Process Overview: Batch Input
Batch input is one of the primary ways in which data can be transferred into the R/3 System. Batch input is used for bulk data transfers and not for near real-time data transfers.
Typical uses of batch input include the one-time import of data from a legacy system into a newly installed R/3 System. Another typical use is for periodic (hourly, daily...) transfers of data from external systems or legacy systems that are still in use into R/3, where all enterprise data is consolidated.
For the system administrator, batch input usually requires minimal attention, only a periodic check to make sure all batch input sessions have been processed successfully. In the event of an error in a session, then the responsibility for triggering the error analysis and correction of the problem usually lies with the system administrator. Detailed analysis of the problem will require the help of the department or specialist responsible for the data to be entered. Incorrect entries in an R/3 financials transaction in a session, for example, have to be evaluated and corrected by the book-keeping department.
The process description here explains the typical workflow in batch-input operation from the point of view of the system administrator.
The R/3 applications deliver many programs for batch input that are ready to use. Sometimes, however, a customer must write his or her own batch input program in order to convert data from a legacy system or from a proprietary format into an R/3 data format.
Batch input operation occurs only if a customer explicitly sets its up. The customer must activate a program that prepares a batch input session and that delivers it to the R/3 System.
Alternatively, the external source may be an external system that is to remain in use, another R/3 System, or an R/2 System. In this case, a regularly-recurring bulk data transfer is foreseen. For example, data from a free-standing engineering system may be taken over into R/3 by means of a daily batch-input run.
Custom batch input procedures must be set up by hand. That is, the system administrator must schedule the data conversion program that creates the batch input session. How frequently data is made available from the external system, how frequently the conversion program should run, and whether the conversion program runs in R/3 (ABAP program) or in a host system (external program) must all be determined by the system administrator and the batch input programmer. See also the online guide Basis Programming Interfaces.
For the system administrator, processing of batch input sessions requires little attention. Usually, system administrators automate the starting of batch input sessions (see Processing Sessions Automatically). Administrators can also start batch input sessions explicitly from transaction SM35, if necessary.
The batch input system offers detailed logging and powerful analysis tools to help you find out the cause of a problem (see Analyzing Sessions and Displaying Session Logs).
Most problems fall into one of two categories:
The batch input system processes all correct transactions in a session. It also guarantees that successfully completed transactions in a session cannot be run again. To correct transactions with errors, the system administrator or the responsible department can interactively correct and reprocess the transactions. See Correcting a Session.
Batch Input, Fast Input, and the Data Transfer Workbench
Batch input is one of several techniques that are in use for transferring data into the R/3 System. Different R/3 applications and SAP components may use batch input, fast input, or data transfer by way of calls to a BAPI interface.
All of these data transfer techniques are brought together in the data transfer workbench. In the workbench (transaction BMV0), you can find all batch input, fast input, and BAPI data transfer programs. And you can branch to transaction SM35 to run batch input sessions from the workbench.
You can find information on the technical implementation of batch input and fast input and on the programming of these techniques in the online guideBasis Programming Interfaces. Here you will also find information on how these two techniques for transferring data differ.
BAPI-based data transfer interfaces are individually documented in the Business Object Repository.
Batch input is a key technology for integrating R/3 into heterogenous ERP environments. Batch input provides the capabilities necessary to ensure a smooth and efficient flow of information into R/3 from external sources.