Frequently asked questions
WHY DO I NEED SAFYR AND WHERE IS IT USED?
If you need to understand how to find the right data within your packaged ERP or CRM system to help you with an Information Management project, then Safyr is the only practical way to achieve this without calling on your application implementation or support team, engaging expensive external consultants or spending time trying to find it manually.
Safyr is commonly used with the following data or information management projects:
- Data Catalog
- Data Governance
- Enterprise Metadata Management
- Data Warehouse, Business Intelligence and Analytics
- Data Migration
- Data Integration
- Master Data Management
- Data Modeling
- Enterprise Architecture
Content from Safyr is shared with a broad range of products and formats.
Metadata in Safyr Subject Areas can be shared with a variety of different software products. These include:
- Collibra Data Catalog
- Informatica Enterprise Data Catalog (EDC)
- ASG Data Intelligence
- SAP PowerDesigner
- IBM IDA
- System Architect
They can also be exported in the following formats:
- Silwood Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD)
- Silwood Compare (to permit comparison between whole or partial data models of the same application)
- Silwood Reporting (XLS)
WHAT IS THE COMPETITION TO SAFYR?
Safyr has no direct competitors. Its features and capabilities for making packaged application metadata discoverable and usable are unique. Other traditional approaches include:
- Asking internal specialists who may not have the time to devote to your question, may not fully understand the context of the query or may inadvertently give you the wrong answer leading to rework and delay.
- Hiring external consultants who may or may not be familiar with your system and who are very unlikely to be aware of customisations you have made. In addition, once they have finished their work for you they may not available.
- Reading documentation which may not be available, up to date or reflect customisations.
- Searching the internet for relevant data models. This is fraught with danger as there is a good possibility that the model will either contain its own customisations from the standard package or your instance has been customised from the standard.
- Using connectors and templates. Many data integration and BI vendors provide links to packaged applications, however typically they require you to know what you are looking for and where it is before you start.
Template based solutions are a good starting point, however their value will depend on whether the version of the application is the same as yours, how customised your application is and of course whether a template exists for what you are working on. Even so, there would be a need to compare what is in the template to what is in your system.
WHY CAN’T I REVERSE ENGINEER MY APPLICATION WITH A DATA MODELLING TOOL?
In theory that will work, but the Table and Column names will be those in the ‘physical’ database, not the ‘logical’ names that describe what each table/column is for. Also there will be no relationships defined, as these are enforced by the application, not the database. Finally, even if you could make sense of the physical names and somehow determine the relationships between tables the sheer number of tables involved would make the model unusable. For example, an SAP application will have in excess of 90,000 tables making use of a data modeling tool completely inpractical. Even a relatively small enterprise Salesforce application will have several hundred tables. These are too large for a data model to be of any value.
WHAT WILL I NEED TO DO TO INSTALL SAFYR?
Safyr uses a database (typically Oracle, SQL Server or DB2) to store the metadata it extracts from the ERP (this is called the Safyr repository). So the installation steps are: Install the Safyr software Create a new database or schema for the Safyr repository Configure the Safyr software to communicate with the repository Connect to the ERP to extract the metadata. Download the Safyr documentation for free.
HOW DOES SAFYR EXTRACT METADATA FROM AN ERP?
For SAP systems including SAP BW and SAP on HANA, Safyr uses an ABAP function to extract the metadata. These functions are certified by SAP. For Salesforce, Safyr uses the Salesforce metadata API. For the packaged applications from Oracle which are supported, Safyr uses SQL calls to extract the metadata from the ERP data dictionary. In all cases, only a small number of ERP ‘data dictionary’ tables are accessed to provide a full picture of the ERP system.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A NEW VERSION OF THE PACKAGE IS RELEASED?
Safyr retrieves metadata from the Data Dictionary tables of each supported application. These tables do not normally change in structure from release to release. When a new version of an application is installed, its metadata can be loaded into Safyr, simply be doing another re-extraction. Safyr also offers capabilities to compare full or partial repositories containing metadata from the same application. This will help you to understand differences between versions or instances.
DOES SAFYR EXTRACT CUSTOMIZED TABLES?
Safyr extracts metadata from the application Data Dictionary tables. Using this approach, will include any new or changed tables developed by the customer.
WHY CAN’T I REVERSE ENGINEER MY ERP WITH A CASE TOOL?
That will work, but the Table and Column names will be those in the ‘physical’ database, not the ‘logical’ names that describe what each table/column is for. And there will be no relationships defined, as these are enforced by the application, not the database. Only by looking at the proprietary data dictionary of the ERP can a useful, logical view of the ERP be obtained.
THE METADATA IS AVAILABLE IN THE ERP SO WHY DO I NEED SAFYR?
Yes, the metadata is contained within the packaged application, however it is not in a readily accessible or easy to understand form. In fact, SAP have told customers that the data model for their application is “not available”. Safyr provides powerful search facilities for searching and utilizing metadata that are just not available in the packaged applications. It also has a range of export facilities to create fully detailed models in a range of data modeling tool and Repository environments.
WHAT DATABASES CAN SAFYR USE?
The Safyr Repository can be established in an Oracle, DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase SQLAnywhere or SQLite database.
CAN I SEE THE METADATA IN MY LOCAL LANGUAGE?
This depends on the ERP. If the ERP supports multi-language texts then Safyr can extract the descriptive texts for each object (Table, Field…) in the language(s) of choice.
CAN I USE SAFYR ON OTHER PACKAGES?
Yes, Safyr now has an ‘ETL for Metadata’ capability which means that metadata from other packaged applications can be imported into a repository. Once the process has been completed for one instance of the source application, it can be repeated for other instances. For example, Safyr can now import metadata from Microsoft Dynamics using this mechanism. The value of this exercise will depend on the quality of the metadata itself. Please contact Silwood Technology or your normal Safyr reseller for more information.
WHAT BENEFITS CAN I EXPECT?
Reduced risk of project delay or poor data being introduced into the information ecosystem because all metadata can be easily found and used. Increased productivity of up to 90% when comparing source data analysis using Safyr with other methods. Reduced risk of poor data being introduced into the information ecosystem because all metadata can be easily found and used. Faster delivery of Information Management projects because data professionals are in control of finding accurate metadata. Reduced costs because of reduced reliance on other internal and external resources.
WHO ARE SOME CUSTOMERS?
Safyr is used by hundreds of companies to help them deliver Information Management projects more efficiently. Some examples include: ATB, Costco, RS Components, AMD, Hydro Tasmania, RBS, Commscope, Procter & Gamble, BP.
You can learn more about what our customers think about Safyr here.
If you cannot find the answer to your question, please contact us.