SAP BW Bridge: Just a SAP BW/4HANA in SAP Datasphere?
In 2021, SAP has published the SAP BW Birdge. Is it a SAP BW/4 HANA in the Business Technology Platform? Does this give the SAP BW a cloud SaaS perspective?
What is the BW Bridge?
There are already many blogposts and information material on the subject, so I’ll treat the topic only briefly here.
The BW Bridge is first of all a service that can be booked in the SAP Datasphere. By booking the service, an SAP BW/4HANA environment is provided on the basis of the Business Technology Platform (BW Bridge). The core application of Datasphere accesses the data models of the BW Bridge via an automatically generated space “BW Bridge Space”. The figure below outlines this relationship:
The functional scope of the BW Bridge is limited to data management and data integration of SAP systems. Analytical functionalities such as a query are not possible. SAP Note 3117800 provides detailed information on the supported functions. Another important limitation is the restriction to SAP ODP extractors. The connection of files or Smart Data Access sources is not possible.
Is this the end of SAP BW?
Strategically, SAP is focusing primarily on SAP Datasphere, as the following figure illustrates:
Is this the end of SAP BW? No, not (yet). Although SAP’s focus is very clearly concentrated on SAP Datasphere, SAP BW/4HANA can still be the answer for customers who do not (yet) want to move into the public cloud. In addition, SAP BW/4HANA is very proven and can be the basis of large and complex enterprise data warehouse solutions. SAP has also given BW/4HANA a perspective until 2040. This provides a certain investment security.
Perspectives for SAP BW customers
With the SAP BW Bridge, SAP BW customers are given the option to migrate parts of SAP BW to the BW Bridge and thus have a way to preserve their past investments. This gives customers more flexibility as they can move to the public cloud at their own pace.
Technically, the migration in BW Bridge works similarly to a technical migration of an SAP BW system to BW/4HANA – remote and/or shell conversion are possible. Customers should not expect a full migration of a complex SAP BW system. Not all objects can be migrated, and for some data models there is no way around a new build.
What does the BW Bridge mean for SAP Datasphere?
The BW Bridge offers advantages not only from the perspective of SAP BW customers. Via the BW Bridge, the Datasphere gains access to a BI content of SAP BW that has been proven over many years. As a result, SAP ERP-centric data models are built very quickly and the BW Bridge takes on the role of an integration layer.
In the future, the BW Bridge will also be able to access data models of Datasphere. This enables significantly more migration scenarios, because inbound ADSO from nonSAP systems can be migrated in principle and receive their source connection via Datasphere.
Update 2023-04-26 More detailed illustration for this scenario
The BW Bridge is primarily an opportunity to migrate SAP BW systems completely or in parts to Datsphere. If SAP expands the functional scope even more (as planned), it offers a lot of potential. At the same time, customers should not expect to be able to technically migrate their complete systems including mixed scenarios with HANA Calculation Views. It will not work without manual rework.