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SAP BW/4HANA: The End-to-End Data Warehouse

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Future-proof on-premise data warehousing

What ist SAP BW/4HANA?

SAP BW/4HANA is the latest generation of the classic SAP BW and is based completely on the in-memory database SAP HANA. This business warehouse follows the single-point-of-truth approach and is thus the central starting point for company reporting. BW/4 is not only a new release, but a new development in its own right and brings with it many innovations as well as simplifications.

Data from heterogeneous internal and external sources can be harmonized, consolidated, and archived. SAP BW/4HANA manages all types of data, whether from SAP applications or other systems, structured or unstructured, and it provides access to all models through an open SQL interface. This business warehouse thus offers companies a harmonized view of all business areas and enables the comparison of data from a wide variety of different sources in real time. In addition, historical data in the business warehouse provides a solid basis for business planning. With a comprehensive data warehouse approach, Big Data, and machine learning capabilities, SAP BW/4HANA will accelerate your business: Maybe it’s even worthwhile for you to switch to SAP BW/4HANA today!

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Why is it worth switching?

Compared to previous SAP Business Warehouse versions, SAP BW/4HANA offers several new features and benefits. The number of object types has been cleaned up and reduced to the HANA optimized InfoProvider and source system types. Thus, they not only exploit the full performance potential of SAP HANA’s in-memory technology, but they also simplify the formation of complex data models. The introduction of new objects also lays the foundation for the future of data warehousing because persistence can be reduced and replaced by new virtual layers. This not only saves storage space costs and reduces the effort required for projects, but it also increases flexibility and speed in modeling.

This development is additionally stimulated by the introduction of new concepts, such as field-based modeling. It facilitates the rapid implementation and testing of new use cases without having to model a large number of info objects. SAP BW/4HANA also offers the option of accessing source data in real time via remote connections and using it for reporting purposes. The modeling of data flows is now done exclusively in modern Eclipse-based interfaces. Data management and administrative tasks are carried out in the web-based BW Cockpit. BW/4HANA is also SAP’s strategic tool for on-premise data warehousing. In the current SAP road map, maintenance is guaranteed until 2040 and the solution will be enhanced with regular releases.

Key features

HANA platform

SAP BW/4HANA is based entirely on the SAP HANA database. The switch to the in-house database ensures a uniform integration of the data into the BW and enables Big Data analyses as well as real-time processing.

Variety of interfaces

There are many integration possibilities. In addition to SAP systems via ODP and the SAP cloud platform, SAP Data Hub and SAP Data Services can be integrated. HANA can be expanded to include almost any database through SAP Smart Data Integration (SDI) and SAP Smart Data Access (SDA). (Hadoop, Oracle…)


6 of the 10 modeling objects are omitted in SAP BW/4HANA. This makes the modeling process considerably simpler. Furthermore, field-based modeling allows you to develop faster and more appropriately than the usual star schema.

Business content

With the installation of SAP BW/4HANA, it is already possible to profit from the SAP business content delivered. The option to build on already validated standardized models saves both time and money. The models provided cover a wide range of possible applications and follow the current LSA++ architecture.

Your path to SAP BW/4HANA

There are different approaches for converting an existing SAP Business Warehouse solution to SAP BW/4HANA. The different approaches all have their respective strengths and weaknesses. The best approach is therefore always selected for each company after a thorough consideration of individual requirements and special features.

Important factors include the version of the current solution and existing business and reporting requirements, as well as time and cost factors. In addition, the company’s system environment has to be considered as a whole. If, for example, the migration of the existing ERP system to an SAP S/4HANA system is imminent, this should be included in the decision. Another point is the handling of legacy systems. Especially with long-standing SAP BW solutions, the update to BW/4HANA can provide a starting point for examining existing data models and deleting data that is no longer required.

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Migration paths

More than half of our customers pursue a pure SAP BW/4HANA greenfield approach, i.e. we start together with the customer on a newly installed system and build the data warehouse from scratch.


In-place conversion takes your existing SAP BW environment (maintaining the same SID) through a transition process that gradually transfers data models and flows to SAP BW/4HANA-compliant objects. The prerequisite is SAP BW 7.5 powered by SAP HANA, the last major release of SAP BW.

Remote conversion

Remote conversions are based on new installations of SAP BW/4HANA. This approach is unique in that no whole legacy system needs to be converted. Whether you are running SAP BW on SAP HANA or another database, remote conversion allows you to define the scenarios you want to convert in a legacy system. These scenarios are then transferred to your new installation and converted accordingly. You can then continue to transfer data between your old and new installation.

Remote conversion is available starting with SAP BW 7.3. It also has the advantage that only the objects that will still be relevant in the future are transferred, which saves you the work required to convert your database. It thus offers the possibility to build a clean system, leave old and unused objects behind, and migrate them to the SAP BW/4HANA system.

Shell conversion

If you want a fresh start, i.e. you prefer a greenfield approach, a shell conversion might be the best for you. It is available for releases 7.0 to 7.5 and works like a remote conversion using a parallel SAP BW/4HANA landscape. The shell conversion does not include the transfer and synchronization of existing data records. Instead, at your option, you can load data from the original sources, load data from the original SAP BW system, or simply ignore historical data and start over.

Insights into SAP BW/4HANA

What we can offer you

We are experts in data warehousing, migration, and analytics. We support you from your initial contact with the new technologies through requirements analysis and conception to the implementation of your individual data architecture. We will be happy to answer all of your questions and advise you as to how you can reap the greatest benefit from your data!

Our offering | valantic data house

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Questions that our customers are asking

How are SAP BW/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA related?

SAP BW/4HANA is completely independent of SAP S/4HANA. Customers don’t have to implement one to take advantage of the other. SAP S/4HANA Analytics can be used for operational reporting of data coming directly from S/4HANA systems. SAP BW/4HANA, on the other hand, is an advanced data warehouse that can be used to report on current, historical, and external data from a variety of SAP and non-SAP sources.

Is SAP BW/4HANA only for customers who already use SAP?

No, it can be used for all data warehousing requirements, for data from both SAP and non-SAP sources.

APDs are widely used in our system. Will they still work in SAP BW/4HANA?

APDs are not supported in SAP BW/4HANA. In addition to the transfer cockpit, SAP provides an additional tool for migrating APDs (on process chains in the SAP BW/4HANA system). For more details on using this tool, refer to the conversion guide provided to the customer when installing the transfer cockpit.

We have several planning applications in our BW system that use BW-IP. Will these planning applications work in SAP BW/4HANA?

Yes. In SAP BW/4HANA, integrated planning is now referred to as BPC Embedded. After the migration of the planning objects and the dependent BW model, the planning applications will continue to function as before. But planning applications based on BPS are not supported in SAP BW/4HANA. They should be manually converted/reconfigured to use BPC Embedded in SAP BW/4HANA

Are 3x data streams supported in SAP BW/4HANA?

No. 3x flows are not supported in SAP BW/4HANA, so they must be converted to 7x flows before migration. Starting with BW 7.3, SAP provided a tool (RSMIGRATE) for the migration of 3x data streams to 7x data streams, with which several streams can be migrated at once.


What happens to our existing queries, workbooks, bookmarks, and web templates?

SAP Business Explorer (BEx) is no longer supported. This means that you can no longer use the BEx Query Designer, the BEx Analyzer (workbooks), and the BEx Web Application Designer (Web Templates/Bookmarks) with SAP BW/4HANA. Existing BW queries will continue to work in SAP BW/4HANA, but in the future they will have to be maintained with the SAP BW/4HANA modeling tools.

Your Contact

Marcel Beckmann, valantic Business Analytics

Marcel Beckmann

Principal Consultant