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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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  • hi Adir,

    my 2 cents about your worries :

    -the bw landsape is evolving but sap bw is not intended to disapear in the future. the sap road map is clear about that. bw is known to be reliable and robust, many performance improvements (including 6 new infoproviders and many other improvements) were made with bw 7.3. Also, bw can now have sap hana as its database and this simplifies the whole bw landscape while amazingly improving performance (project orange).

    – about data services, it is a very powerfull ETL, and as of bw 7.3, it is a native source system for bw. it’s goal is clearly not to replace bw, as it is an ETL including both data integration and data quality with both batch and real-time support (is not a datawarehouse) it is here to enhance bw extraction possibilities. BW act as a ETL and a datawarehouse.

    about learning sap hana, yes I think you definitely shouldn’t miss the train. sap is innovating with great products as (to my opinion) no company does so for far, and as a bi consultant of course you should make sure you keep up to date with the latest technologies.



    • Thank you for your insight John, maybe you as an SAP Emp see things different

      we sure do get into HANA and DS


  • Adir:

    I understand your concerns but SAP BW is not going anywhere. There are different ways to convince ourselves on this statement:

    1 – The Technology Facts:

    a)     SAP recently announced the GA (general availability) of SAP HANA database for the SAP BW environment. This is one fact that confirms that SAP currently has no plans to retire SAP BW

    b)    BWA Context: HANA will be replacing BWA (BW Accelerator) shortly since SAP recently announced that BWA 7.3 will be the last release of BWA. New SAP BW implementations will be recommended to use SAP HANA for performance enhancements immediately.  Note: BWA will still remain in support mode for many years to come. So,  if your client has BWA you can continue to use it…

    c)     Cost: HANA is way different than BW (standalone version without HANA) and mainly focuses on high volume, MPP and in-memory computing with much better performance than BW by itself – the implementation cost for HANA when compared to SAP BW by itself has a big difference

    2 – Technical Points:

    a)     Modeling in HANA is way different than traditional BW modeling. There are pros and cons of each modeling technique. HANA is maturing and BW is a mature environment. 

    b)    SAP BW will be the EDW (enterprise data warehouse) which can still leverage on SAP HANA DB.  Standalone HANA will be data mart for BW

    c)     When you get a chance read my executive summary on SAP HANA and HANA DB for BW @

    3 – Professional Competency:

    a)     As programmers we all have to one way or the other learn better ways of doing day to day things within BI or any IT environment to benefit the business either by learning new tools such as HANA or BOBJ (Xcelsius, CR, Webi, etc..) whichever applies to your client environment or find out better ways to model data if you only work in BW 7.x. For i.e: upgrading to BW 7.3 will require learning new modeling technique to leverage and exploit on new BW 7.3 features.  So, if situation demands what’s wrong in learning HANA or any other new tools? Remember: Steve Job’s quote “Stay hungry; stay foolish” !!

    Hope this helps!



  • Hi Adir

    I beleive you have highlighted a very intresting topic that has been on every ones’s mind since SAP bought BO.

    One thing i would like to add to the argument that BW is still here to stay is the fact that BW is still the perfect solution for any company that has implemeted SAP ECC. the main reason being the Standard Business Content deliverd with BW is tailormade for any business using SAP ECC. I dont think BODS or any other tool out there can provide the Standard Cubes  DSO’s and Datasouces that come ready made with BW.

    So in short  in  my opinion BW is still the best solution for any company using SAP ECC.

    • Hi A Z H,

      I agree for the short upcoming 2 years

      after that who knows . maybe HANA will be everywhere on ECC so you wont need BW?