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Object documentationPartner Functions


Partner functions are terms that describe the people and organizations with whom you do business, and who are therefore involved in transactions. For example, when you create an activity, based on Customizing settings, it automatically includes the partner functions Activity Partner, Contact Person, and Person Responsible. Partner functions are always assigned to partner function categories, which are hard-coded in the system.

The system includes commonly used partner functions, but you can also define your own.


You use partner functions in transactions, in all areas of partner processing, and in some areas of business partner master data. For example:

  • You have a real estate business and define the function Tenant to refer to your customers.

  • Tenant is displayed in the header and Parties Involved assignment block in transactions, and in the Buying Center assignment block, when relevant.

  • It appears in the Customizing settings for access sequences, partner determination procedures, and partner teams.

  • It appears in business partner master data when you assign partners to partner functions when creating relationships between business partners, and when you enter excluded partner functions.

  • You define partner functions in Customizing for Customer Relationship Management, by choosing   Basic Functions  Partner Processing  Define Partner Functions  .


When you define a partner function, you assign it to a partner function category. Therefore, the partner function consists of two basic elements: the new term itself and the category. The new term is your name for the function, and the category is the hard-coded key that allows the system to identify what the function means, and how to work with it. In some cases the functions have the same name as the categories to which they are assigned, but they need not.

In most cases, you also specify the business partner relationship category to which the partner function should correspond. Frequently, once you enter a partner function category, the system automatically enters the relationship category. It is able to do so because many partner function categories are hard-coded to correspond to certain relationship categories. If you use the partner function category Undefined Partner or relationship categories you have created yourself, you must enter the relationship category manually.

The following table shows several of the partner functions in the system, with the partner functions categories to which they are assigned, and the corresponding relationship categories:

Partner Function

Partner Function Category

Relationship Category

Sold-To Party

Sold-To Party

Ship-To Party

Ship-To Party/Service Recipient

Is the Ship-To Party/Recipient Of

Sales Prospect

Activity Partner

Is Activity Partner For

Activity Partner

Activity Partner

Is Activity Partner For

Sales Manager


Is the Employee Responsible For

  • For a list of all partner functions and partner function categories in the system, see the Customizing activity Define Partner Functions.

  • To create new relationship categories in Customizing, choose   Cross—Application Components  SAP Business Partner  Business Partner Relationships  Extensibility  

  • There are two ways in which you can block partner functions:


Partner functions are used mainly in transaction processing, and relationship categories mainly in master data. The correspondence between them (and the assignment of access sequences) allows the system to use business partner master data as a source for partner determination. Partner functions that do not correspond to relationship categories can be determined from other sources, such as the organizational model, or entered manually.

Partner functions in SAP CRM often differ from those in SAP ECC, but you can specify how functions in SAP CRM and SAP ECC correspond to each other.

In Customizing for Customer Relationship Management, choose   Basic Functions  Partner Processing  Data Transfer  


Your company sells televisions to a store called Hifidelity, and your sales people often talk to the store manager, whom you refer to as a retail manager. You ship the televisions to Hifidelity Storage, an affiliate responsible for Hifidelity's storage needs. You refer to Hifidelity Storage as a delivery location.

  1. In master data, you enter Hifidelity as a business partner. In the Contacts assignment block, you enter the store manager's name as the contact person, and in the Relationships assignment block, Hifidelity Storage as Is the Ship-To Party/Recipient Of.

  2. In Customizing for partner processing, you define the partner function Delivery Location, and assign it to the partner function category Ship-To Party. The system automatically enters Is the Ship-To Party/Recipient Of as the corresponding relationship category.

  3. You define the partner function Retail Manager, and assign it to the category Contact Person. The system automatically enters Is Contact Person For as the corresponding relationship category.

  4. You define a partner determination procedure that includes these two partner functions, and assign access sequences to them. In the access sequences, you have specified business partner master data as the source for partner determination.

  5. You create a transaction, and Delivery Location and Retail Manager are displayed in the header and Parties Involved assignment block. You enter Hifidelity as the sold-to party. The system automatically enters the manager's name as the Retail Manager, and enters Hifidelity Storage as the Delivery Location.

The following figure shows the steps described above.

This graphic is explained in the accompanying text.