BW Performance: Are You Getting the Best Out of Your System?

  • by George Campbell-Kelly, Senior BI Consultant, Bluefin Solutions
  • June 9, 2010
Walk through the process of undertaking a comprehensive performance audit of a BW system, from reviewing your queries to training super users. A variety of improvements, both technical and team-focused, can result from this inside-out and front-to-back guide to managing the performance of a BW system. While individually these changes may have a relatively small effect, together they can lead to a substantial and permanent improvement.
Key Concept
System performance could be described as the “speed at which a system responds to a user’s command.” However, a more useful definition might be “the time in which users can get to the information they need to do their job.”

Unlike SAP ERP, SAP NetWeaver BW does not keep goods moving. Instead, it provides information to improve the business’s decision-making processes. This could be vital information, such as knowing which suppliers should be called because they are not meeting their delivery dates or which products should be re-priced because their manufacturing costs have risen sharply over the previous year.

This business benefit is what keeps users returning to the SAP NetWeaver BW system and determines its success. When managing your system, you should ensure that it offers users the best opportunity to work with the data in an optimal time frame. You need to listen to, support, and educate them. After all, without active users, an SAP NetWeaver BW system becomes nothing more than an unnecessary business overhead.

SAP NetWeaver BW system performance is always a balance between cost and responsiveness. You can always improve performance at additional cost by:

  • Increasing server capacity, such as CPUs and memory
  • Implementing SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse Accelerator
  • Re-designing projects with a revised focus

Plenty of articles have been written about optimum design techniques — but wouldn’t it be great to increase performance without deploying cash-consuming measures? Within a complex IT system, many factors might have an adverse effect on a user’s experience and result in poor performance. Many of these causes can be inexpensive to address and, cumulatively, can have a substantial effect. I discuss the topic of performance in broad terms and look at a variety of techniques, from benchmarking query statistics to training your users, that could improve your system.

George Campbell-Kelly

George Campbell-Kelly is a certified senior BI consultant at Bluefin, the United Kingdom’s largest dedicated SAP consultancy. Since first working with SAP BW in 2000, he has led the delivery of BW systems that operate with SAP R/3, SAP CRM, and Oracle JDE.

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