Transferring the data between any Enterprise resource planning environment has become a challenging task. Exchange of business data without causing errors is a necessary task. To perform this task successfully, a popular ERP module is used that is commonly known as SAP core interface (CIF). In this blog, you will be learning the objectives of CIF, configuration, and key design features of CIF. let’s get started;

SAP CIF (core interface) - a beginner’s guide

  • Introduction to SAP core interface (CIF):

SAP core interface (CIF) is a standard interface that helps to connect various APO, SAP E/3 systems, and also SAP SCM (supply chain management) systems. The main functionalities of the SAP CIF are to integrate the master data from the SAP ECC environment into SCM APO in a unidirectional way. In a few cases, the SAP core interface also integrates the transaction data in a bidirectional way. The basic idea behind the integration of business data is to write about the events for the modification of each planning data. For example; creating an order, and any trigger while transferring the data. In general, the transaction of data can be done vis RFC (Remote functional call) in SAP. 

  • The business objectives of SAP CIF( core interface):

In the introduction section, you have learned the importance of using the SAP core interface. Now let’s talk about the core objectives of SAP CIF;

  • The main objective of the SAP core interface is to integrate the centralized master data from SAP ECC to SCM APO.
  • Enables the organization to publish the planning result from the SCM APO system to the SAP online transaction processing (OLTP) ECC system. 
  • SAP CIF plays a vital role in maintaining the data consistency, data flow for planning, executing the planning for better outcomes, and the optimum level of inventory plan.
  • The Core interface configuration also performs sufficient transactional data transfer and delta data transfer for master data modification.

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  • The core functionalities of the SAP CIF (Core interface):

The below are the key functionalities of the SAP CIF, they are;

  • The SAP CIF supplies the master and transactional data, relevant for planning, and SAP APO system configuration.
  • The SAP CIF techniques are widely used in initial, real-time data transfer, and incremental from SAP ECC to SCM APO system.
  • Publishing techniques for requirements planning while data transactions between the SAP and SCM system.
  • Key designing areas of SAP core interface (CIF):
    In this section you will be learning the core designing areas of SAP CIF:
  • The technical integration between the SAP ECC and SCM APO (or commonly known as CIF configuration).
  • Integration of master as well as transactional data (this includes the
  • Core interface error handling methods and queue management.

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  • Integration via SAP CIF (core interface):

The important points to be noted down;

  • Determine the source data and target system to implement them in the complex system environment.
  • Helps in the initial transfer of master data from the enterprise resource planning.
  • If the system is SAP advanced planning and data optimization, the core interface offers the following sub functionalities;
  • Data transfer of the planning and relevant data transactions and changes in the transaction of data.
  • Return of the data planning results from the SAP APO.

Tools being used for administering the data transfer.

Core interface customization in the ERP system

The SAP core interface customizes the ERP environment, sets up the system infrastructure, and also helps to configure the transaction of data in both directions. The customization of the Core interface also covers the application specific and enhancements. 

The implementation guide is also available for the Core interface customization. This implementation guide offers you a clear idea and explanation of all the necessary steps required for the integration of the Core interface and also relevant transaction codes to execute the actions.

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Features included are;

In general, there are three basic steps included in the implementation guide, let me explain them one by one; 

  • The basic steps are included in the creation of the system landscape.
    In this basic step, you are able to find all the necessary steps to communicate with the partner systems. The partner systems can be of any type such as the naming logical systems, Remote functional call naming, and qRFC settings.
  • The next step includes the basic steps required for the data transfer.
    Here you are able to get all the implementation guide information about the data transfers such as initial data transfer, and change transfers.
  • The final step included are application specific settings and system enhancements:
    In this step, you are able to find the information about customer exits, BADIs (business add-ons), and important settings needed for the individual applications.


In this section, we are going to give a rough idea about how to set up the core interface customization in the ERP environment.

  •  If you already have SAP R/3 4.0 or 4.5 -> then call the implementation guide.
  • Or you can also find an implementation guide through -> integration with SAP R/3 components -> then click on advanced planning and optimizations.
  • Then go for a relevant setting to perform customization of the core interface in the ERP environment.
  • To know more about important transaction codes which are used to perform the configuration follow the link;

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Core interface customization in the SCM (supply chain management) system:

As we mentioned in the previous section, the main aim is to customize the core interface in the supply chain management to set up the infrastructure, and also configure the data transfer between the SAP R/3 and SCM systems. Customization of the CIF also covers the application-specific settings and business structure enhancements. 

The implementation guide is also available for the core interface customization in the SCM system. This type of implementation guide also gives you a clear overview and explains the necessary steps required to perform the tasks. With the help of an implementation guide, you are also able to get the overall description, transaction codes being used, and execution of the Core interface.

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Features included are;

The implementation guide consists of three major parts;

  • The basic steps that are required to set up the system landscape. 
    In this step, you are able to find all the implementation guides required for the partner system to communicate with each other the core interface. The examples are; naming the logical systems, naming of the remote function call, and making of the qRFC settings.
  • The next step included are basic settings that are required to perform data transfer.
     Here you can find the implementation guide steps included for the data transfer.
  • The final steps included are application-specific settings and enhancements.
    Here you are able to find the Business add-ins (BADIs), customer exists, and individual application settings. 
  • If your SCM system is advanced planning and optimization -> go to SAP reference -> then select integration with SAP component-> integration through the core interface.
  •  Suppose if you are working within the SAP reference implementation guide -> choose the SCM basis -> integration. 

A quick introduction to the integration model:

An integration model controls the transfer of both master and transaction data. It is generated only in the ERP system and consists of all the data that are required to transfer in the SCM system. This is commonly identified by the name and application settings.

The main purpose of using the integration model is to transfer the data from the ERP system to the SCM system. All these data objects are specified in the integration model. 

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SAP core interface is a very important functional module that enables users to transfer the data between the SAP R/3 and SCM systems. With the help of the core interface, organizations are able to integrate the master data as well as transactional data. This article will give a complete idea about CIF’s business objectives, core functionalities, and data integration. I hope this article may help a few SAP communities, and online portals to learn and explore the SAP core interface concepts.

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Kavya Gowda
Kavya Gowda
Research Analyst
Kavya works for HKR Trainings institute as a technical writer with diverse experience in many kinds of technology-related content development. She holds a graduate education in the Computer science and Engineering stream. She has cultivated strong technical skills from reading tech blogs and also doing a lot of research related to content. She manages to write great content in many fields like Programming & Frameworks, Enterprise Integration, Web Development, SAP, and Business Process Management (BPM). Connect her on LinkedIn and Twitter.