Synchronize Master Data Between Customer Master Data and Business Partner

  • by Sivaprasad Ramachendruni, Solution Architect, SAP S/4 HANA, SAP (Financials)
  • September 15, 2008
See how to synchronize master data between a customer and business partner in an SAP ERP system. With this synchronization, you streamline master data, avoid redundancy, and protect master data integrity.
Key Concept

Master data such as products, customers, suppliers, and employees is most important for making business transactions. The SAP system uses the Business Partner (BP) concept in its applications such as Flexible Real Estate Management (RE-FX). Traditional modules such as FI make use of customers. Because you can also define a BP as a customer, you need to create the customer as a business partner for making any customer transactions with the business partner.

You need to integrate customers with business partners when you are using FI along with the components of the SAP ERP system, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), and Advanced Planning and Optimization (APO). In FI, you use AR to manage accounting data for all customers. FI does not use the concept of business partners, instead it uses its own customer master records. Many SAP FI users also use modules such as Flexible Real Estate Management (RE-FX). RE-FX uses SAP Business Partner (BP) functionality. These SAP systems require BPs that are managed as customers in FI and as business partners in other applications.

The benefit of synchronization is that you need not update master records separately. After creating the customer master, the system automatically creates the BP, which then reflects any subsequent change to the customer master record. Due to this, the system maintains master data consistency and avoids duplication. When you refer to a customer as 123, for example, the system uses the same number as the BP throughout the functionality that uses BP functionality.

Customer integration with BP is bi-directional. While the direction for creation of master data is one-sided (either from customer to BP or BP to customer), any subsequent changes to customer master records are reflected in BP and vice versa. It also applies to the company code level. When the customer master data at company code level is changed, BP master data is also changed at company code level, which means that the same BP can have different payment terms for different company codes. The screenprints and the menu paths I show are from ECC 6.0 and may slightly vary in other versions.

The settings I discuss in the article are applicable for automatic synchronization from customer master to BP. Users can follow similar settings for vendor and BP synchronization in both directions.

Sivaprasad Ramachendruni

Sivaprasad Ramachendruni is a solution architect (SAP Financials and SAP S4/HANA Finance) with SAP professional certification. He is currently working for a multinational corporation in the IT sector. He has more than 17 years of functional and SAP system experience spanning across several industries. He has expertise with various modules, including FI, Controlling (CO), Funds Management (FM), Flexible Real Estate Management (RE-FX), Financial Supply Chain Management (FSCM), and SAP S4/HANA Finance. He helps companies design, implement, deploy, and streamline business processes and gain efficiency. He is an Indian cost and management accountant and has a master’s degree in financial management. 

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