Since I have started this blog with articles on data-dictionary I want to dig deeper into some fundamental concepts about SAP data. In SAP, data can be classified into master data and transaction data. However beyond that, the way this data is stored in the underlying database has a lot to do with how the table was initially designed in the data-dictionary.
A lot of times freshers can explain definitions of terms like application table and customizing table, but struggle to explain this concept with concrete examples.
To confirm my findings I decided to put this question to a bunch of random people by showing them some data and asking them to identify whether it was master data or transaction data.
Following are their thoughts.
With so many doubts in their minds.. how will these guys ever clear any SAP interviews, how will they be able to develop better performing SAP programs.
To help them and for all other folks who are not sure of these concepts I will walk you through these ideas briefly in this blog.
The data stored in SAP can be classified broadly into two types.
- SAP-System relevant data
- SAP-Application relevant data.
System relevant data is data that is only maintained by SAP. Any changes to data in such a table constitute a modification, because the overall system behaviour is controlled by entries in these table.
Application relevant data however, is data that is specific to a particular customer installation/implementation. Such kind of data can be further broken down into – Application data and Customizing data.
Customizing data is data that defines the behavior of your SAP environment for individual modules.
Based on the particular module, specific entries are maintained in these tables. These tables usually start with the letter ‘T’
Example of Customizing data:
- In HCM Module, Lets say a company has only hourly paid and salary paid employees. Then this classification of employees will be maintained in one of the standard customizing tables provided by SAP. Once maintained, the data in such tables rarely change.
- In Travel Module, Lets say a company will reimburse only some types of travel expenses like Air-fare, Train-fare and Car-rentals. These expense type classifications is data but these permitted expense types will not change quite often unless there is a major travel policy change in the company. Such data is classified as customizing data.
Application data on the other hand is data which is created during the normal course of business. This data is created because of the transactions that happen on a daily basis. Such data can be further classified into Master data and Transaction data.
Master data : is data which defines the attributes of various entities of the business system. Entities are participants in the particular business.
Examples of Master data:
- Every company has employees. In the HCM module each employee would be an entity of the business system and attributes of each employee, like their name, address, bank account number etc would be considered as Master data – specifically HR Master.
- Every company needs to buy raw-material and office-supplies like printers, stationary etc. For this they would have a list of Vendors. These vendors would be entities in the MM/SD module and attributes of each of these vendors, like their name, address, contract agreement terms etc would be considered master data – specifically Vendor Master.
- Such data as you may have guessed will change, but once in a while, not quite often. For example when an employee changes his or her home address or bank account number, or a Vendor changes their pricing policy etc.
Transaction data: is data which is created in large numbers almost on a daily basis during a normal business operation.
Examples of Transaction data:
- Every employee in the organization needs to be paid, Right!! Their payroll data generated every month when they get paid is transaction data. – HCM Module
- An employee going on an official travel to a seminar or business meeting will submit a travel request. This data is transaction data – Travel Module
- A purchase order, sales order, invoice etc are all examples of transaction data.
Hope I have explained the classifications of data in SAP.
Now its your turn. Can you dig into your SAP system and give me an example of each of the following:
- Master data.
- Transaction data.
- Customizing data.
- System data.
First specify the table name, then tell me what type of data it is and your explanation of what module or scenario in SAP it will satisfy.
Please type your answer in the comments section. You may be right or wrong, thats fine. We will all learn from your answers so lets participate.