Migrating from SAP BW to BW/4HANA is a critical step for organizations looking to modernize their data warehousing infrastructure and take advantage of the latest innovations in data processing and analytics, but too often, teams lack the resources and personnel needed to complete a project like this in the most efficient way possible.

This article will explore the benefits of migrating from BW to BW/4HANA, provide an overview of the migration process, and offer key considerations and best practices for a successful migration, as well as help you understand where our team of SAP consultants can come in to help.

Let’s get started!

What is the SAP Business Warehouse?

First introduced in 1997 as the SAP Business Intelligence Warehouse (BIW), an innovative product built to improve data warehousing, management, analysis, and reporting functions, SAP’s data warehouse solution helps companies efficiently analyze and report on data from multiple external data sources and integrate it in one system.

Now coined SAP Business Warehouse (BW), the open, standardized tool allows SAP users to collect and extract data from other systems, consolidate relevant business information, and send it to the internal SAP Business Intelligence (BI) system.

SAP BW enables users to evaluate business data within different reporting and analysis tools to efficiently and effectively distribute information to other systems, making it easier for customers to maintain productive SAP applications across the board.

SAP BW vs SAP BI – What’s the Difference?

SAP BW is SAP’s enterprise data warehouse product used to collect, transform, and consolidate relevant business information from any system or data source. As of SAP Version 7.0, the name of the data warehouse product in SAP has been changed from SAP Business Warehouse to SAP Business Intelligence.

SAP BI not only refers to the data warehouse itself, but also includes the complete set of data modeling and warehousing products used to build a functional business intelligence system across the entire SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.

With improved innovation and collaboration capabilities within the SAP system, the only real difference between SAP BW and SAP BI in modern enterprises is simply the name.

Understanding SAP BW on HANA

By leveraging SAP Business Warehouse functionality on the in-memory SAP HANA database platform, all core data is available in the main memory system, making it easier for users to increase scenario and application performance and reduce total cost of ownership.

Let’s take a closer look at the key components and capabilities of BW on SAP HANA…

Main Components of SAP BW

  • DataStore Objects: Used to store data that has been transformed, cleaned, and merged from multiple sources and provides flexible reporting capabilities that help generate reports in different formats, perform calculations, and provide better insight into information from both SAP and non-SAP data sources.
  • InfoCubes: Offers simplified data modeling tools to help users organize their data into measures (numeric values) and dimensions (qualitative attributes), perform reporting and analysis functions more efficiently, and track changes in data over time.
  • Query Performance: Leverages the column store and in-memory calculation engine to accelerate queries, minimize data transfers to reduce replication across data sources, create and maintain appropriate indexes on database tables, and design optimized data models to ensure users can access information where and when they need it.

Transitioning to SAP BW/4HANA

When it comes to making the most of your SAP investment and optimizing data warehousing and modeling capabilities across the entire enterprise, SAP BW/4HANA is your answer.

BW/4HANA is SAP’s latest and greatest data warehouse solution designed to help users meet historical and operational data analytics needs and eliminate expensive data movement and replication across data silos in your organization.

BW/4HANA combines capabilities across SAP S/4HANA and the SAP HANA platform to offer a more modern interface for improved user productivity and provides functional data lifecycle features to allow for the automatic distribution of data across storage areas and improve query response time for data warehousing functions.

With BW/4HANA, SAP users, developers, and administrators are enabled to…

  • Deploy solutions on-premise or in the cloud for improved agility and performance
  • Leverage lean implementation and adoption of new processes for better decision-making
  • Reduce cost of ownership and improve scalability with cloud capabilities
  • Eliminate roadblocks between data analysis functions and actual operations
  • Use open SQL support to build SAP HANA models on top of BW/4HANA models
  • Simplify data modeling, warehousing, and governance functions to improve data management and deliver actionable, real-time insights across teams

Key Steps for BW4HANA Migration

The process of moving from SAP BW to BW/4HANA involves a few key steps, including…

1) Current Process Assessment

The first step of a successful BW/4HANA transformation involves assessing your current SAP BW system and processes, identifying the data objects and reports that need to be migrated to BW/4HANA, and outlining a budget and timeline for the next steps of the migration process.

2) Data Preparation

The data preparation process involves ensuring that all the data necessary for the migration is cleaned, transformed, and consolidated correctly, including checking the compatibility of data objects with the target system and converting them if necessary.

3) Technical Migration

This step involves moving the data objects, processes, and reports from the existing SAP BW system to the BW/4HANA platform, including key steps like core system installation, process configuration, and data transfer across systems and teams.

4) Functional Verification

From testing the migrated data objects to running preliminary reports, verifying the compatibility of custom code, making any necessary coding modifications, and everything in between, functional verification is a critical step in ensuring everything functions correctly in the new BW/4HANA system.

6) Deployment and Training

The final step involves deploying the new system and providing post-implementation support to users, including conducting personalized training sessions for new users, monitoring system performance across teams, and addressing any issues with the functionality, agility, or flexibility of the system in the long run.

How Can We Help?

Whether you need help using the implementing a new BW/4HANA solution with the “greenfield approach”, an extra hand navigating online analytical processing functions to extract and report on data from your SAP systems, or additional support migrating your data from SAP BW to BW/4HANA, Surety Systems is here to help.

Our team of senior-level SAP consultants has the technical development skills and functional expertise needed to help you consolidate business information from virtually any source system in one place, optimize SAP business processes, and make the most of your investment.

Getting Started with Our Team

Interested in learning more about our SAP consulting services? Ready to optimize business processes within your SAP ERP system and make the most of your intuitive business intelligence solutions in the long run?

Contact us today to get started with our team of expert SAP consultants!