The SAP lexicon is fun. Similar or same words commonly describe different things, and different words describe the same or similar thing. As such, speaking precisely requires effort, if not blind faith.
This is particularly true in SAP Retail, where a so-called “Retail Text” was historically applied to rename business objects. Materials became Articles, Plants became Sites, and more.
With S/4HANA, Retail Text is no more. The standard labels Material and Plant appear on screens, not Article and Site. But not consistently.
Business objects aren’t named differently in SAP Retail simply to align with industry-specific jargon. No, as I’ve written in The Essence of SAP Retail Master Data, each are named differently to convey that substantial differences still exist between SAP Retail business objects and their standard counterparts. The words matter.
Is an Article now a Material in S/4HANA? No! What words should we use? One possible answer is: neither Article nor Material. You’re wrong either way!
Some unofficial comments regarding Retail Text:
- In S/4HANA, “Product Master” is the correct wording for Article or Material related master data.
- Unfortunately, not all transactions in S/4HANA have been adapted to this new wording. Therefore, you’ll see a mix of “material” and “article” across certain transactions, depending on whether the transaction comes from MM (then you’ll see Material) or Retail (then you’ll see Article).
There have been attempts to assuage the anxiety of users long-accustomed to Retail terminology in ECC 6.0:
SAP Note 2377816 – S4TWL – Retail Short Text Replacement explains that, for S/4HANA:
- There is no equivalent functionality. It is under evaluation how to provide industry specific terminology in a future release.
- In the meantime, there is a workaround available via SAP Note 2712569 – Retail Term Replacement in S/4 for 1709 ff.
SAP Note 2427386 – Retail Term Replacement in S4 explains the limitations of the “work around” that is the so-called “English for Belize” with language key ‘2E’.
- The workaround does not support FIORI applications.
The reality, for now, is a hodgepodge of terms used across user interfaces and documentation. For example, new Fiori apps seem to use the term “Product.” The workaround doesn’t apply to Fiori. And elsewhere there’s a mix of Material and Article.
What’s more, I’m not aware of any intention to implement Retail text for S/4HANA. The term “Article” is dead … but not quite.
What to do about this — in the here and now — is a topic deserving enterprise-wide consideration. Before considering a workaround, you should consider all of the applications and user interfaces across your S/4HANA landscape (e.g. Retail ERP, CAR, MDG, etc.). There isn’t a practical approach that will make them all the same with respect to labels.
In my opinion, implementing SAP Note 2712569 as a workaround is a partial solution that will amplify confusion. For this reason, I recommend continuing to use standard text (welcome to materials and plants, and pending harmonization).