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Batch Input Concepts

The SAP System offers two primary methods for transferring data into the System from other SAP Systems and non-SAP Systems. These two methods are collectively called "batch input" or "batch data communication."

Basic Technique for Data Transfers with Batch Input

Both batch input methods work by carrying out normal SAP transactions, just as a user would. However, batch-input can execute the transactions automatically and is therefore suitable for entering large amounts of data that are already available in electronic form. The batch input technique offers these advantages for transferring data: No manual interaction is required during data transfer. If the data to be transferred is already available in electronic form (on a tape, for example), then you can enter the data automatically into the SAP System using batch input. Batch input ensures data integrity. Batch input enters data into the SAP System using the same transactions that interactive users do. Batch input data is therefore submitted to all of the checks and controls that apply to data entered by normal interactive means.

The Batch Input Methods

There are several ways to process batch input data in the SAP System.

Batch input processing methods The first processing method could be called "classical batch input." In it, an ABAP program reads the external data that is to be entered in the SAP System and stores the data in a "batchinput session." A session stores the actions that are required to enter your data using normal SAP transactions. When the program has finished generating the session, you can run the session to execute the SAP transactions in it. You can either explicitly start and monitor a session with the batch-input management function (System Services Batch input) or have the session run in the background processing system. This method uses the function modules BDC_OPEN, BDC_INSERT, and BDC_CLOSE to generate sessions. In the second method, your program uses the ABAP CALL TRANSACTION USING statement to run an SAP transaction. Batch-input data does not have to be deposited in a session for later processing. Instead, the entire batch-input process takes place inline in your program.

There is a third batch-input method using the ABAP CALL DIALOG statement. However, SAP recommends against using this method unless necessary. The CALL DIALOG method is now outdated and is more complex and less comfortable to use than the other techniques. All three batch-input methods use a common data structure for holding the instructions and data for SAP transactions. This structure is defined as structure BDCDATA in the ABAP Dictionary. For help in selecting the method to use, please see Selecting a Batch-Input Method.

Typical Uses of Batch Input

Uses of batch input include the following: transferring data from another system when you install your SAP System regularly transferring data that is captured by a non-SAP system in your company into the SAP System. Assume, for example, that data collection in some areas of your company is still performed by a non-SAP system. You can still consolidate all of your data in the SAP System by exporting the data from the other system and reading it into the SAP System with batch input. You can also use batch input to transfer data between two R/3 Systems. However, there are more direct methods for doing this, such as RFC (remote function calls).

Application Support for Batch Input

The SAP applications provide pre-programmed support for batch input transfers for many of SAPs business objects. To implement one of the supported data transfers, you must often write the program that exports the data from your non-SAP System. This program, known as a "data transfer" program must map the data from the external system into the data structure required by the SAP batch input program. Should you wish to write a transfer program that executes outside the SAP System, then the SAP applications provide definitions of the required data formats for the exports. From these definitions, you can generate code for the data structures to include in your export program. You can also write such programs in ABAP, which lets you take advantage of the comfort and conveniences of the SAP Development Workbench. Once you have exported the data, you can then use a standard, pre-programmed SAP report to import the data. This program uses one of the batch input methods to process the data and add it to the SAP System. You can find information on pre-defined batch-input programs in the SAP Customizing System. Choose Tools Customizing. Then display either your Enterprise IMG (Implementation Guide) projects or the SAP standard IMG. In the project display, use the Expand function to display all nodes in the project. You can then search for relevant topics with the keywords batch input and transfer.