Companies want a detailed picture of their internal business processes and results. In many cases, they also need to satisfy legal requirements regarding publication and storage of information, e.g. annual accounts. They therefore require a consistent, secure and reliable base for analyses and decisions. Until now, companies have often had to resort to different and disparate technologies as a basis for analyzing, reporting and planning. As a result, it is often difficult to manage the diversity of fragmented and inconsistent data effectively. It is important for such companies to consolidate these isolated solutions and to replace them with a standardized, enterprise-wide data warehousing strategy.
When mapping such a strategy with SAP BW, the solution does not necessarily need to be a centralized data warehouse implementation. Instead various scenarios are possible that reflect the particular situation in the company. An enterprise-wide data warehousing strategy can thus be regarded as the sum of all decisions that need to be made on a corporate level in order to arrive at a solution that is valid for the company as a whole and meets every need for integrated and consistent data. This approach is not only more cost-effective, it also enables flexible expansion and development of the data warehouse in future.
Enterprise-wide transparency with consistent data
SAP BW delivers an end-to-end solution which combines data extraction, management and analysis in a single solution. The benefits – low Total Cost of Ownership, enterprise-wide transparency and elimination of isolated sources of information.
SAP BW is based on an information model that combines metadata objects from end-to-end. This models in detail the various business areas and issues of the company in question, enabling data to be held in accordance with the anticipated information requirements. The SAP information model also simplifies advanced analyses, since drilldowns from one level of detail to another are seamless.
Keeping data ready to meet expected needs
To save the data so that it meets the needs of various user groups, SAP BW supports three conceptual data warehousing layers based on the information model. Architected Data Marts provide information for a specific area or function. They are typically optimized for multidimensional OLAP analyses (Online Analytical Processing) and are tightly integrated with the data warehouse. Another important concept is the Operational Data Store (ODS) for up-to-date information and detailed queries occurring in routine, day-to-day operations. The data warehouse itself contains the history of all relevant data across all subject areas and it is typically used for strategic decision-making. From a cost, administration and maintenance perspective, it is important that SAP BW maps the three layers in an integrated environment. The performance and scalability of SAP BW provides a sound basis for an enterprise-wide data warehousing strategy across the different conceptual layers.
Data extraction, processing and storage functions ensure consistency
SAP BW comes equipped with extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) functionality for integrating data from all relevant sources into the data warehouse. The data sources are identified and data is transformed and transferred. The ETL process uses transfer rules to assign the fields of the data source to the metadata objects in SAP BW. An extensive library of transformation functions that represent the business logic is available for this purpose. In this transformation phase, data can thus be enriched by applying business management logic to make it suitable for analysis and reporting.
SAP BW includes Business Content in its scope of delivery. This consists of predefined information and analysis models that map proven scenarios from practice (best practices). Companies can use this as a starting point for data modeling and analysis. It also provides a platform for them to create new content faster and also accelerates the implementation process. The Business Content also includes preconfigured data extraction programs. Business Content is based on the SAP BW information model.
SAP BW is part of SAP NetWeaver and thus part of all mySAP Business Suite solutions. It is tightly integrated with the other SAP NetWeaver components. This cuts initial costs and also reduces the outlay on interfaces and on managing release changes.