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Business Partner Approach in SAP S/4HANA

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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  • 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





    • Hi Paul,

      Out of interest have you ever found out why “JOEL” is used as part of the name in relation to structures and code dealing with Business Partner dialogs? I’ve asked many people in SAP but no one has any idea.



    • Hi Sonia,


      Good Job!

      I have a quick question about the Email functionality for Vendors & Customers.In ECC,For Ex in case of  Email notifications request upon IR;Payment,we have to build custom solution for addressing multiple Emails for same vendor.Is it still a challenge with S4 BP solution as well?




  • 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?



  • 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.



    • Hi Andreas,

      In S/4HANA 1709 using MDG, central governance multiple assignments are available and can be displayed and maintained including the functionality that addresses can be assigned to specific customer and supplier assignments. (the standard assignment will get the standard address).

      Without MDG, using the CMD Fiori Apps for customer and supplier maintenance as well as transaction BP, multiple assignments are not available yet.


      Edit: Multiple assignment feature is available now in CMD Fiori apps (not in transaction bp) from 1809. Please refer to Multiple Assignments of Customers/Suppliers to Business Partners in SAP S/4HANA 1809

      Best regards,


      Tag: Ingo Rothley




    Hi Sonia,

    Thanks for the nice explanation about BP in S/4 HANA,

    Though I have not seen yet the screen of S/4 HANA, I want to know like in ERP system, we maintain the three levels of maintaining the vendor master data- General,purchasing and finance data/bank data. So is it same in S/4 hana on single BP transaction? Or they have different to-code? like we use MK01, FK01 And XK01 in traditional ERP. And also when we talk about multiple addresses of same vendor is possible in S/4 hana so will it be under one account group?

    Thanks and Regards,


    • Hi Ravi,

      Yes you can maintain all Supplier (vendor is supplier in SAP S/4HANA) data levels with T-code BP. Multiple addresses are also supported in SAP S/4HANA.

      Best regards


  • Hi Sonia,

    Thanks for your blog. I would like to ask about KNA1 / LFA1 enhancements (customer appends) and their impact to migration. Will be these fields automatically available in new BUT000 table? What about data conversion? I dont know, if we need to do some steps before SUM processing or after migration (we cannot lose the data from Z fields).

    Thank you very much.


    • Hi Lukas,

      If an ERP system is getting migrated to S/4, you won’t be losing any data. It will be still in KNA1/LFA1 tables in S/4. The data model of KNA1/LFA1 still persists. The data synchronization happens so that the KNA1/LFA1 data get linked with business partner (check pre upgradadation process in the conversion note 2265093).

      Best regards



    Hi Sonia

    In one of the above blogs you mentioned that BP can maintain multiple address and I have been testing BP (S4 Hana 1709) Tcode but I am not seeing how the multiple address can be maintained.  Is this done by creating additional Roles beside FI Vendor, Vendor & GEN?

    • Hi Susan


      Yes you can maintain multiple addresses in transaction BP. But it is not done based on creating additional roles. You can navigate to Address tab and create and maintain more than one (that is standard) address.


      Best regards


  • Hi Sonia,


    We have a very specific requirement of conversion scenario in which, we are converting SAP AFS customer masters to SAP S4 HANA retail Site master and their respective business partners.

    Can you please enlighten us, what could be the best possible approach for this kind of conversion scenario?

    Brief Overview.

    Client is on SAP AFS and we are implementing SAP S4 HANA Retail for a part of retail business, so we need to transfer the master data from AFS to S4, which also includes Retail Customers in AFS to be converted to Sites(Plants) in S4 with their respective business partners.



    Pradnyesh Naik

  • Hi Sonia

    Thank you for sharing this great information.

    Can you please tell me how multiple addresses are visible at purchase order screen as i have a scenario in which vendor have multiple address locations and i need to create PO according to there multiple locations.

    We have SAP S/4HANA 1809

    Thank you in advance.

  • Hi Sonia,


    We have very similar requirement like Zeeshan. Customer wants to use single BP for multiple Vendor codes. But I am not sure how to use different addresses in standard T-codes like VA01.





  • Hello Soniya,

    Thanks for sharing the knowledge. it’s really a good content.

    I have question that if i want to assign more than one ship to party in BP other than the default one then what is the procedure ? What settings needs to be done to achieve this ?

    Thanks in advance.


  • Hi Sonia,

    Thank you for the sharing the clear information on the BP approach.

    I have a question, its more of a clarification if you could help me out. During the pre conversion customising, if I have a customer group as Z001 and vendor group too as Z001, I have to change them to have different naming,  not two can have the same naming, before I assign them to the BP group. is that correct understanding.