An Overview of SAP BW/4HANA and Key Considerations When Making the Decision to Migrate

  • by Sergei Peleshuk, SAP BI and HANA Architect
  • April 18, 2017
Learn about SAP BW/4HANA and considerations to evaluate when making the decision to migrate. Understand how the effort of implementing SAP HANA-based enterprise data warehousing empowers companies, leads to greater returns, and reduces total cost of ownership.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article, you will learn about:

  • How to use SAP BW/4HANA and how it is different from traditional SAP BW
  • The features and capabilities of SAP BW/4HANA
  • Migration considerations and evaluating what impact the migration has on the total cost of ownership
Key Concept
As the pace of change increases, the ability to create analytic solutions quickly and effectively can mean the difference between an organization performing or outperforming. The concept of agile data warehousing solves many of the thorny problems typically associated with data warehouse development—most notably high costs, low user adoption, ever-changing business requirements, and the inability to rapidly adapt as business conditions change. SAP BW/4HANA is technically prepared for fast deployments and rapid delivery of complex business analytics scenarios.

SAP BW/4HANA brings a new opportunity for agile enterprise data warehousing (EDW) modeling and fast delivery of business analytics’ requirements for organizations seeking solutions in reporting, planning, dashboarding, Big Data, and predictive and prescriptive analytics. SAP is working on combining SAP HANA and SAP BW into one product, and, today, SAP BW/4HANA is the recommended technology for an EDW platform by SAP.

While SAP BW/4HANA leverages the capabilities of native SAP HANA on large datasets, it also does the following:

  • Simplifies and speeds up data modeling by using reusable master data with texts, hierarchies, and navigational attributes
  • Improves jobs scheduling and monitoring via process chains
  • Offers a simplified approach to modeling and multi-temperature architecture
  • Provides non-cumulative modeling for inventory management and headcount
  • Makes available business content for SAP originating models
  • Offers an analytics manager for faster development of complex queries

SAP BW/4HANA now has an increasingly agnostic focus across the enterprise and is more open to receiving and processing non-SAP and unstructured social media data.  The SAP Business Planning and Consolidation 10.1 embedded model is supported with the SAP BW/4HANA Starter add-on.

Basic knowledge of data warehousing products and/or experience with traditional SAP BW.

What Makes SAP BW/4HANA Different

SAP BW/4HANA is not just a new version of SAP BW. SAP BW/4HANA is only available on the SAP HANA platform, and is not part of SAP NetWeaver—it has been completely rewritten and optimized for SAP HANA. All future innovations are associated with the new product and not with the older series of SAP BW 7.x on SAP HANA. In SAP BW/4HANA, traditional SAP business intelligence (BI) business content is no longer supported. There is new SAP HANA-optimized content instead that leverages the Operational Data Provisioning Framework-based extractors, advanced DataStore objects (DSOs), and CompositeProviders.

If you look at the big picture, including SAP S/4HANA (a recent ERP application from SAP), SAP BW/4HANA is completely independent from and is not a prerequisite for SAP S/4HANA, and vice versa. SAP S/4HANA provides operational reporting for current data from a single SAP application. SAP BW/4HANA delivers a modern data-warehousing environment that allows organizations to report and plan on current, historical, and external data sources from many SAP and non-SAP applications.

Sergei Peleshuk

Sergei Peleshuk has more than 15 years of experience implementing BI technologies for global clients in retail, distribution, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), oil, and gas industries. He has helped clients to design robust BI reporting and planning capabilities, leading them through all project phases: from analysis of requirements to building BI roadmaps, technical architecture, and efficient BI teams. Sergei is an expert in modern BI tools and technologies available on the market, including SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW), SAP HANA, BusinessObjects, and SAP Lumira. Sergei maintains a business intelligence portal at

Sergei will be presenting at the upcoming SAPinsider HANA 2017 conference, June 14-16, 2017, in Amsterdam. For information on the event, click here.

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