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S/4 HANA Business Partner – Partner Function Vs Partner Relationships

In S/4 HANA, the Business Partner (BP) model integrates the customer master and vendor master data under the Partner umbrella.

This gives the advantage of using the BP model for both customer relationship management and the ECC partner function features for transactions.

The Business Partner model is from SAP CRM whilst the Customer Master & Vendor Master model is from ECC.

The integration allows for performing both the CRM and ECC related activities in a single platform.

One feature that is interesting to note is the Partner Functions and Partner Relationships.

In S/4 HANA Customer Vendor Integration (CVI) the CRM business partner model is combined with the customer/vendor master model of ECC.

In this document I would like to provide some general information on the partner relationship and the partner functions that might come handy when looking for data in the system and choosing one over the other depending on your requirement.

 

BP Relationships

 

This stems from the SAP CRM Business Partner Model where a partner relationship is established between two Business Partners based on a given criteria. A very common relationship in BP is Contact Persons (CP). There are however other relationships that can be applied like

“BBP002 – Has the Invoicing Party”

The table TBZ9 and TBZ9A contains the list of partner relationships configured for BP.

 

Tables pertaining to BP Relationship are listed below

Table Name Description
BUT050 BP relationships/role definitions: General data
TBZ9A BP Relationship Categories: Texts – Check table
TBZ9 BP relationship categories – Check Table
BUT051 BP Relationship: Contact Person Relationship
BUT052 BP Relationship: Addresses
BUT053 BP Relationship: Company Interest

 

 

In the SAP GUI Partner Relationships can be assigned as follows

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choose the required partner relationship from the relationship categories list. Then assign the corresponding partner ID in the relationship field as shown in Fig 4 below.

 

The partner relationship definition screen will look like the one shown below.

 

Any additional options with regards to the contact person can be added in this screen before saving the data.

 

The configured contact person relationship upon confirming options will appear as shown below

 

The partner Functions on the other hand is defined specific to Vendor or Customer level that is specific to the role of the partner i.e. Customer or Vendor. In the below example a partner function assignment for the TEST PARTNER created as a customer is shown.

 

 

 

There are several differences between Partner Relationship and Partner Function. A key distinction is that the relationship is independent of the Partner’s setup as a customer or vendor.

 

In the Customer Vendor Integration (CVI) feature of the S/4 HANA Business Partner model, the same partner can be extended to both customer and vendor roles thus making it possible to have entries in KNA1 as well as LFA1 tables apart from BUT000 table.

 

A key factor to note is that the partner function of the customer or supplier business partner is used in transaction operations like Sales Order creation, Purchase Order Invoicing etc.,

 

 

7 Comments
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    • Yes, The Role is the BU_GROUP that will be assigned to the partner as the customer role. You will need both the company code and sales BU_GROUP assignments for the customer. The partner roles assigned get saved in BUT100 table for each role assignment you choose for the partner.

       

  • “A key factor to note is that the partner function of the customer or supplier business partner is used in transaction operations like Sales Order creation, Purchase Order Invoicing etc.”

    Clear clarification! Partner function defines the relationship between business objects (e.g. a sales order) and partners; while partner relationship defines relationships between partners literally. Is there any plan for SAP to use a generalized relationship to unify partner function and partner relationship?

    Obviously, partner function has both similarity with BP role and partner relationship; as far as I understand, partner function can also be regarded as scenario-specific (in the scenario of a business object) partner role the related partner. To expand this topic, is it feasible to unify the use of business partner role, partner relationship and partner function? (just a possibility discussion from technical point of view)

    Thanks!

    • This is a good point. The three have specific purpose.

      Roles define the specific partner attributes and front-end views. So a partner without assignment of the specific customer or supplier role, the partner functions won’t take effect. As you mentioned the partner functions are specific for transactions related to the partner while the role is what opens the partner to the specific options.

      If considered as a hierarchy BP Role takes precedence over Partner Functions and BP Relationships. When we tested a supplier created in the ME21N to create a purchase order, we identified that the partner function definition of a supplier’s billing, shipping and delivery is important over relationship. Relationship seems to take effect only after the transaction document is created (sales order or purchase order).

      Since the CVI approach combines the ECC customer/vendor features with that of a CRM partner, I think it will be possible to unify the three but will take a lot of configurations in place prior to making it work seamlessly. Maybe part of a future SAP release…..

      kind regards

      Raghu

    • Hi

      The standard templates for EN Customer and EN_Vendor from 1610 and 1709 don’t seem to have the relationships tab as default.

      The standard templates contain worksheets focused on customer master and vendor master objects from ECC. When loaded, the customer or vendor file will create the partner in the background anyway but it is not explicitly available in the standard template.

      if you need to leverage on this, it is best to create your own cockpit object using LTMOM. It will be better if you have version 1709 for this purpose instead of 1610 as the LTMOM features are limited in 1610 version.

      The RDS template using SAP Data Services for CVI does have the relationship option built-in. So if you have on-premise S4HANA, then you can opt to use the SAP Data Integrator free license to leverage the RDS template for data migration.

      kind regards

      Raghu