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Who still needs BW for HR when you’ve got SAP HANA?

Hi HR experts,

Over the last few decades a lot of our customers have invested in SAP NetWeaver BW. Since SAP launched SAP HANA a lot of customers have been asking me about what the future holds for their investment.

In this blog I will try to address some of these concerns and focus on the new opportunities we have for HR Analytics.

Before we deep dive into HR analytics, let’s first focus on what SAP HANA really is: SAP HANA is a new in-memory database technology that is more powerful (hundreds and in some cases thousands of times faster) than what we have ever seen before.

HANA has three main features that distinguish it from other databases:

  1. Data is kept in-memory, so it does not have to be stored and fetched continuously,
  2. Calculations can take place in the database layer, instead of the application layer, and
  3. Time to load/replicate data is much quicker.

So what does that mean for BW?

To answer this question it is worthwhile to understand that BW is a data warehouse that contains several elements:

  • Cleaned up and homogeneous data;
  • Pre-defined business content (while other business areas could suffice with point in time reporting, HR always had to cope with time-dependent reporting);
  • An authorization concept (more complex for HR than elsewhere);
  • Advanced data extraction functionality;
  • Deployment over thousands SAP HR customers.

All that functionality has been developed to provide customers with HR content and logic that makes sense immediately of the data that comes from their HR back-end systems.

That means that the biggest benefit comes from putting BW on top of HANA, which enables HR customers to leverage all the business content in BW that was created over the years, and: much faster.

There is no threat that BW will vanish any time soon with the introduction of SAP HANA. It only provides more options!

We now have the opportunity and the resources to rethink what is valuable for HR on different levels. How can we combine finance data with HR data? How can we better support business users with analytics that perform quickly on large quantities of data?

My prediction is that with HR’s focus on fact based decisions, improved database technology, intuitive user interfaces as a result of mobile technologies, and strong collaboration tools, we have the momentum to make analytics as we have never seen it before.

To find out how customers are benefiting from SAP HANA (and BW on HANA), check this site: link



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  • Hi Frans: great blog! Talking about HANA might additionally include some more features like the Predictive library where a customer can apply either native algorithms or connect to R to do sophisticated modelling and optimization, the crown discipline in Analytics 🙂

    Luke Marson: The possibility to replace an existing RDBMS with HANA for use of BW is reality TODAY.

    • Hi Gerardo,

      Yes you can, since the HCM suite is part of the ERP that will run on Suite on HANA. Suite on HANA will improve performance of Payroll and SAP will release new Payroll tools as part of this.

      Best regards,


  • Hey Frans,

    thank you for the valuable information. I am particularily interessted in this topic. Can you recomment a way how I can stay tuned and get the latest news?

    BR & Thanks in advance


    • Hi Marcus,

      I will keep posting on this topic. If you check all blogs written by me you will find related information. In addition, if you have specific queries on this topic don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

      best regards,