand for landscapes where tests can be concluded. These test systems need to bear current and recent business data in order to mimic the same process to be tested. The systems must be small and agile and refreshed at regular intervals. Reducing the window for test system refresh – using a solution like EPI-USE Labs’ Client Sync™– allows more frequent test refreshes with increased landscape flexibility (for example, temporary clients for specific projects which can be disposed of when that project completes).
Enabling analysts, DevOps and consultants to copy small sets of real data on demand to existing test clients can also relieve some of the pressure during key project phases and ensure the tests carried out are realistic and more representative of what will happen when the project finally goes live. This can be achieved easily and in a repeatable, consistent manner with Object Sync™.
With both of these copy methods, it’s essential to have an intelligent data-masking solution, like Data Secure™, which can provide accurate values for masking without traceable patterns in the data. It also has the capability to create address masking which will pass postal code checkers.
Public sector SAP systems have their own unique challenges when it comes to test data and managing the landscape. Typically, finance is one of the main departments using SAP, with a large volume of purchasing document flows. Funds’ management and budgets are specific to the public sector and cater for some of the processes which typically do not exist outside of such organizations. The creation of data like Derivation Rules directly in production makes it very hard to recreate production issues accurately in test systems, meaning sooner or later a full copy back from production has to be carried out. There are other types of data which, while not unique to the public sector, are much more common here (for example, multiple employment, which can be very challenging when testing payroll issues or changes). There is also some sensitive data in the public sector, which typically does not exist in a commercial organization. These could include, for example, suppliers for police equipment, or providers of care for children in the custody of the local government.
EPI-USE Labs has a long track record of working for many public sector organizations. Products like our Data Sync Manager™(DSM) suite have specific functionality to help create test environments and data securely and accurately for organizations demanding value for money and transparency. Client Sync™, part of the DSM suite, can create reduced test clients without the need for a full system refresh, including the latest derivation rules. Sensitive data can be masked automatically as part of that process. Data on demand can be copied for budgets, purchasing, HCM and all the other key areas of functionality. We can also deal with related SRM systems at the same time with DSM for SRM, ensuring consistent masking across the test environment.
Keeping up with regulations means the business needs to make configuration changes in SAP in a time-critical way, and be sure those changes won’t disrupt the day-to-day running of the production systems. Many regulations mean that banks, and other financial services organizations, must follow strict procedures when handling productive data. Furthermore, the data must be anonymised in non-production systems in compliance with data protection regulations.
It is not easy to make changes in these organizations, as small mistakes can cause huge financial risks. The industry introduces such changes very carefully, and typically after spending many human hours on testing. The bank data required must always be up-to-date to serve these complex test requirements. However, the amount of data which needs to be copied to refresh the test environments is huge, and makes that process very long with complex technical requirements.
Client Sync™ can refresh test clients without the need for a system copy; the data can also be masked at the same time. This reduces the complexity, removing the need to correct the myriad of interfaces to other systems which are typically present for Financial Services SAP systems. It also lowers the volume of the test systems and makes the process much quicker.
Data Secure™ is able to scramble complex banking objects across multiple systems efficiently and consistently. Object Sync™ can copy and scramble selective complicated banking objects such as accounts, collaterals and loans, with the help of specially defined scenarios.
The Insurance Industry Solution for SAP leverages Financial Services Collections and Disbursements (FSCD) and creates high data volumes due to the frequently changing customer data with new dunning runs, payments etc. It also integrates into Contract Accounting (FI-CA) making, for a myriad of data all flowing from a single Business Partner. When testing or troubleshooting, a complete history is required for test cases so that balances, credit checking etc is correct. This typically means companies rely on frequent system copies with large volumes of data.
Client Sync™ allows insurance organizations to build lean clients with a time-slice of posting documents and accounting documents, but all the master data and payment plan data for customers which is required for accurate testing. This reduces the volume in test and development clients, allowing more flexibility in the landscape, and also simplifies the refresh process for Basis teams, making the outcome much more predictable.
With Object Sync™, there are a number of Insurance specific objects and a Scenario object which allows selection by specific ‘Insurance Object’ keys and collects all related data – such as Business Partner, Contract Account, Payment Plans, Partner FS-CD data, FICA postings – so that the exact situation for that account can be set up in seconds in testing environments. This is invaluable for production support issues, as well as better unit testing in development systems, regression and integration testing in higher systems.
Sensitive customer information, names, addresses and bank details can be masked as part of both the Client Sync and Object Sync process. Alternatively, existing test systems can be masked as a stand-alone with Data Secure™, leveraging the same masking policies.
For most companies in the retail sector, the only thing that is constant is change. As the business strives to get ahead of the competition, with new promotions and pricing conditions, products need to hit the market on time. For predominantly B2C companies, the challenge can be heightened further by seasonal promotions which have to go live on time. Projects tend to roll through the landscape one after the other, but often overlapping, leaving very small windows to refresh test systems. This means that the latest data doesn’t make it back to development and test systems, ultimately reducing the quality of testing. In many cases there are a myriad of interfaces to external systems, CRM, PoS etc, making test refreshes particularly complex. And, of course, where there is B2C data in the systems, that data must be protected through masking and removal of sensitive data, without lowering the quality of the data for testing and training.
Reducing the window for test system refresh using a solution like Client Sync™ can enable more frequent test refreshes. It can also enable more landscape flexibility (for example, temporary clients for specific projects which can be disposed of when that project is complete).
Enabling analysts, DevOps and consultants to copy small sets of real data on demand to existing test clients can also relieve some of the pressure during key project phases. It also ensures that the tests carried out are realistic and more representative of what will happen when the project finally goes live. This can be achieved easily and in a repeatable, consistent manner with Object Sync™.
With both of these copy methods, it’s essential to have an intelligent data masking solution - like Data Secure™ - which can provide accurate-looking values for masking without traceable patterns in the data. It also has the capability to create address masking which will pass postal code checkers.
|Data Sync Manager Brochure|
|Kellogg’s: Success Story|
|Data Sync Manager for HCM Brochure|
|Data masking in non-production SAP environments: White Paper|
|Data Secure Leaflet|
|Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC): Success Story|
|Gulfmark Offshore's HCM upgrade: Success Story|
|Electoral Commission of South Africa: Success Story|
|Landscape Management challenges: White Paper|
Healthcare organizations running the SAP industry solution have a dedicated data model for the industry, allowing them to manage the large volumes of detailed, sensitive customer data effectively. Testing patient data cases requires accurate replication of the full history of a patient’s data. A partial copy of this information would not be suitable for ensuring that processes are properly tested and verified prior to proceeding into production. For this reason, full copies of production are typically used, but this brings a massive data privacy risk into these test systems. Third-party support or development organizations cannot be granted access to these systems and so a large part of testing is done against unrealistic data. When testing case scenarios for patients, it’s important that you have a solution that allows you to copy patient data accurately and with their full history.
Client Sync™ allows a reduced client to be created with a subset of patients’ records, all masked before leaving the production system. Object Sync™ then allows existing records to be updated or new ones to be added to the test system, leveraging the same intelligent masking routines as Client Sync.
Higher education institutions, predominantly universities, have a growing need to quantify, qualify and analyse student data for business insights in order to remain competitive. This data set is often spread across multiple interfacing systems, applications and databases. SAP SLcM can bridge this gap with a unified platform as institutions seek a single view approach to consume a students’ academic journey. This holistic view of a student data set, although promising, can quickly grow into terabytes of data per year. To remain competitive, academic institutions have to interpret and understand student data flows from admissions, enrolment, course registration, examinations, student events, student finance, accommodation, grants and scholarships, and graduations, to mention a few. A visual representation of this student journey map and data footprint is best represented in the image below.
Universities now have this single platform to analyse student data, although they do face new challenges; for example, having only the right volume of data, and protecting the confidentiality of students Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on data to be analysed outside the production landscape.
EPI-USE Labs’ Data Sync Manager™(DSM) suite offers an all-in-one solution to copy a subset of a student’s data journey and create a lean system for data analysis and testing purposes. Our Data Secure™ data-masking solution provides a platform to scramble or anonymize student personal data (student master data, visa information and passport data) without compromising the quality of test data. This means the university can focus on what really matters most to them - finding patterns and remaining true to their research roots.