This question has been chasing me for a while and was finally able to get my answer after getting my hands on HANA and BOBJ.
Since the launching of HANA, it has been a question for many.
If a company has not invested in SAP BI(orignally called SAP BW), do we really need to do SAP BI on HANA first and then built our SAP BOBJ layer on top of it, or we can directly start using SAP BOBJ on HANA?
SAP Business Object Data services
Using SAP BO data services you can load data from any source into your HANA database. Once that is done you can use HANA studio to create views.
HANA studio gives you the ability to define views for the transactional tables present in your HANA database. These views can be classified into three categories
Attribute Views (Like dimensions in BW)
- Creating models for Master Data.
- Link different master data objects into an attribute view.
- This does not include fact tables.
Analytical Views (Like cubes in BW)
- Creating a cube by joining Attribute Views with the Data Foundation(Fact Table).
- Building a Data Foundation based on transactional table.
- Join attribute views to Data Foundation.
- Calculation views are composite views; they can use Attribute views, Analytical views, Calculation Views and tables to create an output.
Being able to create your data models in HANA studio, the need for keeping an SAP BI layer seems nil.
Some benefits of using HANA as a database and HANA Studio as a data modeler
- All transactional data is available in the HANA database, which enables drill down reporting from the aggregated level to the transaction level.
- Using different types of views, I can easily structure my data model.
- The beauty of these views is, as soon as they are activated in the HANA studio, they are available to the end user for reporting, and since they are filled in at runtime there is no need for subsequent ETLs after activation.
- Easeness and flexibility to change my data model at any given time.
Linking SAP BOBJ with HANA will enable me to use several reporting tools provided by BOBJ.
Finally the SAP strategy of bringing SAP Business Suite to HANA will enable the customers to perform both OLAP and OLTP on the same HANA database, which will reduce the number of ETLs to a great extent.
According to my understanding, with the induction of HANA in the SAP landscape, SAP BI will ultimately be rolled out, and existing customers will start shifitng their data models from SAP BI to HANA.