How MDG-BP/S/C and CVI can help preparing for S/4HANA

Concept

If you want to do effective Master Data management, you want to have consistent high-quality master data, which is the main driver for your entire organization’s business processes.
In traditional ERP, there are object models, like Customer and Vendor Master, that consist of redundant data. Storing redundant data (e.g. addresses) is not in line with the concept of effective Master Data management. To remove this redundancy, SAP has introduced the “Business Partner first paradigm” as one of their simplifications in S/4HANA.

Initially, the SAP Business Partner concept is not new and was not invented with S/4HANA. It was already available in classic SAP ECC systems for the integration with CRM and SRM systems. Now it has become the single point of entry to centrally maintain Master Data for Business Partners, Customers and Vendors.

Principles of the Business Partner (BP) concept:

·         General data is shared across different roles.

·         BP has a category: Organization, Person or Group.

·         One BP can perform multiple roles (e.g. Customer and Vendor).

·         One BP can have multiple time-dependent addresses with corresponding address usages.

·         Often time-dependent attributes and relationships.

·         Maintenance of multiple relationships to the same BP.

·         Rarely contains business related data directly, rather via links (e.g. roles, contact persons, …).

·         Provides a harmonized architecture across applications.

·         the Customer/Vendor Integration (CVI) component ensure the synchronization between the BP object and the Customer/Vendor objects.

Aside from the mandatory Business Partner target approach in S/4HANA, it is also the approach used in both SAP Master Data Governance (MDG) versions: MDG on S/4HANA as well as MDG on ERP.

Customer/Vendor management in S/4HANA

There is no specific User Interface anymore for Customer/Vendor maintenance, as known in the SAP Business Suite (the specific transactions like XD01, XD02, XD03 or VD01, VD02, VD03/XK01, XK02, XK03 or MK01, MK02, MK03 etc. are not available in SAP S/4HANA).

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The way to maintain Business Partners in S/4HANA is via transaction BP. Nevertheless, this transaction does not offer the possibility of central governance, ensuring optimal data quality, monitoring and remediation of possible data quality issues or consolidation of Master Data for downstream use in business processes or accurate analytics.

Vendor/Customer ↔ Business Partner: CVI concept

The Customer/Vendor Integration (CVI) framework is mandatory for using Business Partner as the leading object in S/4HANA.

CVI synchronizes the redundant data between the synchronization objects in all directions: Business Partner, Customer and Vendor. These directions can be configured via customizing to make sure that dependent objects are created/changed (e.g. Business Partner is created first automatically when a Customer creation is initiated). Technically, the CVI framework will take care of the general BP data as well as the Customer and Supplier specific data.

Due to technical need, the ERP Customer/Vendor specific tables still exist (e.g. Customer IDoc extracts data from Customer ERP tables). Once a BP is created/changed in S/4HANA, CVI will make sure that the relevant Customer (KNxx) and Vendor (LFxx) tables are updated accordingly.

For existing Customers/Vendors, an initial conversion initiative needs to be started to create the related Business Partner entities. Such a conversion initiative will include the following actions:

1.       Customizing set-up for BP and CVI.

2.       Execute the Mass Data Synchronization report.

3.       Resolve errors in the Synchronization Cockpit (e.g. data cleansing).

4.       Re-execute Mass Data Synchronization until all objects are synchronized.

After the initial synchronization, it is still possible to process both Customer/Supplier master records from Business Partner maintenance, as well as maintain data from Customer/Supplier processing to the Business Partner (only on ERP system).

Thanks to Max for writing this article!

For further questions or questions in the field of S/4HANA, CVI or SAP Master Data Governance (MDG) you can contact Wouter Van Peteghem.