Every organization has data — in fact, lots of it. We are sure yours does too and you have an ERP system to consolidate and manage this data. But, do you know if the data in your ERP is trustworthy? Sadly, the importance of data quality in ERP systems is often underestimated.
At To-Increase we help customers on Dynamics 365 ERP avoid data transfer disasters by ensuring data quality. Customers across the globe trust our master data management solutions to get the most out of Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management (F&SCM).
As a data manager or data steward, you understand the importance of data quality and the role it plays in critical decision-making across your organization. But do you have the right tool to support data quality assessments? In this blog, we share more details on our data quality solution — Data Quality Studio, including its benefits.
What is Data Quality Studio?
Our Master Data Management (MDM) Studio is designed to distribute data from one legal entity to another or from one environment to another with the help of additional management tools used by data stewards. We have minimal options to validate data in MDM, these options were predefined, and it wasn't easy to configure them. There was a need for a data quality solution not only in MDM, but also for standard Dynamics 365 F&SCM. Ensuring that your Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP system has the most relevant data is indeed a big challenge faced by most organizations.
A discussion with our partners, customers, prospects, and internal stakeholders highlighted the lack of a data governance component, which led to the development of Data Quality Studio, a no-code, data governance solution that can ensure data quality within Dynamics 365 F&SCM. The inclusion of Data Quality Studio along with other components (currently under development) completes our vision for a complete master data management and data governance solution.
Here’s a visual representation of our data governance and MDM components.
Is Data Quality Studio a part of MDM?
Since data quality is required when you distribute and integrate data using a master data management (MDM) solution, Data Quality Studio fits into our suite of Data Governance Solutions.
Does this mean that Data Quality Studio will not be offered as an independent solution?
Absolutely not! It is offered as an independent component. Even if you do not have the requirements for master data management or distribution of data within the environment, but still want to verify master data or streamline transactional data, Data Quality Studio would be the right solution to use.
The Data Quality Studio is not limited to master data. It is a completely independent solution that can also be used with all other regular tables, for example, sales and purchase orders.
Are you spending a lot of time and money on developers to set up data validation rules to ensure data quality in your ERP? If yes, the Data Quality Studio can help. Watch this video for a product overview of Data Quality Studio.
What are the benefits of Data Quality Studio?
Curious to find out how To-Increase’s Data Quality Studio can help you?
1. Reduce dependency on developers with a configuration-based solution
A configuration-based solution is one that has a simple user interface that even non-programmers can setup or configure easily. With the range of cloud-based solutions and apps that are available today, we want our customers to be able to configure the Data Quality Studio quickly without having to know how to write code.
2. Save time with easy deployment
The advantage of a no-code solution is that deployment is easy. With a customized solution, every time you make a customization you will need to test it in a staging environment and you’ll face downtime in the production environment. Because of the development cycle, more time is taken for the process and other dependencies rather than the actual development.
For example, if you have to setup a validation rule that depends on the credit rating field or a customer group, or a combination of those two, it might take a few weeks to get that changed in the production environment. This is because of the time taken for the entire process from development to testing and deployment to the production environment.
When you have a configuration-based solution like Data Quality Studio, you can quickly create a new version of the data quality policy, verify, and deploy easily. If you have made a mistake, you can also correct it quickly without a downtime in your production environment.
3. Maintain compatibility with updates to the D365 environment
With customizations to meet data validation requirements you can never really be sure of its compatibility with new updates to the Dynamics 365 environment. But with the Data Quality Studio, we take care of maintaining continuous updates. Your organization only needs to focus on the content of the data quality policies in the system and we take care of updating it as we have a CICD (continuous integration and continuous delivery) practice in place.
4. Save money with an agile data quality solution
Customized solutions are not just expensive, they come with a continuous recurring cost toward verification and updates. With the Data Quality Studio, although there is a cost incurred on subscription, it helps you save money in the long run. And if you have a lot of validation rules to setup, this is indeed a cost-effective solution. If you make a mistake in setting up a rule or data quality policy, you’ll be able to correct it quickly with zero downtime.
The Data Quality Studio offers a framework for setting up validation and data enrichment tools. For data entry on forms we trigger data validation rules with the help of run-time events. The advantage of doing this is that at the form level, validation rules are executed only when the user enters the data.
For example, if you want to add a new customer, you will have to fill in the customer details form and you may want to add certain fields like financial dimensions. When performing a new customer entry, you can ensure that all the fields are entered, and the data entry is done according to the rules you have set up.
6. Avoid the need for data entities by integration with Connectivity Studio
The Data Quality Studio can be easily integrated with the Connectivity Studio, a part of To-Increase’s Business Integration Solutions (BIS) framework. This makes it possible to enable data validation and action policies per message.
For example, when entering customer details, if the field customer group is mandatory and that is not populated, an error message can be displayed and record insertion will not be allowed.
The benefit of integrating with Connectivity Studio is that it can be used on data in any table or any field, without the need for data entities.
7. Detect and correct errors with data quality assessments
There are two different scenarios where you will have the option to perform ad-hoc or periodic data quality assessments.
If you are performing data migration from a legacy system or import data as part of an integration to Dynamics 365 F&SCM, you can decide to avoid checking for any validation rules, duplicate checks, or action rules. This is to ensure the data is imported and available in the respective forms.
If you are already live with Dynamics 365 without Data Quality Studio or if you make changes to existing data quality policies, the existing data might have a lot of errors.
For these scenarios, you can use the periodic option data quality assessment. Via the batch framework, it will loop through existing data and store all data errors for follow-up. This can then be assigned to a data owner who will take actions to correct the data that is invalid and ensure that it follows validation rules.
8. Ease the setup of global and local data quality policies
You can have a global setup, which means that data quality policies will be applicable for all legal entities across the organization. You can also have a localized setup of data quality policies.
For example, you may want to have a data quality policy that’s active for all Asian companies, or another one that’s applicable to all Dutch legal entities. There’s a lot of flexibility that’s offered in setting up data quality policies.
9. Ensure error-free data with validation and action rules
Validation rules are not only about checking the content in each field, it is also about restricting entry in certain fields based on values in other fields. For example, if the credit rating for a customer is set to medium, the value for the credit limit can be restricted to a maximum of $25,000.
Error messages can also be customized to guide the user on resolving the error in data entry rather than having a generic message. These error messages can also be set up in different languages based on your requirement. Validation rules can be set in a way that either blocks the user from continuing with data entry until the error is resolved or if it is something that is not mandatory, users can be allowed to ignore the warning message and continue with data entry. For every rule, we can set up if the outcome should be an error or a warning.
We can also set up action rules which allow certain fields to be automatically filled up. For example, depending on the customer country that’s selected, the denominator for currency gets filled automatically. If a customer is from the United States, the currency field is automatically set to US dollars (USD).
10. Validate data from external sources by performing checks
In Data Quality Studio, you can set up integration with third-party web services to check for real-live valid data. As an example, you can perform checks on VAT numbers, email addresses, and postal addresses. Some services provide corrected data like addresses. When you make a typo or miss the postal codes, the service can return a full corrected address. Some web services are offered free. Validation on addresses and email are usually paid services.
Take the next step to solve your data quality problems
We hope this blog has been able to give you an understanding of what Data Quality Studio is and the benefits that it offers to maintain trustworthy data in your ERP.
To watch a demo of Data Quality Studio for D365 F&SCM and to listen to our experts answering a couple of questions from customers and prospects, access this on-demand webinar on Data Quality Studio.