How to Become a Master Data Hero Pt. 1

By Eric Moore on June 4, 2014

hero 3Admit it, there’s a part of you that would like to be a hero. After all, heroes are personified by what we see in movies and comic books, a superhuman that fights evil and saves lives. Heroes are brave and resolve problems that confront society.

At Winshuttle, while we are not saving lives, we do believe in creating workplace heroes of another type. This hero empowers his or her co-workers by automating their business processes above the status quo. Check out this introduction video here to get a sense of what I mean.

You may have seen previous blog posts, from our contributors Kristian Kalsing and Heather Oebel, highlighting the virtues of proper master data and the implementation of design patterns. Their respective messages are strategies for thinking critically about how to improve your SAP processes.

This is the first of a five-part series in which I will take you on a journey through how you can execute on clean data and design patterns using a phased approach. Think of these phases as points on a time continuum: Each point represents how you and your team can execute measures in implementing your solution.



1.    PERSONAS In this phase we’ll identify individual contributors who either encounter hindrances and the employees who help solve the problems.
2.    USE CASES This phase covers how to define the problem and identify which
functional areas it affects.
3.    DESIGN In this critical phase we’ll design a solution to the problem, including the architecture.
4.    USAGE While this seems straight forward, the Usage phase takes on many forms. From testing to QA to production, this phase helps to identify whether what we just designed works.
5.    MANAGE In this last phase, we empower our end users to keep an eye on the system that hosts our solution. Here, we can generate governance and licensing models and ROI metrics.


A formal definition from Wikipedia describes a persona “as a representation of the goals and behavior of a hypothesized group of users.” In most cases, personas are synthesized from data collected from interviews. They are captured in 1–2 page descriptions that include behavior patterns, goals, skills, attitudes, and environment.

While a persona may not fully represent all that you do in your job, it can play a role in solving master data problems by helping you identify the employees who will be critical to your success when you implement your Winshuttle solution.

Let’s begin by identifying four key personas who represent unique disciplines in your organization and must be involved from the very beginning:

The Super User

The Super User persona possesses skills and responsibilities to upload and extract data from the SAP environment(s) efficiently. The key attributes include:

  • Facilitates first line of support for basic end users
  • Serves as a representative for the department
  • Communicates effectively with IT, users and management
  • Testing expertise

The Super User(s) will build your Winshuttle scripted templates that help automate the appropriate SAP processes. Once implemented, this persona can identify ways to automate and continuously improve the solution.

The Manager

This persona can take many forms and have a variety of responsibilities. The Manager and the Super User share similar goals in ensuring that clean data is entered into SAP. Instead of uploading data, the Manager is responsible for reporting and KPI details, which help shape resourcing and business decisions. In addition, the Manager reviews end-user requests, such as time-off and expenses.

The End User

This persona includes many employees, from the experienced SAP data entrant to the casual user. The more experienced users are responsible for the posting of day-to-day activities like invoices, the creation of master records and generating reports. The more casual user may have no interaction with the SAP environment, but helps gather data. An example of a casual user task is entering a timesheet or vacation request.

IT Operations

Another key persona is your IT team. This includes your SAP Basis and Security, SharePoint Administrators and any WINTEL team members. These teams help implement Winshuttle Foundation, which will ultimately host your solutions. It is critical to keep these teams engaged as early as possible in the planning stages.

Assume for a moment that only the Super User was responsible for implementing the solution. The solution would only work for the needs of the Super User. The other personas would have no clue how to use or support the solution.

In summary, the Super User, the Manager, the End User and IT must work in harmony to make the Winshuttle solution execute properly.

In my next post, we will examine Use Cases, where we will peel back the layers of these personas’ work on a daily basis to identify issues and how to best shape our infrastructure.

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