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I remember the day when following flashed on my mobile phone screen “SAP Modernizes Data Warehousing with the Launch of SAP BW/4HANA http://news.sap.com/sap-modernizes-data-warehousing-with-the-launch-of-sap-bw4hana/” and being a SAP professional I started tracking all the frenzy which followed. Over last 8 weeks I went through all the possible documentation/ webinars etc. available on the topic and had an opportunity to interact with various stake holders.

Each one of them had two key questions:

  1. One how is BW/4HANA different from BW on HANA7.5?
  2. And second why did SAP decide to forego BW on HANA product roadmaps and came out with new solution?

With this blog I am trying to answer the both…

  1. How is BW/4HANA technically different from BW on HANA7.5?

If one looks at SAP Data Warehousing space over last 4-5 years since launch of HANA, this solution has gone through sea of change. SAP BW was first solution to go on HANA database and post that we have had newer, more HANA enabled version coming out every 12-18 months. It all started with BW7.3 on HANA DB and then BW740 and then BW750 and now BW/4HANA.

SAP is talking about four key highlights of SAPBW/4HANA

  • Simplicity – Simplified data structures, data flows, Lifecycle management
  • Openness – Native SQL access, Simplified data integration
  • Modern Interface – New Business User UX, Modeler UX, New Administrator UX
  • High Performance – In-Memory Data Warehousing, Algorithm Pushdown, Advanced Analytics

(Read more: on BW/4HANA Help page http://help.sap.com/bw4hana10 & SCN community page https://go.sap.com/community/topic/business-warehouse.html)

Further evaluation of each one of the above points leads me to conclude that in terms of technical capability / features / functionalities, there is not much to talk about (at this point in time) which is not possible in BW750. SAP has clear roadmap of BW/4HANA and solution is expected to have many more features including further HADOOP integration, BPC support etc. in next 6-12 months. That leads me to next question…

  1. Why did SAP decide to come out with new solution i.e. BW/4HANA?

To my view by launching new solution SAP has been able to achieve two big objectives (and in turn freeing up lot of efforts):

  • No more optimization, development of SAP BW solution on Non-HANA DB, I could very well hear echo of “Larry we are pulling the plug now” in my brain. There is no need to retrofit solution on anyDB. No more HANA DB / Any DB parallel development cycles, now SAP could be completely focused on developing new features and functionalities for HANA DB only. It shall save lot of efforts and bring in complete focus on developing highly optimized solution (remember iOS and Apple).
  • Second, With BW/4HANA, SAP has pulled out BW (read Data Warehousing solution) out of NetWeaver product group. BW/4HANA need not to follow NetWeaver development roadmap and can be developed at much faster pace. It shall also bring in lot of independence to this solution from integration and release perspective.

With this all the shackles removed, SAP’s Data Warehousing solution i.e. BW/4HANA is free to roam and ready to rule the JUNGLE again!!!

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  1. Marc Bernard

    Nice blog, Vikash. I disagree that there is not much to talk about. To the contrary…

    Regarding your first questions, one point that is often not taken into consideration… even if customers are running the very latest SAP BW release 7.5 and the very latest support package 5, that does not mean that they have adopted all the HANA-optimized features available! Actually, many customers have chosen a pure technical migration and upgrade. They are running on SAP HANA but still have 3.x data flows, classic DSOs, InfoCubes, classic UIs like BEx Analyzer and Web Templates, still use RSA1 to create and maintain all data models and flows, and there’s much, much more that’s simpler, better, faster when using SAP BW/4HANA. And then there are over 10,000 BW customers who haven’t even migrated to SAP HANA yet.

    Transitioning these SAP BW systems – or any SAP BW system for that matter – to SAP BW/4HANA will be a VERY big difference and this is absolutely worth talking about.

    Best,

    Marc

    Product Management SAP HANA DW

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    1. Vikash C Agrawal Post author

      Many Thanks Marc. I agree with your comments about customer adoption of HANA features. Question I was responding to is “whether this is possible in BW750 latest SP” from that perspective BW/4HANA as of now seems like a next logical step.
      Best,
      Vikash

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