In SAP S/4 HANA, the business partner has become the primary object and single point of entry to maintain supplier (formerly known as Vendor) and customer master data. With this new approach, master data maintenance becomes easier and achieves harmonization among the various business functions of a company. The business partner function brings together the different and diverse business processes a company manages with its partners-all via a single transaction and with a consolidated view of a partner’s data. For example, a business partner can have the role of a supplier (or vendor), a customer, or an employee. The aspects of the Business Partner object are show below
The Business Partner is used for centrally managing master data and is the single point of entry to create, edit, and display master data for business partners, customers, and vendors.
Why Business Partner?
- Data Redundancy: A person can be a Vendor as well as customer, in traditional ERP (ECC) we must create two objects. With business partner single object is only required.
- Multiple Transactions: To create vendor or customer we must go to different transactions. With Business Partner single transaction “BP” is required both objects.
- Centrally managing master data for business partners, customers, and vendors.
Business Partner (BP) Categories
Due to the highly integrated nature of data and information flow in business partners, large amount of data redundancy is eliminated as the basic or general information maintained for a business partner automatically extends to other partner functions. After maintaining a business partner’s general or basic information, a company can maintain or extend the existing business partner general information into one or more of these areas:
In the finance area, a business user maintains specific information such as the company code associated with a business partner (either a vendor or customer). Business controls, such as reconciliation account maintenance, tolerance limits, reminders for payment (due from customers), tax details, legal data, and specific or overall blocking of business partners, are some of the options available in the finance area of a business partner.
A business partner plays a pivotal role in the procurement processes of the MM area of SAP S/4HANA. Some of the business controls available for maintaining or extending purchasing information include purchasing organization, order currency, payment terms, dunning procedures, average delivery time of a product by a business partner, automatic purchase order (PO) creation, evaluated receipt settlement, and confirmation controls.
Sales and Distribution
A business partner plays a central role in the sales, delivery, and billing processes of the SD area of SAP S/ 4HANA. Some of the business controls available while maintaining or extending sales information include a sales area (which is comprised of sales organization, distribution channel, and division), order currency, payment terms, dunning procedures, shipping, and billing.
Business Partner (BP) Roles
The contrast between how ECC defined Vendors and Customers and how S/4HANA uses Business Partner to support the same is show below.
Business Partner Elements
- BP Role: Business partner role is a Function that a business partner takes on, depending on a business transaction (e.g., Customer / Vendor).
- BP Role Category: Multiple BP Roles can be assigned to a BP Role Category, with one role always acting as the standard role per role category.
- BP Role Grouping: BP Role Groupings are used to group BP Roles. (This grouping appears in the BP role drop down in transaction BP with suffix X. When this grouping is used for BP Role creation, in turn creates all the BP roles assigned to it.)
- BP Number Range: Assign number range to Business Partner Grouping which get generated while creating BP.
- Master Data (CVI) Synchronization: While creating Business Partner customer Number / Sold to Party Numbers are automatically generated and link BP with customer master.
- Account Group: The account group is a classifying feature within customer master records.
- Which screens and fields are necessary for entering master data.
- Whether you can or must make an entry in these fields
- How master record numbers are assigned (externally by you or internally by the system)
- Weather business partner is standard customer or one time customer
- Partner function: To define the rights and responsibilities of each business partner in a business transaction. You assign partner functions when you create a master record for a business partner.
- Partner refer to parties with whom you do business . Each Business partner has a specific role. E.g Sold to party
- While creating Business partner user will give Groupings in Transaction BP
- BP Grouping & Customer Account Groups have to be assigned in CVI integration in IMG
Business Partner / Customer
A Customer is a Business Partner to which we sell or deliver goods and services. A Business Partner can be a Customer and a Vendor simultaneously if, for example, your customer also supplies goods to you.
Customer’s Basic information
A customer master holds information about the Customer such as their name, address, bank details, tax details and delivery and billing preferences.
Usage of Information
This customer information we use & store in transactions such as sales orders, deliveries, and invoices. Some Customer information is specific to a company (known as company code) or sales unit (known as sales area) within your organization.
Business Partner / Vendor
A Vendor (or supplier) is a Business Partner which delivers and sells goods and services to your organization. A Business Partner can be a Vendor and a Customer at the same time if, for example, your Vendors also buy goods from you.
Vendor’s Basic Information
A Vendor master holds information about the Vendor such as their name, address, bank details, tax details and billing preference.
Vendor’s Data Usage
We use and store this Vendor information in transactions such as purchase orders, goods receipts and Vendor Invoices. Although, some Vendor information is specific to a company (known as company code) or purchasing unit (known as purchasing organization) within your organization.
Advantages of using the Business Partner
- A legal entity is represented by one Business Partner
- One Business Partner can perform multiple roles eg Customer and Vendor/Supplier
- General data is available for all different Business Partner roles, specific data is stored for each role
- Maximal data sharing and reuse of data leads to an easier data consolidation
- Different Business Partner Categories- Organization, Person, Group
- Flexible Business Partners can have multiple addresses
- Time-dependency on different sub-entities example roles, speech, relationships, bank data etc.
- Provide harmonized architecture across application