If you want to understand S/4HANA Business Partner, then you need to stop thinking 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙢𝙨 𝙤𝙛 Customers and Vendors, but continually think 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 Customers and Vendors.
If you know about Customers and Vendors in ECC 6.0 then this requires a dramatic shift in thinking!
I’ll confess, even experts need an occasional reminder of exactly how Business Partner is astonishingly complex, massively duplicative, simplification. All at once. But simplification accrues to users and the enterprise. You and I — responsible to implement Business Partner — get to wrestle with complexity and duplicative data.
I can tell you this much with certainty: Continuing to think 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙢𝙨 𝙤𝙛 Customers and Vendors is a path to misery.
Business Partner is the Leading and Strategic Object
The video speaks to the functional and technical danger of not adopting a Business Partner mindset. But what of the business benefit of adopting a Business Partner mindset?
It’s clear that plain-old Customers and Vendors will always co-exist, behind Business Partner. But innovation will arrive as business applications evolve to adopt the more robust functionalities of Business Partner, rather than be limited by Customer and Vendor.
This isn’t just speculation, a significant example of innovation has already been delivered with S/4HANA 2021: Business partner: adoption of multiple and time-dependent addresses in the order-to-cash scenario (see SAP note 3067314). I first drew attention to this functionality in my NOV 2021 MDA Newsletter, but it’s worth repeating that this is “a very big deal.” It blows up what we’ve been saying for years, that SD and MM are “blissfully unaware” of Business Partner. That’s no longer true as a blanket statement, and we can expect more of the same as time passes.
Perusing SAP’s Customer Influence program suggests that more Business Partner innovations are in the works (here and here). The upshot is that adopting a Business Partner mindset today not only ensures a correct master data implementation, but it importantly sets the stage for readiness to adopt future master data and business process functionality.
- Peeking Behind the Curtain of S/4HANA Business Partner
- Business Partner Errors in Production
- SAP S/4HANA 2021: Multiple Address Handling in Order-to-Cash Documents Using SAP Business Partner
- October 29, 2021 blog by Urs Henle.
- SAP Note 3067314 – Central Note: SAP S/4HANA – Multiple Address Handling in SD Documents Using SAP Business Partner
- Additional details about enhanced master data capabilities and their consumption in application processes.
- PDF attachment: Master Data Guide
- PDF attachment: Master Data Migration Guide
- PDF attachment: Configuration Guide