What Is Batch Input in SAP?

by Jackie Lohrey

Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing software programs -- SAP for short -- accept input from numerous sources. Although input often comes from data stores in other SAP systems, input can also come from external or non-SAP sources, especially common when transferring large amounts of data during SAP setup and installation. Regardless of the source, transferring and getting it into your SAP database involves batch input, a process that allows you to transfer large amounts of data safely and quickly.


Batch input processing brings large amounts of data into an SAP system using the same types of data entry commands and processes as manual data input. The difference is that batch input transfers data from an electronic storage medium to the SAP database and then inputs data automatically rather than relying on a human end user to input data by hand. Transfer speed and adherence to data integrity rules that ensure data accuracy makes advantages to using batch processing rise in direct proportion to the amount or size of input data.


Batch input is a two-step process that starts with exporting or transferring data from the source system according to the transfer method you choose -- Classical Batch Input or Call Transaction using Call Dialog -- and instructions you provide in a special data transfer computer program. Although each completes the transfer process differently, both transfer data to a common structure called a Batch Data Input Structure or BDCDATA. Depending on the transfer method, the BDCDATA holds data for input later or input to your SAP database takes place immediately.

Classical Batch Input

Classical Batch Input, or CBI, allows you to run a data transfer program multiple times and store the results -- called transactions -- within the BDCDATA in “sessions” for later processing. Updating can take place in the foreground but most often occurs behind the scenes while other programs are running. Although slower, CBI is more appropriate for transferring large amounts of data and because CBI generates a batch input process log for each input session and offers support for finding and correcting process errors.

Call Transaction

Call Transaction Using Call Dialog transfers and processes data for single transactions or each time you run the data transfer application program. As data arrives at the BDCDATA, processing -- committing the data and updating an SAP database -- takes place immediately. Because of this, Call Transaction is appropriate for transferring small amounts of data. In addition, Call Transaction does not generate batch input process logs, meaning there is no support for finding and correcting process errors and you must provide explicit error detection and handling instructions within the data transfer program.

About the Author

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.

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