Enterprise Data Warehousing on SAP ERP – Where is SAP BusinessObjects positioned?
// by Matthias Rensing
Data & Analytics, IT & Management Consulting, SAP Transformation
The end of uncertainty in the SAP Business Warehouse environment is in sight
In 2007, SAP acquired the then market-leading (based on market shares) BI provider „BusinessObjects“, aiming with this at providing its own, high-performance BI solution. But the devil is in the details and the adaptation to the SAP world turned out to be more difficult than expected. It was only in September 2011 that the Walldorf company brought „SAP BI 4.0“ to the marketplace which is considered an important step for the integration of the SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions into the SAP BW world. Considerable progress has also been observed with respect to the SAP BusinessObjects analysis front ends. Analysis Edition for Office and Analysis Edition for Olap have by now reached a state of development that poses a serious alternative to the BEx tools that have become long in the tooth. In particular also with the new developments „Analysis Edition for Application Design“ and „Workspaces“, SAP is supplying tools which live up to today‘s requirements of a modern BI landscape, such as e. g. the development of BI mobile applications.
SAP-oriented companies used to have a hard time deciding on the DWH/BI strategy: to wait, to diligently follow the SAP BusinessObjects strategy, or to decide for the Best of Breed? There are hardly any reasons left for this hesitance.
The future of SAP BusinessObjects has been mapped out, but the alternatives have also proven their performance. All facts are available to create a strategy for the BI tools and an integrated data warehouse solution based on an SAP ERP data base for the individual company.
Advantage through practice:
noventum is responsible for Enterprise Data Warehouse solutions with the most diverse architectures in various customer projects
The BI experts of noventum consulting are currently actively involved in complex data warehouse projects of which each reflects a different point of view of the aforementioned technical development. The projects range from the pure SAP BW/BO solution over mixed forms, where the reporting is realised via MicroStrategy, to a Best of Breed approach without using SAP BW that utilises Informatica and Cognos. Each of these solutions is working excellently and takes into consideration the individual origins and requirements of the respective customers.
noventum has a huge knowledge and practice advantage in this topic
For questions such as „How do I set up my data warehouse?“ or „How do I further develop my current BI architecture?“, noventum consultants have extremely current references. These provide a concrete and practice-oriented foundation for the corresponding planning of DW projects. The intense cooperation with leading manufacturers as well as the intense networking with corresponding interest groups supplement this practice advantage into a comprehensive expertise.
„From the architecture to the implementation, we are currently responsible, at our customers‘, for the project examples listed,“ explains Thorsten Schmidt, Service Manager BI/DI at noventum consulting. „Between these practice examples, many variations are imaginable. With the respective know-how, solutions can be developed that are optimally tailored to the specific business situation. Necessary for the optimal architecture decision is the knowledge regarding the performance, advantages and disadvantages of each option.“
noventum reference 1
Reference 1, noventum is responsible for a project which represents a pure SAP BW/BO-based solution. This approach offers a high degree of integration between the ERP systems and the data warehouse. With BusinessObjects 4.0 and the accompanying front end tools, SAP by now is offering a true alternative to the BEx tools currently available, so that for companies that value a high integration based on SAP products the time of uncertainty with respect to the front end tools has ended. A tried and tested and in numerous cases existing business warehouse implementation can now be sensibly rounded out through the utilisation of BusinessObjects.
noventum reference 2
Reference 2 shows a mixed form of the other two variants. Here, the advantages of both worlds are combined. The warehousing is mapped in SAP BW. The reporting component, however, is realised with the „Best of Breed Champion“ MicroStrategy. This approach provides the advantage that some SAP specialties, such as Inventory Management can be used with an existing SAP BW functionality, while the BI front offers the option to take advantage of technologies suited for this.
business: pharmaceutical industry
Reference 3, noventum is responsible for a project which pursues a Best of Breed approach, even though SAP ERP is the essential component within the operative systems. The specific business situation, however, requires an approach that is located outside of a business warehouse implementation. In this variant as well, the special challenge lies in assuring an integration with the operative systems, including SAP ERP, that is as advanced as possible. In this case, the solution variant selected is Power Exchange for SAP Netweaver by Informatica. For one, with this tool, a connection to a SAP ERP can be established with the same SAP Business Content extractors as in the case of an SAP BW implementation. For another, non-SAP data sources can also be connected to in an optimised manner, so that a homogeneous integration platform can be established with the Informatica tools. On the frontend side, the existing Cognos licenses are put to use.
In this variant, a few specific issues have to be resolved, such as e. g. the consistent mapping of SAP ERP hierarchies or the presentation of the internal business volume from the cost center accounting.
noventum consulting GmbH