Having Trouble Storing Legacy Alphanumeric Personnel Numbers? Try This

  • by Martin Gillet, SAP HR Consultant, Cogilius bvba
  • April 2, 2009
The SAP system stores numeric personnel numbers in an eight-digit field. Here’s a quick workaround if you need to store longer alphanumeric personnel numbers.
Key Concept

Personnel Administration infotype 0105 (communication) contains crucial information used across most processes in SAP ERP HCM. It is a placeholder for storing system and functional information. Two of its major subtypes are 0001 (system user name) and 0010 (email address).

Company A had a big problem. It decided to set up and deploy SAP ERP HCM, but had a myriad of legacy systems. To comply with legacy interface requirements, it was mandatory that it store unique long alphanumeric personnel numbers for staff members. However, how could it store older alphanumeric numbers in its new SAP system, which provides only an eight-digit numeric field?

Its problem is not unique. As many companies migrate from another ERP system to SAP ERP, they come across the major issue of not being able to transfer their alphanumeric personnel numbers to their new SAP system. This is not a problem if companies are willing to follow the SAP standard and assign new personnel numbers. However, some companies are not willing to give up their legacy numbers.

In these cases, most companies think they can use the standard infotype 0031 (reference personnel number). However, the reference personnel number for PA0031 is only used internally to assign multiple personnel numbers to the same person. You cannot use it to store IDs from an old system. Alternatively, companies think they can use infotype 0032 (internal data) and its Previous Personnel Number field (technical field P0032-PNALT). This doesn’t work if you need to store character strings (CHAR) up to 12 characters to allow for alphanumeric personnel numbers.

Instead, I suggest using infotype 0105 and subtype 9REF for an alphanumeric personnel number with a short or a long field option. This method provides a clean alternative to this particular requirement. Although it is available in earlier SAP releases, the functionality here is taken from an SAP ERP 6.0 release. This is what I used to resolve Company A’s problem, and I’ll explain how I did it.

Martin Gillet

Martin Gillet is an SAP-certified HR consultant (ECC 6.0, SAP R/3 Enterprise, and 4.0B) who works freelance on international projects. He graduated with honors in Human Resources Management from Belgian Haute Ecole Namuroise Catholique (HENaC). Martin has worked with SAP R/3 since 1997 in the chemical, catering, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, food, banking, and oil industries. He has focused on SAP HR since 1998 and has other SAP expertise including XSS, LSO, E-Recruiting, CATS, Reporting, Authorizations, and SAP NetWeaver Portal. Martin is the author of Configuring and Customizing Employee and Manager Self-Services in SAP ERP HCM. The book explores the options for customizing ESS and MSS to meet specific business needs.

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