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Business Partner (BP) Conversion in SAP S/4HANA®

Contributors: Dr. Babu Joseph

The transformation of customer and vendor master data into Business Partners (BP) is one of the critical parts of the SAP S/4HANA® migration project. And, did we mention it’s mandatory? Therefore, it is essential that proper planning is put in place for the Customer/Vendor Integration (CVI), before SAP S/4HANA is installed. In our latest SAP S/4HANA blog series, we’ve laid out important learnings to keep in mind to ensure a successful Business Partners conversion in SAP S/4HANA.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

First of all, you’ve got to do it. It’s a pre-requisite for the final SAP S/4HANA conversion process. The CVI component in SAP S/4HANA ensures the synchronization between the Business Partner object and Customer/Vendor objects. This integration can be done as a separate subproject or as part of the migration project itself.

4 STEPS TO TRANSFORMATION

SAP laid out an essential four phase approach for the transformation of the customers and vendors to Business Partners.

  1. PREPARATION PHASE – Preparation Phase is for the pre-checks, checking, and maintaining customization for Business Partner. This includes conversion of pre-checks, activation of Business Function, the check of CVI and BP functionality and review and cleanup of vendor data.
  2. SYNCHRONIZATION PHASE – The mapping of customers and vendors to business partners is verified occurs during the Synchronization Phase. This is required to complete the data load in the following phase and review any errors that occur.
  3. CONVERSION PHASE – In this phase, the verified data is loaded. The conversion process is triggered using the Software Update Manager tool.
  4. POST PROCESSING PHASE – The post processing phase includes the activation of post processing for directing Business Partner to Customer/Vendor.

ISSUES TO KEEP IN MIND

There can be a number of issues that can crop up during different phases of the CVI process. One of the most important issues to be considered is the number ranges.

  1. Scenario 1 – If the Customer/Vendor number range does not conflict, you should create Business Partner number as a mirror image.
  2. Scenario 2 – If the Customer/Vendor number range conflicts, then you should create the Business Partner number range to utilize the existing numbers as much as possible.

SAP’s recommendation on this issue is to keep the customer/supplier number the same when converting to Business Partner. If the same number is used for a different customer and supplier, then a different BP number should be used for one of them.

Another issue to be considered during conversion is missing or incomplete customization of tax number categories, industries, and/or address forms. Common master data quality issues include bank account number/control keys, missing account holders, and non-existing tax values.

WHERE IT’S USED

Business Partner is used in a number of different modules including Treasury Management (TRM), Credit Management (FSCM-CR), Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Receivable (AR). Separate transactions used for the maintenance of vendors and customers (XK01, XD01, FK01, FD01, MK01 and VD01 etc.) will not be directly used in SAP S/4HANA. Instead, these transactions will be redirected to transaction BP, which will act as the single point of entry to create, edit and display master data for business partners, customers and vendors.

CONCLUSION

The Customer/Vendor integration is a complex process which requires careful execution. SAP® has provided the necessary tools and direction for the successful transformation. The complexity of the project depends on a number of factors, including the current system version, the volume of the data, and the number ranges used for the customers and vendors. Contact us for more information and best practices on Business Partner conversion on SAP S/4HANA.

For more on SAP S/4HANA, visit our other posts in this series: SAP S/4HANA: Wait or Full Steam Ahead and 3 Ways to Convince Your CFO to Upgrade to S/4HANA?

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