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You probably already knew that SAP NetWeaver BI offers optimized access to SAP applications (such as mySAP ERP). Be it a batch-oriented data load or real-time access to the operational systems, the pre-defined DataSources greatly facilitate the data extraction. Thousands of customers worldwide rely everyday on those extractors, along with the transformation and loading capabilities of the platform.

What you perhaps did not know is that the vast majority of all SAP NetWeaver BI implementations (estimations say ~95% of all implementations) also involve the extraction and loading of data from non-SAP applications (such as applications or BI systems). Whether for migration of historical data or for daily or hourly movement of application data, access to any sort of data is the rule rather than the exception. And the volumes of this data are not insignificant; in many cases more than 50% of all data comes from non-SAP systems, and in some cases it’s even 100% (customers using SAP NetWeaver BI without any active SAP application running).

In order to satisfy this increasingly strong demand for scalable, secure and simple ETL processes for any type of data, prior releases of SAP have significantly enhanced the ETL capabilities of SAP NetWeaver BI. Most prominently you will now find an adapter framework, which can deal with virtually any type of technical source connection via JDBC, ODBC or XML/A. Also, native adapters to most databases are supported, as well as well-known flat file loads and the business application program interface – the BAPI. For trickle feed, the XML interfaces do the trick, especially in conjunction with the capability of SAP NetWeaver Exchange Infrastructure (SAP NetWeaver XI).

There are also over ten ETL tools from 3rd party vendors now certified for SAP NetWeaver BI (or even powered by SAP NetWeaver). Although SAP no longer resells any 3rd party ETL product, there has been no change is SAP’s commitment to partner with any of the certified providers to deliver the most integrated and complete BI solution to its customers. It is this certification that ensures solid technical integration between the products as well as full vendor support. The complete listing of certified partners can be found at http://www.sap.com/softwarepartnerdir/.

In summary, SAP NetWeaver BI offers exciting opportunities for data coming from any type of data source, and I would encourage you to familiarize yourself with them. More information can be found in the online help, under http://help.sap.com/saphelp_nw04/helpdata/en/e9/6bf2d90e533f409ee56d3f586c325a/content.htm.

This article was co-authored by Lothar Schubert and Karen Comer.

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