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Process Overview: Batch Input

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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.

Process Flow

  • Data transfer decision-making: The batch input process begins with a decision to transfer data from an external source into R/3. The external source may be a legacy system that is being replaced. In this case, a one-time bulk data transfer is foreseen. For example, customer data from a customer's old financials system may be transferred with batch input to a new 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.

  • Setting up batch-input for data transfers: If R/3-standard one-time or regular data transfers are required, then these may be set up by means of customizing settings in the R/3 Customizing System in SAP ASAP. Example: Batch input data transfers can be activated for legacy data in the Materials Management application (see 'Data Transfer').

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.

  • Processing batch input sessions: The actual transfer of data into R/3 takes place when a batch input session is processed.

For the system administrator, processing of batch input sessions requires little attention. Usually, system administrators automate the starting of batch input sessions . Administrators can also start batch input sessions explicitly from transaction SM35, if necessary.

  • Checking batch input sessions: The only routine activity for a system administrator is to check daily or more frequently in transaction SM35 that all batch input sessions have been completed successfully. The schedule for checking sessions depends upon the schedule for running batch input sessions. The R/3 System provides easy-to-use batch input management tools for doing this check
  • Analyzing errors: If one or more transactions in a session ended in errors, then the system administrator must analyze the problem. Usually, the system administrator will need the assistance of the affected data entry specialist or department for this analysis. The programmer who wrote the data conversion program may also need to be involved, if the problem was caused by incorrect data conversion or incorrect generation of the batch input session.

The batch input system offers detailed logging and powerful analysis tools to help you find out the cause of a problem

Most problems fall into one of two categories:

  • Required data is missing from the batch-input session or invalid data has been included in the session. Possible external causes of this type of problem include errors in the data conversion program or the presence of unexpected types of data or incorrect data in the legacy database. Causes for this type of problem within R/3 include incorrect or incomplete customizing in an application. For example, a legacy data type may not have been foreseen in the check table entries made in application customizing.
  • Technical/programming problems. A batch input session enters data by running R/3 transactions non-interactively. A typical technical or programming problem is therefore incorrect identification of one of the data fields in a transaction. Or the conversion program may not fill a required data field or may have provided invalid values.
  • Correcting errors:

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.

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 guide 12/1/2007Basis 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.



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