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How External List Management works

by The Tip Doctor

January 10, 2011

The Tip Doctor, Insider Learning Network.

This excerpt is from “A Quick and Easy Guide to Enhancing External List Management” by Michal Krawczyk, which was posted to the CRM Expert knowledgebase in August 2008.

External List Management (ELM) is a tool that you can use to import CRM-related data, such as business partners. For example, you could use ELM to import files that you procure from other companies. In standard ELM you can select the fields you want to use during the data import, change the order of the fields, and perform some simple mappings to change the imported fields’ values, such as changing the text to capital letters. However, in some cases you will find that you want to do more, such as add custom fields.

The basic process of importing data using ELM can involve the following tasks:

Maintain a mapping format. Specify the business partner fields you want to create and map external data to those fields. Transaction CRMD_MKTLIST_MAP offers you an intuitive way to create a mapping from a file data course (such as Excel files) to SAP tables. You just need to select the target fields you want to use and prepare those fields i n the same order in the file.

Maintain import program parameters. Specify the import program parameters, such as data origin, data mapping format, and import start date. These parameters allow you to use transaction CRMD_MKTLIST to upload the file with external data to your CRM system.

Upload a file. This process uploads your file with external data. The system performs this step in the background with a workflow when the time specified in import program parameters occurs.

Map the external data format to the SAP CRM data format. Data can come with different formats (leading zeros, capital letters), so you may need to change the data format to the proper CRM data format

Create business partners. In this step, you create the business partners in your CRM system from the data that came from the file

Analyze the generated output. After the system creates all the business partners from the list, you can check them all directly from ELM

Correct the data or mapping and restart the process. You perform this step when you encounter errors in the mapping or creating business partners process steps. After you correct the data you can restart the process for all records with errors.

The mapping transaction in ELM, CRMD_MKTLIST_MAP, provides you with options to enhance the external data. You can change date formats, assign constant values, and even perform ABAP lookups to value mapping tables (if they exist in your SAP CRM system). You can do it all with standard ELM functions available just beneath the main editor:

  • Value assignment: Specify the data based on CRM domains
  • Constant assignment: Add a constant value if no value is present in the external data file
  • ABAP code: Code much more sophisticated rules for data transformations because you have all the po ssibilities of an ABAP language available
  • Global definitions: Where you can put your global definitions

In standard SAP CRM (mySAP CRM 4.0 and later) you can only create a business partner in one role, the general role. Sometimes, though, this may not be enough. For example, say you want to create a business partner in other roles in addition to the standard general role. You also want to combine the business partner’s identification number with tax data. It turns out that there is a solution for this — you just need to implement a standard BAdI, CRM_MKTLIST_BADI.


Michal Krawczyk is a consultant working with SAP XI/PI, ALE/EDI, CRM middleware, and other SAP interface-related technologies. He was presented the Top Contributor award in the XI/PI area on SDN in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and SAP Mentor in 2007. He has published more than 60 articles about SAP XI and MDM on SDN and has written a book about PI published by SAP PRESS, as well as a number CRM Expert and Solution Manager Expert articles. You may reach him at



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