Metadata both hard and soft / technical and business, is still data that needs to be managed for quality.
Q: What is RuleBase?
A: RuleBase is a database of your data standards and controls covering all aspects of what is needed to be known for any given master data field. It is available as a SharePoint Data Base since 2010 and now as a more powerful ServiceNow Application. In essence it is a structured knowledge repository for master data technical and business metadata.
Q: How Is RuleBase knowledge management different from ServiceNow’s "Knowledge" application?
A: RuleBase is highly structured and controlled for most of the attributes of the data standard. It is extremely complementary to ServiceNow Knowledge. Often Knowledge can be used to document workflows and training as well as broader data strategies at the data family or group level (Examples: Policies for handling address abbreviations for all domains or training documents for setting up a new raw material). These larger, unstructured documents all are referencing the individual fields and as such run the risk of becoming conflicted with the data standard at worst or just redundant content requiring double (or triple or isodecohedral) extra maintenance. By linking them back to the standard, the single source of knowledge principle can be maintained. RuleBase has a function called “Easi-Link” that makes this process faster and easier than managing as individual links so reducing the maintenance work significantly. The goal is to maintain knowledge once and to leverage it often.
Q: Is RuleBase just for SAP?
A: No, not at all. Our consulting business has focused on SAP since 2008 and our employee’s experience in SAP date back to the 90s so of course that’s an important platform for us, but RuleBase can be, and is being, used for any system where documenting the data standards is important. We have used it with PLM, CRM, Safety, engineering, plant maintenance and e-commerce platforms all while maintaining a common view of the standard making for a common user experience and easy knowledge uptake independent of the platform being documented.
Q: How difficult is it to add additional Platform-Applications to the data base
A: Its very easy to add new levels of content for new platforms, new application and new domains. The main challenge is to amend the custom code used in the various search techniques. While this is a 5-step process, once the content is collected, adding the domain to your dev environment is fast with your frequency of migration from dev to production being the main time constraint and not the modifications themselves.
Q; Does RuleBase come standard with a version of the ServiceNow service Portal?
A: The ServiceNow portal is a super way to enhance the user experience and further tie RuleBase structured knowledge to the unstructured knowledge in KNOWLEDGE BASE. We do not provide the Portal as part of the "scoped application" as we cannot anticipate how you are leveraging the Portal in your organization. That said, we do have some great templates and it is an easy project to incorporate our templates into your Portal environment for a seamless view of Data Governance in a user friendly way.
Q: Can RuleBase be hosted in-house?
A: RuleBase is an app for ServiceNow and sits where ever your ServiceNow application sits. That is generally, but not always in the cloud. That said it is on YOUR instance and is fully customizable and “Brandable”. Once it is operational, RuleBase is part of your intranet in every way, including branding, look and feel and is under the same security control as the rest of your ServiceNow platform.
Q: Does the product incorporate any artificial intelligence or machine learning techniques?
A: RuleBase Supports AI vs being AI supported. ServiceNow has new and improving AI capabilities that can leverage RuleBase in particular for the creation of Data Quality tickets and trouble shooting.
Q: How does using RuleBase effect my licenses for ServiceNow?
A: While licensing is between you and ServiceNow, RuleBase is designed to require licenses only for the key data stewards tasked with updating content into RuleBase, while allowing anyone in the enterprise with ServiceNow Read access to be able to also read and to initiate content update workflows.
Q: Other than the data standards, what can RuleBase be used for?
A: RuleBase also includes a business glossary that is based on the same underlying structures as the standards so searching can be common, thus the business text search results can return basic definitions as well as the standard. This can make it easier for a user to “connect” the dots between a general business term definition and the specific standards that include that term.
We also have a RACI model for the key reference tables to help align the stake holders to the reference tables tat support the master data.
One customer decided to expand this table to include all active SAP data tables aligned to an SAP domain in order to align ownership levels for their HANA migration.
ControlBase is there to document the actual controls or logical business rules used to audit the data and control the data maintenance. Allow us to demo these to show you why ControlBase is separate but complementary to the data standards.
Q: Is it possible to alter the Out of Box (OoB) views of the standards?
A: Yes. RuleBase is intended to offer a robust starting point for how standards are viewed, but its understood that views may need to be altered to support additional or combined tabs for the business, different content and new content on any given tab based on how your business views the priorities for the standards. That said we strongly suggest that as much commonality as possible be maintained across the domains as having a common view of standards has many benefits.
Q: Are the workflows for managing standards and collaborating on content included?
A: Basic workflows are included and are, of course, built using the standard ServiceNow workflow application. We cannot predict how you would want to work your collaborations in advance, so managing basic workflows is something we can train stewards to adapt to meet your needs if needed. We are there to assist in customization as required in particular in the beginning, but over time the super steward role or the enterprise steward role should be in charge of adapting the workflows
Q: How is content loaded into RuleBase?
A: Content can be mass loaded with configured loading programs as is standard ServiceNow import sets, it can be loaded with ServiceNow Ad Hoc mass loading functions and there are a variety of ways that individual fields can be mass changed all using ServiceNow standard functions. There is nothing new to learn that is not standard ServiceNow functionality. Today we do not link to SAP or other ERPs although SOAP and REST APIs exist for that. We can assist your internal resources in making those links.
Q: Does any content come with RuleBase OoB?
A: There are three kinds of content in RuleBase: Reference data for the standard itself, the content for the standard and in addition there are SAP reference data tables preconfigured to accept key SAP reference tables. RuleBase is delivered with the reference data using standard terminology and can be used OoB or adapted to your company’s vocabulary with minimal effort. For standards, we “ship” with only demo data based on a few SAP fields, but we can deliver separately >2000 SAP Master data record “stubs” with the standard SAP technical metadata and SAP background if interested. For the SAP Reference (or “T-Tables”) we primarily include the key blank tables but some tables have demo data. Loading these tables from SAP is relatively easy. As these are typically customized for each SAP implementation, we do not provide this data from standard SAP, but are happy to assist in extract and loading where there is interest in exposing the T-Table under allowed values in the standard.
Q: Metadata both hard and soft / technical and business, is still data that needs to be managed for quality. How is the content in RuleBase managed for quality?
A: A combination of standard data governance best practice and RuleBase/ServiceNow functionality is used including review and grading of standards and dashboard that communicate the state of the standards by domain and owner et al. Allow us to show you in a demo.
Q: Does RuleBase primarily use the logical, physical or other data model?
A: Time and again we have found that setting the data standard at the physical model brings clarity over the technical metadata, ownership and other aspects of the standard itself. Using the physical data file as the basis for standards removes much of the strategy and governance ambiguity plus the loss of precision that comes when the logical model is used as the base level. But while we use the physical data element to define the record in RuleBase, we also provide how it fits into the higher level logical models allowing for search to be conducted either way.
Q: How is Data Lineage covered?
A: RuleBase is not a metadata “discovery tool”, it is for displaying the “hard and soft” technical and business metadata and additional content to the enterprise in a single source of truth for data elements / fields. RuleBase is defined at the physical data model exactly because lineage is important to physically document. Each data standard has attributes for Systems of Record as well as source system and each of these can be easily linked to tie the data use strategies back to the system of record.
Q: How is data lineage "discovered" if RuleBase is just for documenting?
A: There are excellent programs that are pure discovery programs that can seek out lineage in Transactional data back to Master Data for any given system. Some of these can be “leased” for just the limited time needed for the enterprise analysis and to baseload RuleBase. This analysis is much harder when tracing Master Data across multiple platforms in particular when there is manual intervention involved. For example: when manually translating a material spec from a PLM system into multiple materials and finished goods in SAP. This information may already be documented in your data architecture programs and all that is required is to expose it to the business with RuleBase or it may exist only in unstructured documentation. Either way we can work with you to determine the best approach.