A Client is the top-most organizational structure, which has its own set of master records. A Client is denoted by a 3-character alphanumeric code in SAP, and is a mandatory element. The settings made at the Client level, data maintained, etc., are available across all the Company Codes. A Client should have at least one Company Code defined.
SAP comes delivered with Clients 001 and 002, which contain all the default settings. Usually, copying from the default Clients creates additional and new Clients.
Typically, in SAP, you will have different ‘types’ of Clients; namely:
1. Development Client
2. Test Client
3. Production Client
In any implementation, you must have at least three types of Clients as mentioned above. There are some companies where you will have more than three. These include:
Quality Assurance Client
A Development Client is also called a ‘sand box’ Client and is sometimes known as a ‘play’ Client. This is the logical place in the SAP system where you try out new configurations, write new programs, etc. This is the place, as the name suggests, where you can ‘play’ around before
finalizing a scenario for customization.
Once you are okay with the configuration or a new program, you will then move it manually (transport) to the ‘Test Client’ where you will carry out all the tests (both modular and integration). The end-users are provided with the training using the ‘training’ Client. Sometimes both the ‘test’ and ‘training’ Client are in a single ‘instance.’ The ‘quality assurance’ Client helps with necessary quality checks before something is ready to be passed on to the ‘production’ Client.
After satisfactory results, it will be transported (automatically) to the ‘Production Client’ (also called the ‘Golden Client’). You will not be able to make any modifications, manually, to the ‘production’ Client and the authorization is very limited because this Client is responsible for day-to-day business transactions and any issues here will jeopardize all business operations, which is why this is also called the ‘live’ Client.
Do not confuse this term with the ‘Client’ that denotes a customer in normal business parlance