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Important Name Change for Netweaver BI

For clarification, in 2008, SAP used the term “business intelligence” in two ways:

  • SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions
  • SAP NetWeaver BI

In order to remove confusion, the term business intelligence is now associated only with the solutions from the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio.

SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence (BI) is no longer used and instead we refer to the following:

  • SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW)
  • SAP Business Explorer (SAP BEx)
  • SAP NetWeaver BW Accelerator (BWA)

We hope this helps clear up the confusion.

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  • Please, please, Stop all these permanent name changes. They add so much to the confusion.

    In this specific case, it is so ironiuc to come back to the original name.

    To be able to find appropriate SAP notes, people need to know the history of name changes of all SAP products.
    Check the SDN forums to see all the questions generated that all the name changes that customers don't understand...

    • Yes, name changes do cause confusion but hopefully they clear up more than they cause.  We heard repeatedly from customers -- and especially from the user groups -- that the distinction between SAP NW BI and SAP BusinessObjects BI was confusing.  To disambiguate, we went back to the original names which more clearly position BW.
      • Ok, Then you have to update all BW/BI/BIW SAP notes and Sapservice download area to take in account this new name change.

        I'm sure that you loose a lot of potential customers just because of this name changing which scare them.

        You would not believe the time that we spend internally to explain these permanent name changes...

      • Hi Jonathan,

        Appreciate your time in clarifying the ambiguity on BI/BW name.But please also understand that we have to take lot of time to explain to the customers on this name change and convince them on the change ,from BIW --> BW --> BI ---> BW ( now ) .

        Hope this name continues for some time.


  • It took a couple of years for most people to get used to calling SAP BI, instead of SAP BW. Now it's being changed back to SAP BW? We still have the masses calling SAP Process Integration (SAP PI) by its former name of SAP Exchange Infrastructure (SAP XI)

    Frankly, many comments have been floating around that the term data warehouse, or in this case Business Warehouse, is a dank, cavernous place where individual pieces of data go to sit on a shelf only to be pulled once in awhile and then to be put away again until needed.

    If you really think about it, the Business Objects Rapid Marts is really a data warehouse because it just a bunch of flat tables suitable for detailed reporting. Sure, you can create summary or analytical reports with this data, but you either have to query all of the data to summarize it, or you have to create SID tables and columns in order to create a star schema out of the structures. Both have performance implications where you’d have to pick your poison: Do you take the performance hit on the query for creating the summary data or do you take the hit on data loads because of the lookups and such that would need to be done to build all of the SIDs? On the other hand, the SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse is truly Business Intelligence because it was made more for analytics than operational type reporting.

    So, when will this rebranding madness end? Will it be about another year or so when SAP PI is rebranded as SAP XI?

    • Dennis-

      Any name change causes confusion but hopefully it clears up more than it causes.  In this case, customers (especially the user groups) told us that the naming collision between SAP NW BI and SAP BusinessObjects BI was a very big issue.  After must research, we decided to go back the original naming of BW which more clearly articulates its role.  Some warehouses may not feel as bright as they should but perhaps new technology and tools can make them feel more lightweight.

  • I am in a project where everyone calls SAP's middleware product "XI" when in theory it is now called PI.
    Just to confuse matters I belive Business Objects also has a product called XI.
    BW has had about six different names in the past - it was once called BIW (Business Information Warehouse) hence transaction SBIW.
    The portal has gone through a similar series of name upheavels.
    I also find it funny that XI 3.0 suddenly became XI 7.0, in the same way Solution Manager 4.0 become Solution Manager 7.0. The product did not change, just the name.
    I wonder if the sales people at SAP realise just how much of a worldwide laughing stock this behaviour makes them appear.
  • Sorry, but this name change brings more new confusion - than light.
    People can distinguish between SAP BI Bex and SAP BO BI Products. BO Products inlude BO.
    For SAP Customers the big and complex BO Portfolio is much harder then BI/BW.
    And they Idea to rename Polestar into Explorer should be even easier to unterstand - sorry but don´t you think explorer is overused in IT/SAP World ? Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer, SAP BI Business Explorer...

    Stop concentrating on Renamings which should make things easier....they don´t!

  • This is another example how bad the marketing department for SAP has messed around with naming conventions with no fundamental technical basis.

    Personally why did we have to give "cute version names" like Netweaver 2004s, or CRM 2006s, or CRM 2007 when all it does is cause FUD (fear, uncertainity, and doubt) among the end-users.

    Sticking with numeric versions that correspond to reality, vs some imaginary marketing visions would really serve us all well.  This renaming just shows once again that you don't understand or care about your customer base.

    Then again why not have 10% to 20% of the questions on SCN be related to naming conventions being confusing.  It definitely allows you to sell more consulting services, to explain the names being used.

    Then again I'm from St. Louis where once something gets a name, we use it regardless of whether the name changes.  Sorry folks it is not interstate 64, but highway 40. 

    Take care,


    • Yet another example of the pure naming management for me is the "New GL". 6 years down the line, will it still be called "New"? And then when SAP will come with next major version of GL, how will it call it? "Newest GL"? 😉
  • Maybe SAP could have posed a question here on what SCNers feel about such a name change before it was implemented. SCN has a very large population of BI/BW experts who could have provided good input.

    I am yet to see one person who is nt confused by this - clients, colleagues all included.

  • ... SOA->ESA->ESOA->SOA

    and the massive but predictable confusion those gratuitous, marketing only founded acronyms caused.

    I really believe that those unmindful name changes are responsible for a measurable extent of decreased adoption rate of service oriented architecture principles in the SAP user community. And I hope, the responsible SAP management is listening to this kind of reactions and made aware of what damage their product managers every now and then cause.

  • Why is it, that SAP is bringing even more confusion into its BI products when BI itself is a complex topic in its own? And why does SAP tell people about the name change just now, six months later?
    Lets say, for years you drive a Volkswagen Golf and you really like your car. How would you feel, if VW launched the next version not as Golf but Timbuktu? Would you not be confused, check other cars on the market and buy a Porsche 911 instead? Because what was 911 in the past, will always be 911 in future, too.
    SAP BW is a great software - but SAP's marketing is hopelessly poor unfortunately...!
  • So what are we working with? What will be the common word for business intelligence and datawarehousing? To me we make Business Intelligence solutions in BW, so to me Business Intelligence (BI) is not about technology from BO or SAP but about a process and it is a mistake to limit BI to BO, it makes no sence, sorry.

    With Kind Regards
    Kristian Appel

    • Kristian-

      We are following the same naming conventions used by many market analysts, including IDC. The overall market is for data analysis technologies, which IDC defines as including data warehouse systems, business intelligence (BI) tools and analytics applications. 

  • ...I wonder how many changes are imposed by marketing so-called "specialists" while not giving the market time enought to get to know the products!
    SAP BI product (sorry!) and SAP BO products are under a big umbrella of Business Intelligence.
    Is more important to stress the need to integrate both, that to play with branding!
  • Hi,

    I am among few people here who welcome the decision to revert back the name to BW instead of BI.

    However, I hope you could stick to incremental version change to reflect a new product offering. I could not understand why the newer version is called BI7 when the older version is called SAP BW3.5. I mean where is 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0. Also, don’t use 2004 & 2004S to differentiate the product. Just stick to incremental version change. Having said that, I am confused why do you called the new R/3 as ECC6. SAP version strategy is very confusing!

  • SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW)
    SAP Business Explorer (SAP BEx)
    SAP NetWeaver BW Accelerator (BWA)

    I understand the second and the third.
    Previously BW/BI consisted DW and reporting.
    So reporting is separate now ?
    There won't be a common term for all these now on ?

    Now we should claim as BW,BEx and BWA consultants ?

    Can you define it more clearly, the blog seems vague still.

    Praveen G

    • Hello Praveen,

      We have in essence redefined the use of the term 'Business Intelligence' here at SAP in the following manner:

      SAP BI used to refer to 3 broad topics areas of functionality: SAP Business Warehouse;  SAP Business Explorer (the family of reporting tools such as teh BEx Analyzer); SAP BW Olap Processer.
      For many people (customers, analysts, partner),  this broad use of BI was confusing ESPECIALLY in light of the Business Objects acquisition since the key area of strength for Business Objects was providing a full suite of business intelligence tools, solutions and capabilities.

      So we decided that for the sake of clarity, the use of the term 'Business Intelligence would be associated with the SAP BusinessObjects BI suite (ie the BI suite of tools and capabilities that provides insight and access to both SAP and non SAP applications).
      In addition, we would no longer refer to BI with SAP BI and instead call out the individual components of NetWeaver separately.
      As an example, the SAP data warehouse is now called ‘SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse’ and the SAP reporting tools such as the BEx Analyzer are is now collectively called  'SAP Business Explorer (BEx).

      We have no aligned ourselves with how the broader market defines Business Intelligence and feel we have positioned Business Intelligence in a clearer light.

      I hope that sheds more light on this topic.

      Dan Kearnan
      SAP BI Director
      SAP Americas

  • Hi,

    In this link;jsessionid=(J2EE3417200)ID1772835750DB01996451668165271044End?rid=/webcontent/uuid/50e35106-82d6-2a10-7c9f-f4183a04ebec

    SAP talks about SAP NW 7.01 BI, this should be SAP NW 7.01 BW?

    Even more confusing is the following link, which has the title “Enhancement Package 1 for SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence 7.0 (SAP NW BI 7.01)” and the presentation talks about SAP NetWeaver BW:

    SAP Enhancement Package 1 for SAP NetWeaver 7.0

    Is there an official SAP Note clarifying this back to BW name convention?