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Business Partner Approach in SAP S/4HANA

As part and parcel of the SAP S/4HANA Business Partner (Central Master Data) development team, one does come across many of the concerns during the process of migration from ERP to SAP S/4HANA. It is also essential to understand the business partnership approach before one goes on to SAP S/4HANA.

Business Partner Approach

In SAP S/4HANA, Business Partner is indeed the leading object and single point of entry to maintain Business Partner, Customer, and Supplier (formerly known as Vendor) master data.

This is also to ensure the ease of master data maintenance and to also achieve harmonization between them. As compared to classical ERP transactions, maintenance of Customer and Supplier master data via Business Partner has many advantages:

  • A legal entity is no doubt represented by one Business Partner.
  • Business Partner does allow the maintenance of multiple addresses with corresponding address usages.
  • In classical transactions, one customer can also only be associated with one account group. But in Business Partner there are multiple roles that can be associated with the same Business Partner.
  • Maximal data sharing as well as reuse of data which does lead to an easier data consolidation.
  • General Data available for all different Business Partner roles, there is specific data is stored for each role.
  • Maintenance of several types of relationships to the same Business Partner.
  • Maintenance of Time Dependency at various sub-entities roles, address, relationship, bank data etc.

Customer Supplier Integration (CVI)

There are also redundant object models in the traditional ERP system. Here the vendor, who is now, supplier master and also customer master, is made use of. The mandatory target-based approach in SAP S/4HANA is the Business Partner Approach. Customer Supplier Integration is also a prerequisite to move to SAP S/4HANA.

Business Partner is also now capable of centrally managing master data for business partners, customers as well as suppliers. With the current development, BP is also the single point of entry in order to create, edit, as well as display master data for business partners, customers, as well as suppliers.

It is also planned to check the introduction of the respective CVI in the pre-checks and the technical Conversion procedure of SAP S/4HANA on-premise edition 1511, 1610, and 1709. It is a system whereby the customer/supplier integration is not in a place that will also be declined for the transition.

Changes in Business Process

Only the SAP Business Suite customer with the respective Customer/Supplier integration in place can move on to SAP S/4HANA, on-premise (Conversion approach).

It is also recommended but not actually mandatory that BuPa ID and Customer ID/Vendor ID are the very same.

The user-based interface for the SAP S/4HANA is transaction BP. There is indeed no specific user interface for customer/supplier like known from SAP Business Suite.

  1. Whether the respective Business Partner ID and Customer-ID /Vendor ID should also be the same in the S/4HANA System? The keys for such a smooth synchronization of the ERP customer/vendor into the SAP S/4HANA system with the given business partner as the leading object are beside Business Partner Know-How is also consistent customer/supplier data and valid and consistent customer/supplier and also Business Partner customizing entries. For this reason, the customer/supplier data has to be cleaned up before it can also be converted into the SAP S/4HANA Business Partner.
  2. Preparation Pre-Checks and clean-up customer/vendor data in the ERP System.
  3. Synchronization Donevia SynchronizationCockpit.
  4. Conversion Process must be triggered according to the BP_Conversion Document.pdf.
  5. Business Partner Post Processing: The customer/supplier transformation is bi-directional. After the success of S/4HANA conversion process, one has to activate the post-processing from the direction of Business Partner to Customer /Supplier.

Industry Specific Actions

IS-OIL Specific Actions:

  • In S/4HANA all of the IS-OIL specific fields (including customer BDRP data fields) have also been adapted as per the new Framework of BP.
  • The IS-OIL Fields related to Vendor and Customer now have been moved to BP under the roles FLCU01 (Customer), FLVN01 (Vendor).

Retail Sites Specific Action:

  • Customers, as well as vendors that have been assigned to Retail sites, are not also handled by CVI synchronization

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