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Author's profile photo Ajai J Valiathan

Problem statement – Product or Material?

In the past of software development at SAP, some areas use both terms Material and Product as synonyms – some use Product, some use Material. However, with development of S/4HANA both terms are aligned with their main meaning in the industry.

So, often there raises this question: Material or Product. In short, in S/4 world it’s Product. Thus, for Master Data Material/Product Maintenance, the reference Fiori App is “Manage Product Master Data”.

The SAP Object Type definition of Material below:

Material – a tangible product such as a sell-able article, packaging, auxiliary material and expendable supplies.

Product – a commodity that is the object of the business of a company and serves to create value for this company. A product can be tangible or intangible. A product can contain other products, or belong to another product, for example, display or gift sets. A product can have relationships to other products or objects.

We use the term product in S/4HANA Master Data Management to refer to any object that includes products, materials, articles, and services.

Due to the huge efforts involved, it will not be possible to change all the existing terms from material to product. The general standard that we follow in S/4HANA master data management is that for the new apps we refer to the term product, and in the backend, we continue to have references to materials. In addition to this, in the new apps, we now refer to material type as product type and material group as product group. Under the product type, we now have a new type SERV to refer to services.

Based on the context of the usage, application areas can determine the terminology to be used.


The CDS View I_Material has been created as the first VDM representation of table MARA that is the Business Suite master data table that represents Products. About 6 Months after that, this has been corrected by creation of I_Product, and I_Material has been deprecated (no deprecation annotation existing then), and development requests have been fulfilled in I_Product only. That view should have been used instead of I_Material since 2014. Unfortunately, most applications have started their development between both.

VDM process was not yet in place and before the central decision to go with the term ‘Product’ was taken in a S/4HANA Program Steering Meeting.

Applications agreed that the target architecture uses only Product. Material can only be used in user-facing UIs, where the term is established, or where the subject defines exclusively a tangible material.

As long as there is no reasonable filter on underlying table MARA for both implementations, that can distinguish the material from the non-material products, any implementation (model) that is named material is wrong per definition and may lead to false expectations.

Challenges of current implementation

There are two main challenges for Material views:

Violation of Principle of One: Similar implementations occur in parallel. Multiple implementations are available that serve (at least for tangible materials) the same reason.

Broken Semantics: The view of Material returns instances, that do not represent Materials, but Services.

Wrong expectations to returned instances are the main reason, why a release of Material would be challenging for customer data consistency.


There are – for historical reasons – many occurrences of Material in today’s model and implementation, that shall be transformed to Product.

I_Product is fully available, and customer released since several releases and can be used for all use cases of product including all past and existing occurrences of table MARA.

The usage is focusing on CDS views and derived artifacts. Legacy objects that have been existing prior to S4/HANA are not subject of this transformation.

General Development Guideline

The general recommendation for new applications is to adopt the term Product on the UIs and use CDS views I_Product* instead of I_Material*.

Current Implementation

Several views exist that are based on CDS view I_Material (*). There are applications existing that are already building fully upon I_Product (*).

New development of features happens only in I_Product (*).


Start of transformation from Material to Product can be done without external prerequisite. The views of Product support all features of fields and associations of Material and can be used for all usages (renamed to fit terminology). But as the using views may be used, too, (either by other views or by other technologies), the artifacts cannot be simply replaced; there is no renaming in CDS, rename always means delete-and-create).

Therefore, the ‘Product’ fields and associations can be added in CDS Views next to ‘Material’.

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      Author's profile photo Sandeep Kumar
      Sandeep Kumar

      Great blog and provides lot of clarity on product/material debate.

      Author's profile photo Amith Nair
      Amith Nair

      Very Neatly Crafted! Thanks for sharing!
      Joanna Qiu I have seen questions from you pertaining to Product and Material in past. Worth noting it 🙂

      Author's profile photo Anup Nair
      Anup Nair

      Well Explained!

      Author's profile photo Ajai J Valiathan
      Ajai J Valiathan
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you all!

      Author's profile photo Enda Fennelly
      Enda Fennelly

      Nice blog Ajai . good to know the history behind it !

      Author's profile photo Priyank Kumar Jain
      Priyank Kumar Jain

      good information, didn't know about this 🙂

      Author's profile photo Sai Giridhar Kasturi
      Sai Giridhar Kasturi

      I like the reasoning and the history behind the transformation. great post.

      Author's profile photo Eric Yu
      Eric Yu

      Thanks so much for sharing this.

      Author's profile photo Vijayendra Tiwari
      Vijayendra Tiwari

      Thanks for the detailed explanation!

      Author's profile photo Subhash Pandit
      Subhash Pandit



      We are trying to create new material type which will have only Basic data view. So, for new material type we only selected Basic data view. This is reflecting correctly if checked with MM01 but when checking on Fiori App Manage Product Master Data, we are getting additional views like Product Compliance, Components, Warehouse management. We tried a lot with changing material type settings as well as Screen sequence settings available in Logistic general material master but no impact on Fiori app screen sequence.

      Please help with expert advice on this. We just need basic data view in Manage Product Master Data app.




      Author's profile photo Ajai J Valiathan
      Ajai J Valiathan
      Blog Post Author

      Please raise an incident in LO-MD-MM component.

      Author's profile photo Subhash Pandit
      Subhash Pandit

      Fiori App Manage Product Master Data - View selection. | SAP Community