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Author's profile photo Vijayalakshmi Rajagopalan

Customer Hierarchy: ECC to CRM

  1. Customer hierarchy – an introduction
  2. Maintaining a customer hierarchy in ECC (Sales and Distribution)
  3. Downloading a customer hierarchy to CRM
    • Initial download
    • Building the hierarchy in CRM
    • Delta download
  4. Common issues and how to resolve them

1. Customer Hierarchy – An Introduction

A customer hierarchy is, very simply, a tree of customers belonging to sales area(s). The nodes of a customer hierarchy are customers belonging to a sales area, whose assignment to the hierarchy is valid for a certain period of time.

Customer hierarchies are typically used in Pricing – it is possible to automatically determine pricing based on condition records assigned to a node or a higher-level node in the hierarchy.

Before maintaining customer hierarchies in ECC, the following have to be set up (in ECC):


a. Organizational Model (Sales Area) Transfer to CRM

Sales areas in ECC should correspond to valid sales areas in CRM, and therefore, an organizational model should exist in CRM which corresponds to the ECC organizational model. For more information regarding this activity, please see: SAP Customizing Implementation Guide > Customer Relationship Management > Master Data > Organizational Management > Data Transfer

b. Download Customers to CRM

The nodes of a customer hierarchy in ECC are customers themselves – when downloaded to CRM, the nodes will then not make any sense if the customers in ECC are not mapped to corresponding business partners in CRM. Therefore, an initial download of adapter object CUSTOMER_MAIN should ideally be performed from ECC to CRM.


c. The Type of Hierarchy

SAP Customizing Implementation Guide > Sales and Distribution > Master Data > Business Partners > Customers > Customer Hierarchy > Define Hierarchy Types. In the standard delivery, the default customer hierarchy type is ‘A’ (Pricing), with a partner function assignment of ‘1A’. (More about partner function assignment, later). 


d. Account Group Assignment

SAP Customizing Implementation Guide > Sales and Distribution > Master Data > Business Partners > Customers > Customer Hierarchy > Assign Account Groups. Since the nodes of a customer hierarchy are customers themselves, it is necessary to make sure that the customers of a specific account group can/cannot be assigned to customers in other account groups


e. Sales Area Assignment

SAP Customizing Implementation Guide > Sales and Distribution > Master Data > Business Partners > Customers > Customer Hierarchy > Assign Sales Areas. Typically, customer hierarchies are created with customers from a few sales areas and then grow as more and more customers from different sales areas are added. Using this customizing activity, it is possible to control which sales areas are relevant for a customer hierarchy, and the link between different sales areas in the hierarchy.


2. Maintaining a customer hierarchy in ECC (Sales and Distribution)

The transaction to maintain a customer hierarchy in ECC is VDH1N. Checking the ‘Limit display to paths’ check-box will display only the structure from the customer entered as input to the root node, ignoring all other nodes in the hierarchy. The master data table which stores the customer hierarchy is KNVH.

3. Downloading a customer hierarchy to CRM

The customer hierarchy supports only an Initial load and a Delta load (in the standard delivery) to SAP CRM.


a. Initial download

Before an initial download is performed, an entry should exist in CRM table CRMATAB for table name = KNVH.

i. Downloading customizing from ECC

The settings made in section 1(d) and 1(e) above have to be downloaded to CRM, which will be used when the hierarchy is downloaded. This is done using the middleware customizing object DNL_CUST_THIT.

ii. Downloading the Customer Hierarchy

Adapter object DNL_BUPA_KNVH is used to download the contents of the customer hierarchy to CRM. A BDoc is not created for the initial download of customer hierarchies. During the download, the contents of CRM table CRM_KNVH_TEMP are deleted and the latest records from KNVH are inserted.

b. Building the downloaded hierarchy

After downloading the hierarchy (i.e., table CRM_KNVH_TEMP is filled with the data from KNVH), the hierarchy has to be reconstructed in CRM. To do this, we use transaction BPH_DNL. When building the hierarchy, it is necessary to make sure that all the relevant sales areas and their parent sales areas are selected. Otherwise, we run the risk of losing some subtrees which are assigned to the same parent sales areas.

c. Delta download

Delta download of hierarchies from ECC to CRM is delivered inactive, and has to be activated manually using maintenance view V_TBH03. Once activated, it is recommended to not deactivate the delta download.


4. Common issues and how to resolve them

a. Request load using adapter object BUPA_KNVH does not fetch any data

A request download of customer hierarchies is not available currently. It is necessary to do an initial load of the hierarchy in case some data from ECC is not present in the CRM system.

b. Error “Node GUID XXX does not exist” while updating a trade promotion

This is caused because the hierarchy node GUIDs in CRM have either been updated with different node GUIDs or are missing from the CRM tree entirely. This over-writing/deletion of node GUIDs happens when running BPH_DNL in CRM (to build the hierarchy tree) without selecting the sales areas for which the tree has to be built and all the corresponding parent sales areas.

c. Changing the validity of a customer/sales area in ECC does not update table CRM_KNVH_TEMP, even though delta is active

Table CRM_KNVH_TEMP is only relevant during an initial load. This table is not updated during a delta – during a delta change, the BP hierarchy tables are updated directly.

[This document will be updated].

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      Author's profile photo Rajanikanth Kristam
      Rajanikanth Kristam

      All steps are mentioned in one place. Nice blog.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Vijayalakshmi R,

      It´s a great entry, but I have a question for bullet 4: Common issues and how to resolve them, letter C....In my scenario the customer hierarchy has been updated in ECC (delta check is inactive in CRM), so I´ve executed the adapter: DNL_BUPA_KNVH to upgrade hierarchies in CRM... Why old nodes remain in hierarchy, how can they be deleted?  The result I was expecting is for the Customer Hierarchy in CRM to be exactly the same as in ECC, but it wasn´t the case.  Can you please advise?  Thank you... Mayte

      Author's profile photo Pugazharasi T
      Pugazharasi T

      Same Case. If you have answer, please share.