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As part of the SAP S/4HANA Business Partner (Central Master Data) development team, we come across many concerns during the migration from ERP to SAP S/4HANA. It is vital to understand the business partner approach before migrating to SAP S/4HANA. This blog attempts to give you the latest information on business partner approach, customer/supplier integration, and conversion process. This blog is also inspired from the top simplification list items.

Business Partner Approach

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

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

  • A legal entity is represented with one Business Partner.
  • Business Partner allows maintenance of multiple addresses with corresponding address usages.
  • In classical transactions, one customer can only be associated to one account group. But in Business Partner, multiple roles can be associated to the same Business Partner.
  • Maximal data sharing and reuse of data which lead to an easier data consolidation.
  • General Data available for all different Business Partner roles, specific data is stored for each role.
  • Maintenance of multiple relationships to the same Business Partner.
  • Maintenance of Time Dependency at different sub-entities roles, address, relationship, bank data etc.

Customer Supplier Integration (CVI)

There are redundant object models in the traditional ERP system. Here the vendor (now, supplier) master and customer master is used. The (mandatory) target approach in SAP S/4HANA is the Business Partner Approach. Customer Supplier Integration is a perquisite to move to SAP S/4HANA.

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

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

Changes in Business Process 

Only SAP Business Suite customer with Customer/Supplier integration in place can move to SAP S/4HANA, on-premise(Conversion approach). It is recommended but not mandatory that BuPa ID and Customer ID/Vendor ID are the same.

The user interface for SAP S/4HANA is transaction BP. There is no specific user interface for customer/supplier like known from SAP Business Suite (the specific SAP GUI transactions like XD01, XD02, XD03 or VD01, VD02, VD03/XK01, XK02, XK03 or MK01, MK02, MK03 etc. are not available in SAP S/4HANA on-premise)

Transaction not available in SAP S/4HANA on-premise edition FD01, FD02, FD03, FD06, FD0
FK01, FK02, FK03, FK06
MK01, MK02, MK03, MK06, MK12, MK18, MK19,
V-03, V-04, V-05, V-06, V-07, V-08, V-09, V-11, V+21, V+22, V+23
VD01, VD02, VD03, VD06
XD01, XD02, XD03, XD06, XD07
XK01, XK02, XK03, XK06, XK07

For further information on the modified functionalities and features, refer to SAP S/4HANA Product Assistance > Cross Components > Central Master Data > SAP Business Partner.


  1. Whether the Business Partner ID and Customer-ID /Vendor ID should be the same in the S/4HANA System?  The keys for a smooth synchronization of the ERP customer/vendor into the SAP S/4HANA system with the business partner as the leading object are beside Business Partner Know-How also consistent customer/supplier data and valid and consistent customer/supplier and Business Partner customizing entries. For this reason, the customer/supplier data has to be cleaned up before it can be converted into the SAP S/4HANA Business Partner.

  2. Preparation Pre-Checks and clean-up customer/vendor data in the ERP System (SAP Notes: 2211312, 2210486, 2216176)

  3. Synchronization Done via Synchronization Cockpit. Open SAP Note 2265093 and refer to the attached BP_Conversion Document.pdf > Chapter 4. Convert Customer/Supplier Data into Business Partner . 
  4. Conversion Conversion Process must be triggered according to the BP_Conversion Document.pdf that is attached to SAP Note 2265093.
  5. Business Partner Post Processing  The customer/supplier transformation is bidirectional. After successful S/4HANA conversion process, you have to activate the post processing from direction Business Partner to Customer /Supplier.

Industry Specific Actions

IS-OIL Specific Actions:

  • In S/4HANA all the IS-OIL specific fields (including customer BDRP data fields) have 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 and vendors assigned to Retail sites are not handled by CVI synchronization (MDS_LOAD_COCKPIT) on SAP ERP as described in this note, but by a specific migration process during SAP S/4HANA conversion. See SAP Note 2310884 for more information.


Additional Information

  • SAP Note 2265093 – Business Partner Approach
  • SAP Note 1923393 – Contact Person Synchronization
  • SAP Note 2399368 – Cockpit Excel Upload
  • SAP Note 2363892 – Business Partner as one legal entity
  • SAP Note 2336018 – BP S4HANA : Suppress Mandatory BP field
  • SAP Note 2345087 – Missing values in required entry fields cause posting termination
  • SAP Note 2400445 – Customer Company Data – Deletion/archiving/block not visible in BP transaction
  • SAP Note 2349671 – Supplier Company Data – Deletion/archiving/block not visible in BP transaction
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  1. Paul Hardy

    Ever since I first encountered SAP in 1997, every single (English speaking) person on every project, when first introduced to SAP was puzzled as to why suppliers were called “vendors”. It is a valid English word, but went out of popular usage round about the end of the middle ages.

    I always presumed it was an incorrect translation from German to English. Well correct from a technical perspective, but not a colloquial one.

    For example an (English) friend one tried to ask some people on the dock in Greece (in Greek) what time a ship sailed. They well about laughing and then told him what he had actually said was “Sailors, pray tell me what time does the Galley set sail?”. Once again bang on correct in a technical sense, but not how someone would phrase it in the modern world. I have a horrible feeling when I speak German what I say comes out sounding like that as well, and people are too polite to tell me,

    Anyway, after 20 years people have grudgingly come around to calling suppliers “vendors” only to be told now you have to call them suppliers, as they should have been from day one. I find the situation very humorous indeed.

    Now, the logical next step would be to have a look at some other weirdo SAP translations.

    Maybe “ship-to” could be “delivery address”? Is that too radical? I can also say that prior to the advent of SAP I cannot imagine that the most popular way in English to describe a customer would have been “sold to”, apart from maybe a few hundred years back when you would say “Good Gentlemen, I tell ye verily, yea, on this day of our lord the sixteenth of august 1643 I did in faith have three score bales of hay which I sold to Good Farmer Jones”.

    Hence Farmer Jones can be referred to as the “sold to”.

    Cheersy Cheers





  2. Yuveer Popat

    Hi Sonia,

    Thanks for the sharing this wonderful blog.

    I noticed that certain transactions codes are not available in S/4HANA as per the list above (for e.g. XK03 – Display Supplier), however i find that these transaction code are in fact available and working at my client who runs on-premise S/4HANA. Why would this be the case?



    1. Joachim Rees

      Hi Yuveer,

      XK03 is “working” in a way, that it let’s you fill out then initial screen – but once you proceed, it will redirect to transaction “BP” – just like the other old transactions do.
      I consider this a nice, helpful service (as opposed to just giving an error message).

      When I first came across SAP S/4HANA, I had similar experiences, when your’ interested you can read them here:



  3. Andreas Zschimmer

    Hi Sonia,

    thanks for the overview!

    I have a question regarding the BP model going forward in the context of a MDG 9.1 functionality announcement:

    The SAP MDG 9.1 functionality announcement describes that now a single Business Partner can have multiple (parallel active) addresses which can be assigned to its connected ERP objects (multiple assigned customer and vendor objects can have different addresses).

    Does this “multiple parallel active addresses” functionality also work in S/4 1709 or not yet?

    This would be a major step forward, since currently, if a legal entity represented by a BP has 2 addresses, 2 BPs (one per address) would be required – resulting in duplication and manual synchronization of BP naming and other BP-level data.




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