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To understand SAP S/4HANA Business Partner, stop thinking 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙢𝙨 𝙤𝙛 Customers and Vendors, but continually think 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 Customers and Vendors.


And if you know about Customers and Vendors in ECC 6.0 … then this requires a dramatic shift in thinking!

I have to confess … even experts need an occasional reminder of exactly how Business Partner is astonishingly complex, massively duplicative, simplification. All at once. Users and the enterprise benefit from simplification. But you and I -- responsible to implement Business Partner -- have to wrestle with complexity and understanding duplicative data.

I can tell you this much with certainty: Continuing to think 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙢𝙨 𝙤𝙛 Customers and Vendors is a path to misery.

The above 13-minute video explains why …


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.


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