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the uncertainty of SAP BW future

Hi All,

In this Article I would like to share with you my thoughts about the uncertainty future of SAP BW

We all know the history of why SAP acquired Business Objects as the front end tool for BI reports.

In the last year SAP went out the market with new solutions that keep’s our SAP BW community uncertainty about the future of SAP BW, these are my thoughts.

1.the new SAP HANA solution for In Memory reporting/computing  – we all know that the classic solution for heavy reporting  is the Data warehouse/ BW , it is used for  management reports and also sometime the BW acts as transaction reporting system . This was ok because as we know the information was generated on a different system (BW) and not on the SAP ECC so performance was ok, before HANA there was the BW accelerator –which is much different from HANA, the BWA solution came to the market for 2 reasons as I saw it

1.SAP BW wasn’t build  that good for performance  of millions of records (in the latest version of BW the system performance got better , SAP improved the extraction  methods  and improved the table indexes ) , there was also uncertainty about the future of SAP BW back then , but as opposed to HANA the  BWA was over  the BW system, the HANA solution is over the SAP ECC system , which really brings us to the question that if customers will run all of his data in HANA , why would they need to use the BW ?  one can say that it will replace the transactional reports, but lately I was doing several of HANA courses and I was amazed to see that SAP delivers with HANA a set of “HANA Business Content” that delivers within  Business objects suite Dashboards(Xcelsius), web intelligence and even crystal reports  for several of SAP modules exactly as BW business content ,As opposed to BWA which was expansive , the HANA solution is going to be according to SAP to run on  every SAP installation,  it’s for the mass, SAP  also sells it as RDS (Rapid Deployment System ) fast and thin deployments . , so is our future is to become a HANA consultants & BO front end developers? I already see the struggle whether the HANA solution belongs to BASIS since it requires deep SQL knowledge or will it be for SAP consultants to be implemented?

2. I saw that SAP got tremendous fight from Qlicktech BI solution that was running In memory and is fast of implementation even over SAP ECC

I struggle to see the BW future within the HANA world, I also see lots of questions about it in the Different types of SAP and Linkedin forums, the BW Community is really confused.

2.SAP Business Objects- ETL data services

As we all know that in the classic DW there are 3 layers – the DW data base, the ETL tool , and the front end  tool , up until know the SAP BW delivered it all . SAP continued to develop the Business Objects ETL tool- the Data services and know offers it to SAP customers. This is also interesting since in the last opportunities that I was hearing , SAP offers to new SAP customers who haven’t implemented BW, to use the Data services instead of BW.

I understand the need of SAP  for selling new products and solution’s I really do , but in the past 2  years  it seems that the SAP BW future is starting to be uncertainty, do we need to adjust and learn new skills as we do learn the SAP Business Objects reporting tools?


From one point of view – SAP delivers to the market new products and solutions which will properly will bring more projects, on the other hand SAP new solutions seems to replace the current solution’s like BW , those solution’s brings us to a uncertainty about the future of BW .

I think that it is on SAP responsibility to tell the BW community how they want the BW community to play in those changes and whether we need to acquire new skill set or at least diminishes our worries about the future of BW.

when we take into account the decreasing market rates, when we see that the customer requirement’s is for fast & slim solutions , when you see SAP new products and solution, the SAP BW community  needs to adjust to the new SAP environment , acquire more skill set and think about the next 2-5 years today,

For comments you welcome to address me at   

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  • I would suppose it would be like SEM around about 2002.In the end SAP realised they were not winning market share with thus, and so bought the competition e.g. Outlooksoft.

    At a guess, if SAP mean what theycurrently say then yes, there is NO future for BW. Think about it – the only purpose for such a system is because reporting on huge amounts of data would interfere with the OLTP system.

    With HANA such a problem goes away. That is what it (HANA) is I would say in summary probably BW will be around for a while, but do not pin your future upon it ..


    Cheersy Cheers


  • Let’s put one thing straight: there are many who got used to SAP technologies, and those indeed can go away – like ABAP-based BW as a solution for all-things reporting in SAP environment. Nowhere outside I have seen so many one-trick ponies, as in the SAP world. Most of the BI/DW specialists outside traditional SAP world see themselves as technology-agnostic, and can equally use Microstrategy and Cognos depending on the project. But probably 90% of BW specialists will say that BW is the only BI/DW technology, which they have seen since college (ok, they may have been FI or ABAP consultants before digging into BW).

    The problem with BW was that it had been treated as one-size-fits-all solution, and therefore indeed sometimes it was like trying to put a square peg in a round hole, and I can list the projects, where I saw customers doing this.

    Acquisitions of BO should have opened the eyes for BW folks, that things can be done differently – that there should be a specific BI tool for a specific job. HANA should open the eyes, that BW is not the right tool for all back-end needs either. There are cases when HANA is enough, and there are cases when BW has to be used. And as portfolio diversifies it is your choice if you want to stay narrowly focused on BW, or to focus broadly but then go more a generalist.

    I am sure BW as a particular technology stack will go away – it is complex, inflexible, non-performing. But BW as a solution – data warehousing platform ideally suited for a mixture of SAP and non-SAP source systems – will preserve and evolve. My bet is that it will be Eclipse-based IDE for back-end modelling (may be integrated with Sybase Power Designer for unified business entities modelling across transactional and non-transactional systems) running OLAP engine in HANA database with unified BW-DTP/BO-DS ETL/ELT design- and run-time engine, using BO tools for reporting and integrated users and roles provisioning with SAP id management (but this all will take some time And this is where the BW skills of understanding SAP data structures, terminology, SAP business objects (do not confuse with BusinessObjects 🙂 ), ELT concepts will not go away, and where BW community will keep evolving as BW is clearly a winning data warehousing platform on the market.

    The future for SAP-savvy (but not technology-bounded) data management technologists is bright!

    • Hi Vitaliy

      Great comment, and I couldn’t agree more with you.

      Do you really see a trend, where BW modelling will somehow be integrated with Sybase Powerdesigner? That would be great news. Nothing would make more sense than that. IMO, Sybase Powerdesigner is the greatest enterprise modelling tool in the market. If this scenario goes for real in combination with EIM Tools (espcially Data Services ETL/ELT), HANA and BOBJ frontend tools, SAP finally will have the most powerful Data Management and BI solution in the market. And then I would suggest SAP to rename BW, because it won’t be BW any longer…

      • Hi Guys

        Great Comments !!

        I think that in 2 years the SAP BI solution will be more flexible ,from what I see it  today

        you will have:

        SAP Customers- who can choose – BW as DW – ETL-Data services- BO Frond  end

        SAP Customers- general DW – ETL-Data services- BO Frond  end

        SAP Customers who dont have BW – HANA only  – BO Frond  end, I  don’t see why they will need BW if they will have HANA

        The HANA implementation will be done by DBA or BASIS then there will only be  BO front end- development -by the way in the next version of BO you will HANA as connector

        As for the ETL – either the now days BW consultants will learn the Data services and deeper SQL  or there will be the ETL developer skill as you have today in the classic DW as Informatica /Data stage developers

        the skill of BW will be to “development” in the BW as DW + BO front end , the ETL + HANA will not be on the control/implementation of the BW consultant


      • I’ve been watching what SAP is doing with Power Designer. During last TechEd in the US I talked to the Sybase techie, who showed me that PowerDesigner can do already reverse-engineering of HANA artifacts. It was a step in right direction.

        Now last week SAP announced details of their strategy for “SAP Real-time Data Platform”, which combines together HANA + all Sybase databases + all EIM products (inclduing BO DS and Sybase PowerDesigner). Interestingly BW there stays as one of the applications on top of the Real-time Data Platform, stressing its unique position of Data Warehousing Platform in the SAP portfolio.

        Funny you mentioned BW name change – so far we saw that one thing SAP is excellent at is constant change of the names 🙂 HANA alone had 6 different names, before stabilized (for how long?) at “SAP HANA database”.