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

SAP BW/4HANA: The next generation of Business Warehouse revolutionizes data management and analysis to help you respond faster to market changes and give you a clear competitive advantage. Accelerate decisions, optimize data quality and design an agile data architecture that equips your company for the future.

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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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For whom is SAP BW/4HANA suitable?

SAP BW/4HANA is of interest to all companies that want to build up a central system as the basis for strategic reporting and planning, and thereby draw their data from various SAP and non-SAP systems. Customers with existing BW solutions benefit from various improvements and thanks to the various migration paths, existing developments can be taken over.

SAP BW/4HANA is a high-performance and agile on-premise data warehousing solution. Whether SAP BW/4HANA is the right business warehouse for you depends on many factors. It’s also important to choose the migration path that is most appropriate for your company. It’s worthwhile!

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…)

Simplicity

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.

We will be glad to help you with an upgrade.

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

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

LSA++architecture

Most of the existing data flow in SAP BW can—and should—be simplified in SAP BW/4HANA by leveraging LSA++ principles and the ability to directly access data in the staging/propagation layer without sacrificing performance.

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SAP BW/4HANA architecture

Data from various sources (SAP and non-SAP) can be integrated into SAP BW/4HANA via a large number of interfaces. Within SAP BW/4HANA, multidimensional modeled data sets can be prepared for analysis using persistent and virtual data models. The data models can then be used in other SAP BI products, such as the SAP Analytics Cloud or the SAP BusinessObjects Cloud. Third-party BI systems can also be used.

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SAP BW/4HANA cockpit

The SAP BW/4HANA cockpit is an intuitive, web-based user interface based on the SAP Fiori Launchpad paradigm. It contains various SAP Fiori apps organized in groups for process chain modeling, monitoring, and management of InfoProviders. It can be easily adapted to your specific needs and works on traditional laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

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SAP BW modeling tools

Since SAP BW 7.4 powered by SAP HANA and also with SAP BW/4HANA, SAP has introduced a modeling environment for SAP BW in Eclipse. This tool set (BWMT) provides a common user experience through a single, unified modeling environment:

  • Attractive, flexible, and simplified BW modeling tools
  • Integration of BW and HANA models in one modeling tool
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Modelling possibilities in SAP BW/4HANA

With SAP BW/4HANA you can decide freely how you want to model. As in previous releases, you can model completely in BW. In addition, you can also model natively on SAP HANA and consume the calculation views in BW. This means that employees with SQL experience can also gain direct entry into SAP BW/4HANA.

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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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Your Contact

Marcel Beckmann, valantic Business Analytics

Marcel Beckmann

SAP Analytics Manager
CoE Lead Data Warehouse