SAP BW/4HANA: Is it Right for Me?

Category: SAP BW/4HANA Training Posted:Sep 21, 2017 By: Ashley Morrison

SAP BW4_HANA_ Is it Right for Me

Ever since SAP came out with its offering for Business Warehouse Applications called BW/4HANA. According to the HANA roadmap SAP BW/4HANA has been a major talking point for all enterprises large and small across the world. While the perspective on such a change may vary with each individual, here is a balanced opinion on the product which has captured everyone’s attention over the past few months.

What is BW/4 HANA?

The next generation of logical data warehouse or LDW solution is what SAP BW/4HANA alludes to. It is an enhancement over the previous SAP BW on HANA which was aka SAP BW on HANA which is wholly optimized and custom fit to be executed exclusively on the SAP HANA platform. It has been architected to be a high-performing, highly simplified, open platform for legacy and historic enterprise data. The first version of BW/4HANA released will be cloud-based and cloud ready and all the other versions such as on premise or managed cloud one will have to download it from the AWS cloud. Examples for managed cloud are HEC, IBM Softlayer and more.

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What is the motivation for SAP to create BW/4 HANA?

SAP Clients had a lot to say about SAP BW until the year 2011 in terms of data integration problems, performance issues were the bone of contention in this department. Post the introduction of SAP’s revolutionary high performing “columnar’ database named as HANA, the client community heaved a sigh of collective relief.  This saw most such clients migrate to BW to HANA DB which was called as SAP BW on HANA. But even such a migration came with problems such as the data structures being too complex for maintenance, lack of reduction in the data footprint – meaning that HANA investment was turning into something more expensive in terms of investment. Addressing such pain points included taking the very step in the direction of simplification with announcing the SAP BW 7.5 powered by HANA. This was a giant step in the year 2016 with enhanced capabilities being run wholly on HANA platform in the form of an open data warehousing solution.

Impact to the customer base

While the existing customers will not be immediately affected by the move to BW/4 HANA, a thorough impact analysis coupled with a use case is needed to correctly recognize the opportunity to shift to BW/4HANA. But as already it is known that brand new customers will find it to be in their best interests to choose SAP BW/4HANA right off the bat.

Want to Know more about SAP BW/4HANA

For Customers running SAP BW on any DB such as Oracle DB2 and more:

The first thing to keep in mind is whether the BW/4HANA shift is needed in the first place or it is needed to migrate of the current version of SAP BW. Post completion of the migration one will have to analyse if there exists a large number of old object types (read as soon to be obsolete) which exists in the system. If the answer to the above question is yes, then it is feasible to migrate to BW/4HANA to use the conversion tools needed to transform old object types to the new types.  This conversion will lead to the reduction of data latency and a boost in terms of data virtualization, therefore minimizing the comprehensive warehouse data footprint.

Customers running SAP BW on HANA

Existing Customers of BW on HANA will find it highly essential to run a system performance analysis before the decision in made to shift to BW/4HANA. If you as a customer have already implemented LSA++ (Layered Scalable Architecture++) concepts, then there may not be an urgent need to shift to BW/4 HANA. Customers who have implemented LSA++ will have seen the advantages of minimized data footprint. Therefore, the customer base will see that the motivation to move to BW/4HANA is to work upon openness with BW/4 HANA which is needed for Big Data Integration.

In case of a greenfield implementation, or a an implementation for a new customer, starting the data warehousing process includes bringing in the next generation logical data warehouse or SAP BW/4HANA


It is suggested for clients to take a more detailed look at the current SAP BW system and contrast it with what BW/4HANA offers with regard to high performance, openness and simplicity. The next step would be to strategize the Data warehousing needs and future growth, followed by ensuring if the existing data warehousing solution can hold out and perform for the coming five years with either the same or a minimizes TCO or Total Cost of Ownership. Such impact analysis will make the road map clear with the answer lying within the said analysis itself!

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