Ask the SAP Financials Expert Should I Report in CO-PA or BW?

  • by Mitresh Kundalia, Director — SAP Practice, Quality Systems & Software
  • January 15, 2005
You have a choice of of three approaches when reporting on CO-PA data: You can report using CO-PA, Business Information Warehouse (BW), or both.
Key Concept

Dear SAP Financials Expert,

What is the best way to report on Profitability Analysis (CO-PA) data? Should I integrate CO-PA with Business Information Warehouse (BW)?

— IT Manager, California

Thank you for the question. Many factors are involved in deciding which reporting tool to use. Some of the key factors may be your reporting strategy, underlying technology, IT infrastructure of the organization, data volume, report presentation, content and focus of data, data usage, and business communities served. Also, some factors may be specific to your company — type of industry, organizational structure, and cultural background.

When it comes to reporting CO-PA information, you should consider three common approaches:

  • Reporting in BW only
  • Reporting in CO-PA only
  • Reporting in CO-PA and BW

BW Reporting

SAP's future trend is to move all analytical and strategic reporting into BW because of its inherent technological advantages. The R/3 system acts as an online transaction processing (OLTP) system, whereas BW is an online analytical processing (OLAP) system. This means that the underlying processor that executes the commands in each system was designed for two distinct purposes. R/3 is designed to execute transactions, such as sales order creation, whereas BW's processor is meant to analyze data. BW supports complex reporting requirements including cross-application reporting, and it provides significant reporting performance improvement, especially with large data volumes.

Mitresh Kundalia

Mitresh Kundalia heads the SAP practice at Quality Systems & Software ( QS&S is a leading business and technology consulting firm that specializes in delivering superior IT solutions using SAP products. Mitresh is widely acknowledged as a leading SAP expert and has worked on various SAP assignments, including strategic planning, fresh implementations, upgrades, and post-go-live support projects. With an MBA degree in finance, Mitresh manages SAP projects with a special focus on customer-focused solutions, management reporting, profitability analysis, SAP General Ledger, and business intelligence. He is a regular contributor at SAP events and publications and technical advisor to leading journals.

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