The term Data Lineage broadly refers to details regarding “where is the data coming from” in the BI world. In the SAP NetWeaver BW, it stands for an exciting new feature.
“Data Lineage” feature enables easier access to details pertaining to an SAP DataSource – the name of the extractor, extractor type, the data type of the different fields in the extractor, etc. In short, it provides a wholesome view of the DataSource at one click.
The pre-requisite for using this feature is that the source system should have the software component PI_BASIS (Basis Plug-In) releases 2006.1 (620/640/700/710) or 7xx (701/702/711/720/…).
In the BI system, a source system with the above mentioned PI_BASIS component could be selected in RSA1 transaction and then, the different replicated DataSources could be displayed by clicking on the “DataSources” option. It could be observed that an icon (a question mark and a box) enabled for the DataSources. The icon has a tooltip text “Proof of Origin Of DataSource” and this could also be accessed using the keystrokes Ctrl + Shift + F4.
Clicking on this icon would take the user to the “Statement of Origin” screen where the different fields in the Data Source are displayed (The user will be asked to logon to the source system and valid logon credentials to the source system – with display rights at least – are necessary).
For a DataSource based on a “Transparent table or DB view”, it provides details about the Generic extractor and Extract Structure. Forward navigation is also enabled and the user can directly navigate to the transparent table by clicking on the “Generic extractor” field. It is also possible to navigate to the Extract Structure.
There can be different options here for the “Extraction Method” field. They are as shown below.
Incase of a DataSource based on a Function Module, the “Specific Extractor” displays the name of the Function Module and enables forward navigation to it. If the master data DataSource is defined on a set of domain values, the extractor field takes you to the domain definition.
All details pertaining to the DataSource – including the field description, the Data Type, length of the field etc – are made easily available and this is of immense use, especially during the Data Modelling phase.
With additional integration between SAP Business Objects Metadata Management and SAP NetWeaver BW (scheduled to be available in 2009), more Data Lineage features are planned to come through. For more details, please refer to the latest Product Integration Roadmap (page 33).