EagleBurgmann successfully introduces SAP Business Partner


EagleBurgmann is a global technology company for industrial sealing solutions. In order to plan the migration to SAP S/4HANA at all international locations in the long term, EagleBurgmann has drawn up an IT roadmap covering several years. Its first milestone was the introduction of SAP Business Partner. For this, EagleBurgmann relied on the expertise of the SAP consulting company IBsolution.


“The most important criteria for the introduction of SAP Business Partner are clear governance, careful testing and the ability to run through all conceivable scenarios in order to avoid unpleasant surprises later on.”

Alexander Schmid, Director Master Data, Product Lifecycle & Project Management at EagleBurgmann



No SAP S/4HANA without SAP Business Partner − if a company wants to migrate to the latest ERP product from SAP, it is imperative to replace the existing debitor and creditor model. EagleBurgmann therefore also had to deal with the implementation of the Business Partner functionality. The company relied on the expertise of the Heilbronn-based SAP consulting firm IBsolution.

Changeover starts in Germany and China

EagleBurgmann is one of the world’s leading suppliers of sealing technology and covers almost all industrial processes and applications. The joint venture between the Freudenberg Group and the Japanese EKK Group counts companies from the oil & gas, (petro)chemical, pharmaceutical, food, energy, water, mining, paper, and aerospace industries among its customers. In order to benefit from the advantages of SAP S/4HANA, EagleBurgmann has developed a long-term roadmap that defines when the migration should take place at which locations. The company has started in 2019 with an S/4 conversion for the national subsidiaries in Germany and China from the existing SAP ECC system.

Business Partner harmonizes master data

As a first step on the way to SAP S/4HANA, the IT roadmap has defined the introduction of SAP Business Partner. This functionality simplifies and harmonizes master data maintenance by centrally creating, displaying and editing the master data of business partners, customers and suppliers. So-called partner functions assign possible types of business relationships to a business partner, for example customer, vendor, supplier, sold-to party or ship-to party. This avoids redundancies and inconsistencies in the master data. The use of SAP Business Partner is mandatory for the implementation of SAP S/4HANA. Accordingly, EagleBurgmann was faced with the task of bringing together around 35,000 customer and up to 20,000 supplier master data in the new functionality.

EagleBurgmann commissioned IBsolution with the conversion to SAP Business Partner. “We were looking for a competent partner with extensive experience in the master data area”, explains Alexander Schmid, Director Master Data, Product Lifecycle & Project Management at EagleBurgmann. “Our choice finally fell on IBsolution, as we were convinced that the company would implement our requirements optimally”. The introduction of SAP Business Partner had to be successful within a tight time frame. Nevertheless a high quality should be guaranteed.


EagleBurgmann Headquarters Wolfratshausen | IBsolution

The headquarters of EagleBurgmann Germany GmbH is located in Wolfratshausen, Bavaria.

Own subproject

To reduce the complexity of the SAP S/4HANA conversion, EagleBurgmann and IBsolution implemented SAP Business Partner as an independent preliminary project. With Business byDesign, EagleBurgmann used another SAP system that already follows the business partner concept. There were overlaps between SAP ERP and Business byDesign in the master data inventory. For this reason, the company did not want to open any additional number ranges, but rather to link the business partner numbers from Business byDesign with the customer and vendor numbers in SAP ERP. Furthermore, IBsolution realized the HCM connection to SAP Business Partner in order to integrate HR master data as well.

The joint project started in March 2019 and the implementation of SAP Business Partner was successfully completed three months later. First the project team defined the future customizing in a concept workshop. This was then implemented in the development environment.

“Master data consistency is of immense importance in all projects,” emphasizes Tobias Lange, Chief Information Officer at EagleBurgmann. “Master data is present in all business processes and is decisive for efficient business operations. The harmonization of integrated customer master data should not be underestimated and is an important prerequisite for the successful implementation of SAP S/4HANA. We are therefore pleased to have implemented the consolidation of Business Partner master data right at the start of the project”.

Clean up all conflicts

Before the actual Business Partner transformation, EagleBurgmann and IBsolution first carried out a check of the existing customer and vendor master data. This brought more than 2,000 inconsistencies in the master data to light, which had to be cleaned up subsequently. Otherwise, the inconsistencies would have led to the termination of the conversion run. “Our approach based on the principle of ʻthoroughness before speedʼ has more than paid off,” explains Alexander Schmid. “It was right to take the time until we had cleaned up all inconsistencies”.

After data cleansing, the project team tested the Business Partner transformation in several test conversions and made fine adjustments in each case. During the conversion, related customer and vendor masters were linked to form a harmonized Business Partner and the number ranges were transferred from Business byDesign. The concept chosen by EagleBurgmann to retain the existing numbering logic paid off.

Conversion to data maintenance via SAP Business Partner

For users, operating SAP Business Partner is a challenge compared to the previous customer and vendor base. Although they have a lot of know-how in their respective business areas, they generally do not have the technological knowledge to understand that changing technologies such as the shift model inevitably have an impact on operation. In fact, the handling of the new functionality by the users was a delicate matter, at least in the first phase after the changeover to SAP Business Partner. “In the course of implementation, we deliberately reduced the number of people working with the new functionality,” explains Alexander Schmid. “Not least in order to avoid too much training effort”. Expressed in figures: While 30 employees previously filled the customer and vendor base in China, there are now only four employees.

The mapping of authorizations also proved to be challenging in the course of the project. To map the complex authorizations for customer and vendor maintenance, in-house developments were used in the ERP system. In the course of testing the business partner application, it turned out that adaptations were necessary. “In retrospect, it became clear that we should have given the authorization concept more importance,” says Alexander Schmid. “It is elementary that the user roles are clearly defined at the latest with the go-live of SAP S/4HANA so that the system runs smoothly”.


EagleBurgmann Mitarbeiter | IBsolution

Around 5,800 employees worldwide provide innovative product solutions and services in sealing technology.

Advantages of the Business Partner functionality

From a technological point of view, the Business Partner functionality represents a significant advance over the previous distinction between debtors and creditors. A major advantage is the ability to synchronize data globally and to centrally capture and manage all business partner information. This avoids double maintenance or master data inconsistencies in daily operations.

The introduction of SAP Business Partner also laid the foundation to benefit from future innovations in SAP S/4HANA. An example of this is the consolidation of legal units in a Business Partner master record. In this way, SAP Business Partner brings significant benefits in terms of business processes and compliance.

Conclusion: Timing is half the battle

An important factor for the success of the project was to choose the time of the changeover carefully. EagleBurgmann deliberately decided to implement SAP Business Partner in the run-up to the actual SAP S/4HANA migration in order to straighten out the tasks at hand and to be able to focus on the respective sub-projects. In addition, the multi-year IT roadmap provides a long-term orientation as to which further stages still need to be completed. Following the successful go-live of SAP S/4HANA at EagleBurgmann in Germany and China, the next major roll-out is scheduled for 2021. Then the locations in the USA, Canada and Mexico, which have been using SAP EEC up to now, will be migrated. Other companies will then follow, including production sites in Brazil, Turkey and India. EagleBurgmann’s entire roadmap is geared to six years from the start of ERP consolidation in 2017.

“For me, the most important criteria for the successful introduction of SAP Business Partner are clear governance, careful testing with a special focus on roles and authorizations, and the ability to run through all conceivable scenarios in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises during subsequent operation,” concludes Alexander Schmid. In addition, a finished concept for master data allocation should be in place and there should be defined sets of rules for master data maintenance. What Alexander Schmid also finds helpful is: “A reliable, professional partner who contributes his expertise to the success of the project”. Just like IBsolution did with EagleBurgmann.



“IBsolution has convinced us as a competent partner with extensive experience in the master data area.”

Alexander Schmid, Director Master Data, Product Lifecycle & Project Management at EagleBurgmann


Photos: EagleBurgmann Germany GmbH

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