Flexso CVI SAP S4 HANA migration SAP ECC

How Customer-Vendor Integration smoothens your migration to SAP S/4HANA

4 minutes
SAP S/4HANA

In SAP ECC, you’ve always worked with Customers, Vendors and Contact Persons. In the modern SAP S/4HANA system, this distinction has been replaced with the more general term ‘Business Partners’: (groups of) persons and organizations in which your company has a business interest. To convert the master data between the legacy system and S/4HANA, SAP introduced Customer-Vendor Integration or CVI. Here’s what you need to know.

Business Partners in S/4HANA

In SAP S/4HANA, the term “Business Partners” is used to include all the leading master data objects like Customer, Vendor, Contact Persons as well as Employees. A Business Partner can thus be seen as a person, an organization or group of persons/organizations with a unique identification code. As a result, a business partner in S/4HANA could be a vendor and a customer at the same time, using the same data object number.

But what are the benefits of using "Business Partners" in S/4HANA?

  • No more redundant data, as there are no longer multiple data objects representing the same party.
  • It’s easier to make certain calculations, e.g., the total net spend for a specific partner.
  • Easy integration with SAP CRM, as this solution was the first to use the concept of Business Partners as leading objects.
  • By cleansing and migrating your data upfront with CVI, you can accelerate your move to S/4HANA.
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CVI supports your SAP S/4HANA move

Since Business Partners are mandatory in SAP S/4HANA, all Customer and Vendor master data in SAP ECC needs to be converted before moving to SAP S/4HANA. This is where SAP’s CVI process comes in.

Sounds like a really big deal? It’s not!

A CVI project can be run in SAP ECC as a separate project before the actual S/4HANA project starts off. As a result, the synchronization of business partners will no longer be a critical point in your conversion journey. This also means it won’t have any impact on your day-to-day business after go-live of the CVI project, since the synchronization happens entirely in the background. You can still use Customers, Vendors and Contact Persons with their respective transactions as well.

3 major CVI considerations

  • CVI projects provide a great opportunity to review your current setup of Customers, Vendors and Contact Persons .
  • While CVI doesn’t take a lot of time, it is quite technical. A CVI project requires a lot of focus, analysis and error handling of master data. Think about that when preparing your migration.
  • Since migrating to SAP S/4HANA is a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’, take into account what the final setup will look like from the start.

How CVI ensured a smooth S/4HANA migration for INEOS

Because every organization has its own setup and use of Customers, Vendors, and Contact Persons, a tailored approach is often necessary. With the right insights and expertise, however, you’re sure to even seize a couple of opportunities along the way. Just ask INEOS.

"CVI ultimately determines your path to SAP S/4HANA,” says Koen Van Audenrode, Project Manager S/4HANA at INEOS. “Sure, it is a mandatory step in the preliminary phase. But it urged us to conduct a major master data exercise and clean-up in SAP ECC. After the initial setup of CVI, we successfully deployed a complete S/4HANA sandbox in just 5 months. Despite the summer period in between, we were able to work exceptionally time- and cost-efficient.”

Koen Van Audenrode INEOS

"Sure, it is a mandatory step in the preliminary phase of an S/4HANA migration. But it urged us to conduct a major master data exercise and clean-up in SAP ECC.”

Koen Van Audenrode - Project Manager S/4HANA at INEOS

“Flexso helped us with accurate, step-by-step explanations, clear visualization of options, and prompt feedback on questions. So, we were able to swiftly navigate through the CVI project. The migration of INEOS to S/4HANA has already started off very smoothly and cost-effectively.”

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Written by

Thomas de Sutter 1

Thomas de Sutter