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Author's profile photo Vikash C Agrawal

We are implementing S4HANA so don’t need BW4HANA or HANA EDW solution, Seriously?

We are implementing S4HANA so don’t need BW4HANA or HANA EDW solution, Seriously?

During my multiple intercations with key stakeholders on S4HANA and Analytics startergy, one question that keeps coming back is that whether with S4HANA coming into the lanscape, need for BW4HANA and HANA EDW or data mart solution is justified. Driver for this though process is with ERP running on powerful HANA engine, one should be also able to leverage it for all reporting and anlytics (within S4HANA).

Answer to this puzzle is not straight forward and is “No” for most of the customers’ landscapes I have come across. Below is one reference architecture which clealry calls out limitations of “ONLY S4HANA” for reporting and analytics.


Reference Architecture

Typical Journey of “Hindsight to Foresight” cannot be completed with only S4HANA and shall need much more i.e. a Data Warehouse (be it BW4HANA or HANA EDW) and maybe a Data Lake solution (HANA Data lake) as well. It is even more important if organizations are looking to build enterprise-wide consolidated data platforms, which could be leveraged for self-service, analytics and digital transformation use cases.


From Hindsight to Foresight

Here are few high-level thumb rules to help on whether you should consider EDW solution in your landscape or S4HANA shall suffice the needs:

Key Considerations Shall S4HANA suffice the needs? Shall we need BW4HANA / HANA EDW solution needed?
Only ERP and source of data is S4HANA Yes
Multiple sources of data (you would not like to migrate data into S4HANA from multiple sources) Yes
Multi-years trend analysis is needed (you may not like to have all those years on HANA in S4HANA) Yes
Need for external & internal data for Analytics Yes
Analytics as competitive advantage (Digital transformation) Yes
Single data foundation across enterprise which can be leveraged for self-service, digital transformation use cases etc. Yes (also consider HANA Data lake as part of landscape)

Please do share what you are hearing from your S4HANA customers and your views on need for BW4HANA / HANA EDW solution with SAP S4HANA.

(Views here are purely personal and not of my organization)

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      Author's profile photo Peter Baumann
      Peter Baumann

      Hi Vikash C Agrawal!


      Thank you for your blog. As you wrote it is not straight forward you can also additionally consider Embedded BW (which is still 7.5 on HANA) or the enhancement with cloud-based solutions like HANA Cloud or SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. At the end you need to find a customer-specific solution as there are many options today and it heavily depends on the Analytics history and the future planning of the company.

      My question is also (maybe you know something?) if there is really a future for S/4HANA Embedded Analytics as SAC is now a new kind of standard here and got really well integrated in the last releases? The CDS-based virtual data model will stay, but what is about the Fiori apps here?

      Best regard,


      Author's profile photo Vikash C Agrawal
      Vikash C Agrawal
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Peter,

      Wish you a very happy and healthy new year 2021.

      Thanks for reading the blog and your note. You rightly mentioned customers have multiple choices and right solution shall be pretty much customer specific. on your thoughtful question on FIORI, my little understanding suggested scope of FIORI is much broader in terms of GUI and apps than SAC and it shall continue to fill up that space.

      Author's profile photo Cesar Sanchez
      Cesar Sanchez

      Hi Vikash C Agrawal!

      Very good article, something similar is happening in the company for which I work, less than a year ago, the implementation was made of the ERP S / 4 hana 1809 with a large number of modules, however a system of data warehouse, BW4HANA or HANA EDW solution.
      However we have SAC and Sap Hana Cloud with 64 Gb, both in a NEO tenant.

      Currently I am in charge of responding to the needs of reports and construction of stories in SAC, for the stories, what I do is activate extractors in the ERP and take the data to hana cloud, later I build calculated views and then I can view them as stories in SAC.

      According to the above, I have some concerns I would like you to help me solve them.

      Is this way I'm working adequate?What are the disadvantages of this design?
      What inconveniences can I have in the long term?

      Thanks a lot.


      Author's profile photo Mohammed Sami
      Mohammed Sami

      Hi Cesar,


      2 questions I have.

      1. Was there a BW4HANA or HANA EDW solution in your landscape ?
      2.  And after activating extractors in ERP(S/4 HANA), from your statement you are building       calculation views and exposing it to SAC. Is my understanding correct ? can you please confirm.




      Author's profile photo Cesar Sanchez
      Cesar Sanchez


      I was on vacation.

      I answer your questions:

      1.Was there a BW4HANA or HANA EDW solution in your landscape ?

      No, I have never had a BW4HANA or HANA EDW installation.

      2.And after activating extractors in ERP (S / 4 HANA), from your statement you are building calculation views and exposing it to SAC. Is my understanding correct? can you please confirm.?

      The answer is yes.

      The architecture or design that I am using is:

      •  Activate BI Extractors
      • Subscription: SAP Hana Smart Data Integration
      • DP Agent
      • In Sap Hana cloud, a replication task is created, which writes the records in a physical table (Delta)
        and from this table I create a kind of fact table, I have used this scheme with Logistic 2lis extractors.
      • Then when I have the model, I create a Live connection in Sac and I can create stories from said model.

      Thanks .


      Author's profile photo Vikash C Agrawal
      Vikash C Agrawal
      Blog Post Author

      Hello César

      wish you a very happy and healthy new year 2021.

      thanks for reading my blog and your note. You have adopted pretty interesting architecture and my thought is it has its own positives i.e.

      • you are able to leverage SAP extractors which are very much business specific and have been developed over years
      • with adoption of HANA native calculation view, you have flexibility to model and much more responsiveness than typical BW
      • on the flip side you shall need to build lot of things including models, master data objects,security architecture which is pretty much available with BW.

      please do share your thoughts.


      Author's profile photo Ralf Klause
      Ralf Klause


      I had the same idea as Cesar and I agree with Vikash’s points. But let us bring SAP Data Warehouse cloud into the picture. Replace SAC in Cesar’s architecture with DWC which includes DWH Services plus SAC.

      Could that work? I miss a tool for end user data visualisation in the BW4 license.

      All the best Ralf