Characteristics are the basic building blocks of the SAP Classification system. They describe the types of values that classified objects can have, and define dimensions, data types like character, numeric, currency or date/time, and allowed values.
As a simple example, a characteristic for a car class might be VMAX. It would define a numeric value with a preset unit of measure that might be miles per hour or kilometers per hour.
Characteristics in the SAP Classification System have edition statuses. They can be In Preparation, meaning they are not ready for use yet. After bringing them to the status Released, Characteristics can be used in Classes. In status Locked, they cannot be assigned to new classes, but can be used in classes that they have already been assigned to.
Characteristics have various integration points in the SAP ERP system. They are not only used in the SAP Classification System, but also in several other areas, for example: