SAP CRM Business Partner: Grouping, Roles, Relationships

SAP CRM Business Partner: Overview

  • Almost all business transactions in an organization involve certain stakeholders like employee, contact person, organizational unit, etc.
  • Within SAP CRM these participants involved in a business transaction are maintained as CRM Business Partner. Following can be involved in a business transaction as Business Partner:
SAP CRM Business Partner
Examples of Business Partner
  • In SAP CRM, business partners are created centrally. Also the roles that a business partner play, such as sold-to party and ship-to party are also maintained centrally
  • Thus a business partner created in SAP CRM can be involved in any of the business transaction in different modules like sales, marketing and service. This involvement of the business partner in a business transaction depends upon the role assigned to the business partner and the partner functions involved in the business transaction
  • Creating and maintenance of the business partner in the SAP CRM is included in the Account Management application within CRM Web UI. In order to work on the business partner, the user need to have access to the Account management in the Web UI:
Account Management
Account Management with option to maintain Business Partner
SAP CRM Business Partner
Business Partners Involved in a Business Transaction

For a particular business transaction, involved business partners can be found within the Parties Involved assignment block:

  • Within SAP GUI, business partner maintenance is available with transaction code BP. SAP has now stopped supporting GUI for CRM transactions and thus Web UI is used for the business partner creation and maintenance
  • Account management in CRM Web UI provides 3600 view of the business partner data which means it represents complete data of the business partner including:
  • the header details of the business partner
  • relationships to other business partners in the business processes
  • account life cycle of the business partner
  • business transactions in which the business partner is involved
  • change history of the business partner data
  • Using CRM Middleware it’s possible to populate business partners in SAP CRM using data maintained in SAP ERP. Also updates in the business partner data in any of these systems (ERP or CRM) can be synchronized through the CRM Middleware
  • Below is the SPRO path for Business partner customizing. The Partner Processing implemented for a particular business transaction also depends upon the customizing settings implemented for the business partners. Thus the customizing settings for the business partners in CRM are implemented in the SPRO and once done, CRM Web UI is used to create and maintain the business partners
SPRO to maintain Business Partner
SPRO to maintain Business Partner related customizing

Business Partner Category

  • SAP CRM supports three possible categories:
    • Person or Individual
    • Group
    • Organization
  • A business partner can belong to any one of these categories. An account can be further sub-divided as follows-
    • Account: An account is a company, group, or individual, with which your organization have a business relationship.
      • Accounts are further divided into:
        • Corporate Account (organizations or companies)
        • Individual Account (individuals)
        • Groups (Groups like households)
    • Contact
      • person with whom you have a business relationship
      • mostly assigned to a corporate account
    • Employee
      • member of your organization
      • involved in interaction between your organization and vendor, prospect, customer, and other parties
Business Partner Category
Business Partner categories
  • It is not possible to modify these categories or to create new categories.
  • When a business partner is created in SAP CRM, category is assigned to it. The business partner category can only assign once while the creation of the business partner and cannot be modified at later stages of the business partner life cycle. Thus while creating a business partner you need to select the category as the first step. Also, the account search can be filter based upon the account category for faster results:
Search: Accounts
Search page for accounts in Web UI
  • This business partner category is also used in the header of the account display, create and modify page:
Individual Account
Page title for an Account mentions the Account Type “Individual Account”

Business Partner Grouping

  • When a business partner is created, a number termed as “business partner number” is assigned to it. This number can be configured in the SPRO customizing such that it is generated automatically when a business partner is created
  • For this, Business Partner Grouping and Number Ranges are used
  • We define range of numbers using start and end value (within SAP CRM this is termed as “Number Range” and has an identifier):
Business Partner Grouping
Number Range in SPRO settings
  • For example, from the above screen shot, business partner with number range 01 will be assigned a number ‘4907620’ , while business partner with number range 02 will be assigned number ‘A’
  • Number range can be Internal or External
  • Internal Number Range
  • Based up on the customizing settings this is generated within the CRM system
  • This is a sequential number from the relevant number range
  • External Number Range
  • In this case, number can be assigned by the user while creating the record
  • Or the number can be derived from an external system
  • In both cases the number used must lie within the corresponding number range interval
  • This number range is then assigned to a grouping
  • SPRO path to assign Number Range to Group:
  • IMG -> Cross-Application Components -> SAP Business Partner -> Business Partner -> Number Ranges and Grouping -> Define Groupings and Assign Number Ranges
  • Business Partner Grouping is basically different number ranges that could be assigned to a business partner.Thus Grouping can be considered as a container which holds the Number Range settings
  • While creating a BP, user selects the Grouping
  • Selected grouping identifies the number to be generated
  • If the grouping is using an Internal number range, the business partner number will be auto assigned while saving the Business Partner
  • For the Grouping corresponding to external number ranges
  • ID field can be enabled for user to give a Business Partner number or
  • BP number can be fetched from external system (e.g. connected ERP)
Individual Account: New
Create page for an Individual Account

Business Partner Roles

  • The BP (Business Partner) roles assigned to a business partner reflect the partner’s functions and the business transactions in which the partner may be involved.
  • It is possible to assign more than one business partner role to a business partner
  • This means a business partner can be involved in different business transactions with different roles
  • But the general information of the business partner like name, address, etc. are entered only once
  • It is possible to create custom BP roles as per the business requirement
Business Partner Roles
Business Role settings in SPRO – I
  • A business partner role is assigned to a business partner role category
Business Partner Roles
Business Role settings in SPRO – II
  • BP Role Category controls properties of the BP role:
Business Partner Roles
Business Role settings in SPRO – III
  • There is a separate assignment block in the Accounts Overview for the BP Roles. The drop down list shows the available roles that can be assigned to the account. Using the Insert button it is possible to assign new role to a business partner:
Business Partner Roles
Business Role Assignment Block in Web UI

BP Relationships

  • A business partner can have relation with another business partner.
  • A connection between two business partners is formed using the “business partner relationships”.
  • Within SAP CRM, relationship between business partners is described with business partner relationship category:
BP Relationships
Business Partner Relationship settings in SPRO – I
  • These BP Relationship Category defines the properties of the business partner relationship:
BP Relationships
Business Partner Relationship settings in SPRO – II
  • A BP Relationship can be unidirectional or bidirectional
  • BP Relationships can be assigned to a business partner in Web UI in the Relationship assignment block:
  • This updates all the Business Partners involved in the relations
  • Existing relationship can be modified using the ‘Actions’ buttons
BP Relationships
Business Partner Relationship Assignment Block in Web UI
  • It is possible to have a relationship time dependent. Thus the relationship will be valid for the time frame specified while the creation of this relationship
  • Using the New button in above screenshot it is possible to create new relation:

Account Classification

  • SAP CRM provides functionality of account classification using which you can classify your accounts according to any criteria. This is particularly useful when a large enterprise needs to classify different business areas according to different criteria
  • It is possible to perform search for accounts based upon these classification criterion
  • Account classification is also available as an individual assignment block on the Account page:
Account Classification
Account Classification Assignment Block in Web UI
  • The role in this assignment block is different from the Business Partner Role. You can define any number of Criteria and Attributes
  • As per the requirement account criteria can be combined to create Classification Category. Each classification category can consist of up to 5 criteria and any number of attributes as per the requirement
  • Constituents of account classification are defined in the SPRO customizing
  • There is a helper class associated with each criteria and attribute for the value help as drop down list in the Web UI
  • Criteria definition:
Account Classification
Account Classification settings in SPRO – II
  • Attribute definition:
Account Classification
Account Classification settings in SPRO – III
  • Assignment of attributes:
Account Classification
Account Classification settings in SPRO – IV
  • Assigning Criteria:
Account Classification
Account Classification settings in SPRO – V

3600 View of Business Partner

View of Business Partner
Linked Documents within individual Assignment Blocks in Web UI

SAP CRM provides 3600 view of the business partner. This means that all the data related to the business partner can be checked in one place. In the header data it is possible to maintain and display the data which is applicable in all scenarios like the first name, last name, BP number, etc. There are separate assignment blocks for data like BP Role, BP Relationship, etc. Also we can find all the business transactions within which the business partner is involved. For example, there is an assignment block “Opportunities” which displays all the opportunity business transactions in which the business partner is involved

  • It is possible to navigate to the corresponding business transaction document from these assignment block data. Also, we can create new business transactions through these assignment block. That is, using the new button on Opportunity block it is possible to navigate to the Opportunity page and create an opportunity with respect to the business partner
  • Thus, the SAP CRM supports the maintenance of the complete business partner life cycle in single place which makes it convenient for the end user to use and helps in the reporting purpose