Integrate Custom Development with Standard BI Content to Reduce System Maintenance

  • by Satish Voona, BI Architect/Techno-Functional, Independent Consultant
  • March 31, 2010
Discover the necessary development activities that BI developers must carry out during the functional and technical design phases of a project life cycle. These tasks ensure that system redundancy is optimized to reduce system maintenance costs. In addition, the tasks enable you to maintain a single version of the truth for sharable master data.
Key Concept
SAP NetWeaver BW uses an InfoObject as the basic element to build InfoProviders. However, unlike a field, InfoObjects are data containers that can exist on their own. In addition to technical characteristics of a field, you can define an InfoObject to store sharable data across InfoProviders. Often this sharable data corresponds to master data in transactional source systems.

If you do not integrate custom development in SAP NetWeaver BW with existing BI functionality (including standard BI content), you risk redundant data storage or loss of functionality. For example, say you are required to load external, non-SAP system data that contains field material. You create a custom object, ZMATERIAL, to store material instead of using the 0MATERIAL InfoObject. This defeats the purpose of SAP NetWeaver BW because of the following two reasons:

  • If you create ZMATERIAL as a master data object with all material attributes, you must maintain two master data objects for the material. This can lead to expensive system maintenance down the line because of multiple versions and difficulty in reconciliation of material-related key performance indicators (KPIs) such as inventory.
  • If you create ZMATERIAL as a simple object instead of a master data InfoObject, InfoProviders with ZMATERIAL lose visibility to material master data attributes resulting in an inefficient data model.

One of the core features of SAP NetWeaver BW is that it facilitates an environment in which you can integrate data elements across functional areas for analytical and operational reporting using the extended star schema concept. Integration enables you to share master data across InfoProviders.

Satish Voona

Satish Voona has a master’s degree in industrial engineering. He has more than 17 years of experience with SAP systems as a BI architect, process expert, multi-dimensional modeling expert, and subject matter expert in PS, SD, MM, FI/CO, CRM and HR, especially in the SAP professional services industry solution and ABAP. His focus is on business intelligence, decision support, data mining, and business planning for SAP and non-SAP systems. Satish is also SAP BW-certified with more than nine years of  BI full life cycle project execution experience as a techno-functional consultant and architect. In addition to leading business requirements gathering, Satish also carries out detailed data modeling, blueprint, realization, integration, and system testing phases of several SAP BW implementations.

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