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This blog suggests the different methods a type of consultant undertakes towards building reporting for a client. One of the differences I have realized is the manner in which a consultant coming from an ABAP background might take to a consultant coming purely from a BI background.  At the point of application, both would be considered a BI consultant. Let us clarify the difference first;

The ABAP background consultant comes with experience in developing reports within ECC for different functional modules, thus the consultant probably has functional process knowledge of the areas as well as knowing all about the tables, relationships and scenarios which occur. Based on experience, the consultant would be aware of the common requirements which prop up in these reports.

The BI background consultant comes into the fray with experience in handling star-schemas, knowledge of relevant data-sources and the enterprise information which they can provide. In a pure BI background they have experience of designing efficient models upon which reporting is carried out.  This includes building BI elements such as multi-providers, aggregation levels.

The argument that I would like to state is that BI consultants who shift into BI or enterprise reporting areas after gaining experience as an ABAP *** functional consultant would be able to provide a different perspective to the objective. By different perspective, it is meant that the approach they would take towards a customer’s requirement would be different from the one a BI consultant would take. The first reaction of this consultant would be to look up the existing data sources which hold relevant information – this action is the common one across both types of consultants- the second reaction –which is mostly generated upon not finding the information in the data-sources- is the thought of creating generic data-sources for retrieving that data. This happens because the consultant understands how the system within SAP works and has the ability to create the functionality to extract that information. Now this manner might not be the most efficient-best one to get the data; sometimes there might be a case of business content or other joins which could be made in the system; but it is one of the way the consultant would react.

Sometimes it is the case that in ECC or the source system, the information is calculated in a complex manner and the BI consultant says that the data arrive in the target system already transformed; for example short-term/long-term planning for oil operations; A complex reporting model created in ECC would be requested to be uploaded directly onto DSOs. An alternative approach would be to build specific extractors for the purpose. The assumption on which I base my argument is that both type of consultants are equally adept at BI but one has ABAP *** functional experience as well.

Understandably this is a question of available resources and the type of requirement which is being looked into. It is my personal opinion that having the flexibility to work around pre-built functionalities by further development is one of the ways that the needs of the customer can be addressed to a higher level of satisfaction. 

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