Will SAP HANA replace SAP BW in the long run?
By Ankush Hallan
Technology Lead, SAP Practice, Energy, Utilities, Communications and Services Unit
SAP HANA is SAP's answer for real time reporting on massive amount of data. "WHY WAIT "to see current business data if existing technology allows key business users to see business data immediately in real time and make critical business decisions and remain a step ahead of the competition ? "WHY WAIT" for data to be loaded to BW if HANA can support OLTP and OLAP? In Jan 2013 SAP announced that SAP business suite could now run on SAP HANA. Does it mean the end of SAP BW? I have asked this question to myself and in this blog let us see what the future might hold for SAP BW.
SAP has spent many years perfecting SAP BW and integrating it with its business suite , third party vendors and newly acquired tools such as BO .SAP has delivered business content for virtually every industry vertical and business scenario. Standard content can be modified to meet business requirement and gives a good start.
SAP BW is called a system. It has its own database, ETL process, reporting, planning, analysis etc. It is tightly integrated with multiple third party systems, apps and uses a slow database but is accelerated by solutions such as BWA. If the business is looking for an EDW (enterprise data warehouse) which is the single point of truth and extracts data from multiple source systems/ geographies / currencies / FAC's / company codes etc. then SAP BW is the way to go. SAP BW also supports unstructured data, complicated cross application reporting and complex business logic. SAP BW can be installed on certified third party hardware, OS, DB etc. and provides flexibility to the business to control costs.
I think HANA is not here to replace BW but to make it even stronger. SAP HANA will drastically improve data loading performance due to massive parallel loading. It means saying goodbye to long nightly batch cycles and getting the data into BW much quicker than before. BW on HANA gives business what they wanted in the first place - a powerful modeling platform with agility and performance. Business will be able to leverage all the benefits of SAP BW with performance driven by in-memory solution.
The layered data warehouse architecture can be simplified by "virtualizing" InfoCubes as much as possible and enabling real time reporting. One consideration could be of potentially having transaction level granularity in SAP BW as the source for reporting solutions. This simplification reduces time-to-deployment and technical designs. From my perspective SAP BW on SAP HANA would allow for the design of non-SAP data models within the same SAP BW EDW leveraging both SAP BW's and SAP HANA's native strength to their fullest extent.
There are a lot more benefits of having SAP BW on SAP HANA and this blog is certainly the tip of the iceberg!