What are global data types?
Enterprise services offer revolutionary possibilities for reuse of services, but this revolution comes with challenges and responsibilities. One of the most challenging issues is making sure that the data the services are moving around and managing is the same, and that task is the mission of global data types. The easiest way to understand the value of global data types is to think of how you must conduct business without them.
Let's imagine a service that offers the ability to look up the credit score of a consumer based on the consumer's name, address, and Social Security number. If the service required a name that has three fieldsone each for last name, first name, and middle initialbut a service consumer that was calling that service had only one field for name that had the entire name in it, some work would have to be done. Either the service consumer would have to parse the name into three fields, or the service would have to change to accept only one name. In practice, the code required to do this sort of translation could be lengthy and error prone.
Global data types are designed to avoid all of this by setting forth one standard way for common types of information to be represented. If everyone uses global data types, then all this nasty translation coding can be avoided. SAP's approach to global data types is to use standards for data set forth by international standards organizations as a starting point, and extending them as needed.