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 (, a consulting firm specializing in SAP S/4HANA, SAP General Ledger, and complex System Landscape Optimization (SLO)-type reorganizations. Mitresh is widely acknowledged as a leading SAP expert, with multiple publications and an SAP-PRESS book to his credit. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and white papers, and he has given presentations at various SAP conferences and events. Mitresh is the chief solutions architect of General Ledger Migration Optimizer (GLMO), a leading product to accelerate and jump-start the SAP S/4HANA and SAP General Ledger initiatives; SAP Data Reorganization Optimizer (SDRO), an SLO-type product for managing complex system landscape reorganizations; and Group Currency Activation and Conversion (GCAC), a product suite to manage introduction of parallel currencies and conversion of data in a live SAP system.

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