Function documentation Characteristic Hierarchies Locate the document in its SAP Library structure

In this section you learn how you define and use characteristic hierarchies in the context of manual planning. In addition, you receive information about using SAP BW hierarchies in manual planning.


You use characteristic hierarchies in manual planning in order to be able to portray the breakdown of key figure values over different characteristics or characteristic values. Hierarchically structured planning is of use in budget planning, for example, when you allocate the entire budget of a controlling area to the various company codes. Then, you allocate it further to the cost centers in the company codes, and finally you allocate each cost center's budget to the cost elements that arise within the cost centers.

In SEM-BPS, we distinguish between two different hierarchy types:


You cannot combine both hierarchy types within one planning layout. That is, you can use either SAP BW hierarchies or SEM-BPS characteristic hierarchies (or no hierarchy at all), but not both types at the same time.

You can build characteristic hierarchies completely freely using the characteristics available in a planning level. Therefore, no changes are necessary in the data basis which would have an effect on all other areas in which the characteristic is used.


You decide whether you use hierarchies in the planning layout and in which way that should happen in the following places when forming the layout.

SEM-BPS Characteristic Hierarchies

In order to use SEM-BPS characteristic hierarchies, you must first decide which characteristics are to make up the hierarchy. You must include at least two characteristics in the lead column of a hierarchy. All lead column characteristics are included in the hierarchy. If you want to prevent a characteristic becoming a part of the hierarchy, you must either move it to the header area or to a data column of the layout or remove the characteristic from the planning level entirely.

The system derives the hierarchy structure from the sequence in which the characteristics are listed in the lead column. Therefore, you must correctly identify the relationships between the various characteristics and list the characteristics in the appropriate order.


With this type of hierarchy, the relationships between the hierarchy levels depend exclusively on their arrangement in the planning layout, and they cannot be verified as part of the SAP BW data definition. Therefore, it is very important that the arrangement of the characteristics, once determined, is not changed after the first posting. Otherwise, there is a risk that the saved values might become inconsistent (for example, the sum of the hierarchy branches might be greater than the value of the superior node).

You can choose whether the characteristics contained in the lead column are to be regarded as a hierarchy or not. If you wish to use the characteristics as a characteristic hierarchy, you can also determine if, at the data entry stage, the values entered are to be validated or not:

SAP BW Hierarchies

You can find information on using SAP BW hierarchies under SAP BW Hierarchies.

Presenting a SAP BW hierarchy takes place in the planning layout with the help of the Microsoft Excel outline function. For this reason, you can also use this function when displaying and changing plan data (individual expanding and collapsing of certain hierarchy areas).


The outline function is only available in the display or change mode of the executed layout. On the other hand, when processing the layout only some sample values are displayed in order to give you an impression of the executed layout.

Presentation Dependent on Master or Transaction Data

Normally in manual planning, the exact combinations of characteristic values are presented for which transaction data is already available. Alternatively to this view of the planning layout which is dependent on transaction data, you can also determine that all valid combinations of characteristic values (taking account of the selections in the planning level or package) are displayed in the lead column and are offered for data entry (presentation dependent on master data). For combinations where no data was yet entered, the value 0 is displayed for every key figure.

As an alternative to the presentation dependent on master data based on the current selection, you can formulate differentiated rules for valid combinations of characteristic values. You achieve this with the help of Characteristic Relationships, which you define in the context of the planning area. Here the system can only propose those characteristic values which are within the selection.


When you choose the presentation dependent on master data in a planning layout, you should make sure that the selection in the planning level or package (and if required the characteristic relationships) provides for a sufficient restriction of the possible characteristic combinations. Otherwise, multiplying all the characteristic values with each other can result in forming overdimensional lead columns which are no longer easy to manage.


  1. Decide whether you wish to use SEM-BPS characteristic hierarchies or SAP BW hierarchies.


In order to actually display a SAP BW hierarchy in a planning layout as a hierarchical structure, choose in step 3 of the layout definition This graphic is explained in the accompanying text Lead column settings and set the indicator Hierarchy. Otherwise the characteristic values contained in the hierarchy are output in the layout as a single-level list.

  1. In order to use characteristic hierarchies, in step 1 of the layout definition under Additional Settings ® Lead Columns ® Hierarchy set the indicator Planning in Characteristic Hierarchy.
  2. Decide in step 1 of the layout definition under Additional Settings ® Characteristic Combinations, which characteristic values should be displayed in the lead column:

Further Notes

Entering plan data in a planning layout for characteristic hierarchies differs only slightly from that in a planning layout without hierarchies. For more information, see Entering Plan Data.

You can find an example for the general procedure when planning with hierarchies under Scenario: Budgeting.