Innova­tions in BW/4HANA compared to BW on HANA

The evolution of SAP BW on HANA to SAP BW/4HANA

The evolution of SAP Business Warehouse (BW) on HANA to SAP BW/4HANA marks an important stage in the evolution of SAP’s data warehousing techno­logies. This development reflects the constant progress in data processing and the adapt­ation to the changing needs of modern companies.

Origi­nally intro­duced as SAP BW on the HANA database platform, this combi­nation aimed to leverage the power of HANA’s in-memory technology to enable faster data analysis and processing. SAP BW on HANA offered improved perfor­mance compared to previous versions of SAP BW based on tradi­tional databases.

With the intro­duction of SAP BW/4HANA, SAP went a step further. This latest version is speci­fi­cally designed for the SAP HANA platform and offers not only improved perfor­mance but also simplified data modeling, advanced analytics capabi­lities and an optimized user interface. SAP BW/4HANA thus represents a signi­ficant evolution in SAP’s data warehousing strategy, which aims to help companies use their data more effici­ently and gain deeper insights into their business processes.

The compa­rison between SAP BW on HANA and SAP BW/4HANA is important to under­stand the impro­ve­ments and new oppor­tu­nities that SAP BW/4HANA offers companies. This compa­rison helps organiza­tions that are either planning to move to BW/4HANA or are evaluating their existing data warehouse systems to recognize and take advantage of the benefits and impro­ve­ments that come with the latest version.

Funda­mental archi­tec­tural diffe­rences between SAP BW on HANA and SAP BW/4HANA

The archi­tecture of SAP BW on HANA and SAP BW/4HANA has key diffe­rences that signi­fi­cantly affect the way data processing and analysis are performed in these systems.

Archi­tec­tural diffe­rences

SAP BW on HANA: This version is an extension of tradi­tional SAP BW that runs on the SAP HANA database platform. While the archi­tecture of SAP BW on HANA leverages the in-memory capabi­lities of HANA, it essen­tially retains the tradi­tional structure of SAP BW. This means that some older data models and processing methods are still used, even when running on the HANA database.

SAP BW/4HANA: SAP BW/4HANA is a completely redesigned version that was speci­fi­cally designed for the SAP HANA database. This results in a signi­fi­cantly simplified and moder­nized archi­tecture. SAP BW/4HANA dispenses with outdated data models and intro­duces new, optimized struc­tures that leverage the full power of the HANA platform. This makes data processing and analysis faster and more efficient.

Importance of the HANA database

For both systems: Both SAP BW on HANA and SAP BW/4HANA benefit from the advan­tages of the SAP HANA database, especially its in-memory processing capabi­lities. This enables faster data analysis and queries compared to tradi­tional disk-based databases.

Impact on data processing: The HANA database signi­fi­cantly influences data processing in both systems. While SAP BW on HANA still uses some of the older processing patterns, SAP BW/4HANA uses the advanced capabi­lities of HANA more effec­tively, resulting in improved perfor­mance and more efficient data processing.

User interface and user experience: SAP BW on HANA vs. SAP BW/4HANA

Comparing the user inter­faces between SAP BW on HANA and SAP BW/4HANA reveals a signi­ficant change in the user experience and the way inter­ac­tions with these systems take place.

SAP BW on HANA user interface

SAP BW on HANA largely relied on the tradi­tional SAP Graphical User Interface (GUI) for inter­acting with the system.

This interface was known for its robustness and relia­bility, but was also often viewed as less intuitive compared to more modern user inter­faces.

SAP BW/4HANA user interface

SAP BW/4HANA took a signi­ficant step towards more modern user inter­faces. In parti­cular, the use of Eclipse and SAPUI5 (UI5) as inter­faces offers a much more user-friendly experience.

Eclipse, an integrated development environment (IDE), is used for backend development, while UI5 ​​is used for designing attractive and intuitive frontend appli­ca­tions.

Importance of these changes

The move to Eclipse and UI5 in SAP BW/4HANA reflects SAP’s commitment to creating a user-centric and efficient working environment. These inter­faces not only offer improved aesthetics, but also increased efficiency in data manipu­lation and visua­lization.

These changes in the user interface have also influenced the way users interact with the system and enable more effective use of the advanced features of SAP BW/4HANA.

Data modeling and management in SAP BW/4HANA

Data modeling and management in SAP BW/4HANA has evolved signi­fi­cantly compared to older SAP BW versions. These develo­p­ments are reflected in the use of newer modeling elements and methods.

Diffe­rences in data modeling

  • Info objects: In SAP BW/4HANA, info objects are still used as basic building blocks for data modeling. They serve as the smallest units for repre­senting data in the system.
  • Advanced DataStore objects (ADSOs): ADSOs are central to BW/4HANA and replace tradi­tional DataStore objects (DSOs) and InfoCubes. They offer a simplified and more flexible way to store and manage data.
  • Open ODS Views: Open ODS Views make it possible to integrate data sources directly into BW/4HANA without lengthy data modeling processes. They make it easier to access external data sources and seamlessly integrate this data into the BW system.
  • Composite Provider: Composite Providers replace the older Multi­Pro­viders and InfoSets. They are designed to combine data from different sources (including ADSOs and Open ODS views) and create complex data models.

Modeling tools and methods

BW on HANA vs. BW/4HANA: While SAP BW on HANA often used the tradi­tional SAP GUI-based tools for data modeling, BW/4HANA relies more on modern tools such as Eclipse and BW Modeling Tools. These offer an improved user experience and support more efficient and intuitive modeling.

Eclipse and BW Modeling Tools: These tools in BW/4HANA enable a graphical repre­sen­tation of data models, which makes modeling easier and faster. They also offer advanced functions for handling large amounts of data and complex modeling scenarios.

Perfor­mance and scala­bility: SAP BW on HANA vs. SAP BW/4HANA

Perfor­mance and scala­bility are key factors for the efficiency of data warehouse systems. SAP BW/4HANA represents signi­ficant impro­ve­ments in these areas compared to SAP BW on HANA.

Perfor­mance impro­ve­ments in BW/4HANA

Optimized perfor­mance: SAP BW/4HANA uses the capacities of the SAP HANA database more effici­ently, resulting in increased overall perfor­mance. Thanks to optimized data modeling and storage as well as advanced in-memory processing, SAP BW/4HANA enables faster data queries and analyses.

Improved data loading processes: BW/4HANA optimizes data loading processes, reducing the time required to load and process data. This is especially important for companies with large amounts of data.

Scala­bility and efficiency of data processing

Scala­bility: SAP BW/4HANA offers greater scala­bility compared to SAP BW on HANA. The archi­tecture of BW/4HANA is designed to handle and scale large amounts of data effici­ently, which is critical for companies with growing data needs.

Efficient data management: With the Advanced DataStore objects (ADSOs) and other moder­nized elements, SAP BW/4HANA enables more efficient data management and modeling. These impro­ve­ments help make system maintenance and data resource management easier and more cost-effective.

Simpli­fi­cation and flexi­bility in SAP BW/4HANA

SAP BW/4HANA brings signi­ficant simpli­fi­ca­tions in the data archi­tecture and increased flexi­bility compared to previous versions of SAP BW, especially SAP BW on HANA.

Simpli­fi­ca­tions in the data archi­tecture

Reduced complexity: SAP BW/4HANA simplifies the data archi­tecture by reducing the number of object types and standar­dizing data modeling. For example, Advanced DataStore Objects (ADSOs) replace tradi­tional DataStore Objects (DSOs) and InfoCubes, resulting in a simplified and clearer data structure.

Optimization of data models: Through the integration with SAP HANA, the data models in BW/4HANA have been optimized to take full advantage of in-memory processing. This leads to more efficient data processing and faster access times.

Increased flexi­bility and adapta­bility

Flexible data integration: With Open ODS Views, data from different sources can be more easily integrated and analyzed without the need for complex ETL processes.

Adapt­ation to business requi­re­ments: SAP BW/4HANA enables companies to adapt their data warehouse solutions more quickly to changing business requi­re­ments. This is supported by simplified modeling and improved usability.

A concrete example of the improved flexi­bility is the ability of BW/4HANA to quickly create new reports or adapt existing reports to respond to new business requi­re­ments.

Migration paths and strategies from SAP BW on HANA to SAP BW/4HANA

Migrating from SAP BW on HANA to SAP BW/4HANA offers different paths that can be selected depending on the specific business situation and strategic goals.

Overview of migration paths

In-place upgrade: This path involves directly upgrading the existing SAP BW to HANA systems to SAP BW/4HANA. It is suitable for companies that prefer a gradual migration and want to largely retain an existing data archi­tecture and models.

Remote Conversion: This involves creating a new SAP BW/4HANA instance and migrating the data from the old system. This path is often chosen when a thorough cleanup of the data landscape and a redesign of the data models are desired.

Shell Conversion: This method involves setting up a new, empty SAP BW/4HANA instance and then populating it with selected data and confi­gu­ra­tions from the existing system. This approach is suitable when companies want to build a fresh environment but want to keep some elements of the old system.

Strategic conside­ra­tions and challenges

Analysis of the existing system landscape: Before migration, a detailed analysis of the existing systems and data is required to determine the appro­priate migration path.

Overcoming technical challenges: Technical challenges such as data migration, adapt­ation of custom codes and integration with other systems must be carefully planned and imple­mented.

Change management and training: Migration requires not only technical adjus­t­ments but also organiza­tional changes. This includes training for employees and managing changes in working methods and processes.

Integration of SAP BW/4HANA with other SAP solutions

The integration of SAP BW/4HANA with other SAP products and services opens up new oppor­tu­nities for companies to optimize their business processes and data strategies.

Integration with SAP products

SAP S/4HANA: SAP BW/4HANA integrates seamlessly with SAP S/4HANA. This integration enables an efficient combi­nation of transac­tional and analy­tical data, enabling companies to gain real-time insights and respond more quickly to market changes.

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud: Connecting to SAP Data Warehouse Cloud provides a hybrid solution that combines the benefits of cloud and on-premise solutions. This enables greater flexi­bility and scala­bility in data management and analysis.

SAP Analytics Cloud: Integration with SAP Analytics Cloud enables advanced analytics capabi­lities, including planning, forecasting, and visual data explo­ration, directly on the data in BW/4HANA.

Synergies and enhanced function­ality

Improved data analytics: By combining BW/4HANA with SAP Analytics Cloud, companies can perform complex analytics and gain data-driven insights that are critical for strategic decision-making.

Efficient data management: Integration with SAP S/4HANA and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud supports more efficient data management by providing a unified view of the company and breaking down data silos.

Flexi­bility and agility: These integra­tions give companies the flexi­bility to respond quickly to changing business requi­re­ments and increase agility in using their data.

Conclusion: SAP BW/4HANA compared to SAP BW on HANA

The intro­duction of SAP BW/4HANA brings signi­ficant innova­tions and impro­ve­ments over SAP BW on HANA that have far-reaching impli­ca­tions for companies’ data warehouse strategies.

Key innova­tions and impro­ve­ments

Optimized perfor­mance and scala­bility: BW/4HANA uses the capabi­lities of the SAP HANA database more effec­tively, resulting in increased perfor­mance and better scala­bility. This includes faster data queries and more efficient data processing.

Simplified data modeling: By intro­ducing Advanced DataStore objects (ADSOs) and other optimized modeling elements, BW/4HANA offers simplified, more flexible data modeling that enables faster adapt­ation to business requi­re­ments.

Improved user interface: By moving to modern inter­faces such as Eclipse and SAPUI5, BW/4HANA offers a more intuitive and user-friendly experience.

Expanded integration options: Close integration with other SAP solutions such as SAP S/4HANA, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud expands analy­tical capabi­lities and enables more efficient data management.

Importance for companies

The develo­p­ments in SAP BW/4HANA help companies optimize their data strategies and make more informed decisions based on current, reliable data.

The increased flexi­bility and efficiency of BW/4HANA enables companies to adapt quickly to changing market condi­tions and manage their data warehouse landscape more effec­tively.

Make full use of the innova­tions in SAP BW/4HANA! Our SAP consulting company supports you with migration and imple­men­tation to make your data analysis and business processes more efficient.