I have to admit, this question sounds stupid, but the experience I’ve made shows, that there is not always a common understanding about this. So it’s nothing new I want to write about today, it’s just to explain some details.
The main reason for some diffuse areas is the flexibility SAP provides. I guess you have already expected this response …
In general the common sense explanation is that a Contact Person is a Person working for an Organization (Customer or Prospect).
However SAP is very flexible. Different types of Business Partners are supported
Persons could be Accounts (individual Accounts) or Contact Persons. In principle they could also be both. It’s also possible that one Contact Person belongs to several Accounts.
There are 3 criteria classifying a Business Partner as Contact Person
Create the Business Partner as Contact Person via the Create Contact Person application
The Role “Contact Person”
The Relationship “Contact Person for …” the Business Partner has.
At the end the most important criteria to characterize a Contact Person is the relationship “is Contact Person of” a Person has with an Account.
However it is possible to create a Contact Person using the Create-Screen for Contact Persons, but you are not forced to create a Contact Person relationship immediately.
Many customers like this option to create Contact Persons without Relationship – You know this Person works for a company but you do not know for what company.
Impact on Search
Therefore the Search-Page for Contact Persons will not only find Contact Person Relationships but also Contact Persons without Contact Person Relationships.
A side-effect of this flexibility is that you can find this Business Partner in the Search for Contact Persons and in the Search for Accounts.
One Business Partner of type Person can have multiple relationships and therefore if you search for Contact Persons you can also find multiple entries with the same Business Partner ID.
With Note 1117424: Contact Person-role not created for Contact Persons
it is possible to assign the Role “Contact Person” automatically if the Business Partner gets created. This is sometimes useful to better differentiate between Contact Persons and Individual Accounts.
Impact on Merge Functionality
“Is it possible to merge different Contact Persons in CRM Web UI?” Even this question is not that easy as it seams to be.
The answer: You can merge different Contact Persons, but you can’t merge different Contact Person Relationships.
This will be done via the Merge-Functionality for Accounts. In principle you merge two different Individual Accounts and all relationships (also the Relationship “… is Contact Person for”) will get transferred to the Master Account.
The functionality therefore is not available within the Contact Search but the Account Search.
Another option to merge Contact Persons is via the Duplicate Popup for Contact Persons.
The Popup is triggered for the Contact Overview Page if a new Contact Person is created or an existing Contact Person changed.
Features in CRM 7.0
With CRM 7.0 there are two new small but useful features related to the Contact Person.
- Time-dependency of Contact Person Relationship
- Quick-Create of Contact Person
Time-dependency of Contact Person Relationship
Two new Assignment-Blocks are available to see the currently valid Contact Persons and the currently invalid Contact Persons.
Quick-Create of Contact Person
During the creation of an Opportunity, Activity, etc. the user assigns an Account (Customer, Prospect). Now he also wants to assign the related Contact Person but this Contact Person is not yet available in the system. Now it’s easy to create this Contact Person (including the relationship to the current Account) without leaving the Object you are editing.
- Useful Notes:
1381285 – Prefilling of search attr. in the UI (eg. Contact search)
1379134 – Contact search: additional search attribute
1117424 – Contact Person-role not created for Contact Persons
- Video: Quick-Create of Contact Person
- Video: Time-Dependency of Contact Person Relationship
- Blog: Two options you should know to improve the handling of Contact Persons in CRM