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Transforming Master Data Centralization to Boost Efficiency and Cut Costs

Through a successful enterprise-wide initiative, Vodafone Group Plc, a world leader in telecommunications, has increased efficiency, improved data quality, and realized related operational cost savings. The firm used SAP software to establish global data management governance and engaged SAP MaxAttention™ services to help stabilize, accelerate, and optimize the solution.

Vodafone Group Plc
US $59 billion
Products and Services
Voice and data communications
AgilityWorks Limited


  • Improve efficiency, control, data standards, and compliance
  • Accelerate speed to market for new and changed products 
  • Increase value from supplier base with global presence
  • Deliver a robust solution with excellent performance and user experience
Mastering data management using tools and services from SAP
Vodafone Group Plc is one the world’s largest telecom-munications companies, with 434 million subscrib-ers. The company provides telecommunications and IT services to organizations and individuals in more than 65 countries.
For many years Vodafone grew rapidly through acquisitions that left it with many disparate business applications and processes. In the late 2000s, to reap substantial efficiency benefits, the company resolved to standardize its enterprise resource planning (ERP) software globally. It formed a program called evolution Vodafone, or eVO, which decided on SAP to provide the ERP software and proceeded with a world-wide implementation of SAP® applications along with standardized business processes based on them. One of eVO’s first target areas was purchasing, not only to improve its efficiency but also to command lower purchase prices by showing vendors how much total business it does with them globally – an impossible task without centralized maintenance of supplier data.
For eVO to have consistent business processes worldwide, the master data underlying those process-es had to be globally consistent as well. Therefore, an important part of eVO was a program to standardize master data management. The project was fraught with challenges: widely varying data formats, rampant data duplications and contradictions, and a myriad of dissimilar management processes. At the same time, it was extremely important because process standardization could not proceed without it.
We wanted to govern data centrally, with consistent business processes and data validation at source, in order to limit the downstream impact of poor quality data on operational performance. Mandy Fairley, Global Data Governance and Center of Excellence Lead, Vodafone Group Plc


  • Adopted a suite of master data management tools from SAP 
  • Deployed globally across supply chain management, HR, and finance 
  • Engaged SAP MaxAttention™ services to identify system improvement opportunities
Creating the Catalog Management Workbench
Vodafone began its journey by developing a set of policies and data standards for managing data domains. Then, using the SAP NetWeaver® Master Data Management (SAP NetWeaver MDM) and SAP Enterprise Portal components and the SAP Process Integration offering, the company and its partner, AgilityWorks, developed material and supplier gover-nance solutions to manage master data centrally through a user-friendly portal. The governed data was then used to create the Catalog Management Workbench – software and processes for creating and maintaining complex pricing catalogs in a globally consistent way.
Vodafone consists of 22 geographic areas called markets. The Catalog Management Workbench was rolled out to about four markets per year, success-fully at first but with increasingly frequent issues as markets were added. Performance degraded with rising volumes, and new data errors arrived with every market.
To resolve these issues, Vodafone instituted a task force that developed a two-pronged solution. First, it added SAP Data Services and SAP Information Steward software and the SAP BusinessObjects™ Business Intelligence (BI) platform to help identify poor data, remove inconsistencies, and enforce compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley Act segregation-of-duties requirements and with internal company rules. Second, the task force engaged SAP MaxAttention™ services to improve the underlying technical platform and identify ways to improve stability and performance. Vodafone then implemented all critical improve-ments recommended by the team.
Using SAP Data Services, SAP Information Steward, and the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform allows proactive measurement of our governance process and highlights poor data quality at both granular and macro levels. Mandy Fairley, Global Data Governance and Center of Excellence Lead, Vodafone Group Plc


  • Increased effectiveness of shared service center and procurement operations
  • Standardized and controlled creation and maintenance processes globally
  • Positioned to introduce similar benefits for finance domains
  • Rapidly integrated business acquisitions into the global template
  • Greatly improved system performance and stability following recommendations from SAP MaxAttention

<1 day

To create complex catalogs, down from 30 days


Data-related incidents, down from 20 per day


Faster overall system performance
We are proud to be part of the SAP Skills for Africa program. This is truly an excellent initiative. SAP has afforded young talent a rare opportunity to kick-start their careers and at the same time has created a sustainable model to offer training and help people secure employment. Wangeci Kamau, Graduate, SAP Skills for Africa

Business Transformation

With the supply chain well in hand, it’s on to finance
The platform and system improvements, together with the addition of cross-system data consistency checks, made a profound difference to the effective-ness of the solution. No stability issues have been reported in more than a year. System performance jumped tenfold, allowing new catalogs to be created, loaded, and published in less than a day. The Indian market showed how fast the process is by generat-ing 30 new catalogs in one week. As a result of all the improvements, the Catalog Management Workbench is delivering its intended results: raising efficiency for everyone involved in creating, maintaining, and using catalogs; enforcing standards and compliance; making it easier for management to control the process; and arming Vodafone’s procurement group to negotiate better pricing from vendors. All 22 of Vodafone’s markets are using the solution.With the Catalog Management Workbench now in its final form, the master data management team has turned its attention to its second deployment, for Vodafone’s finance groups: managing data for globally standard processes for creating and maintaining a number of finance data domains including assets, cost centers, and profit centers. For the technical foundation, Vodafone selected the SAP Master Data Governance application (since SAP has announced plans to discontinue SAP NetWeaver MDM in the long-range future). The finance applications are now in production deployment, and early reviews from the markets regarding its simplicity and usability are overwhelmingly positive.
Our global data governance program, supported by SAP software, provides a robust, compliant platform and enhances process efficiency and control. Mandy Fairley, Global Data Governance and Center of Excellence Lead, Vodafone Group Plc

Future Plans

Next up for global management: Embracing the digital agenda
Having laid strong foundations for traditional enterprise data management in terms of aligning people, processes and technology, Vodafone is now assessing options for accelerating data-led innovation for a digital agenda.
“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the data governance program to date,” concludes Mandy Fairley, Vodafone’s global data governance and center of excellence lead. “I am convinced that for any organization like ours that has an intense focus on standardized data creation processes and data quality reporting, there are no better products than the ones we’re using from SAP.”

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