SAP Business Warehouse Review

Integrates well with Microsoft Excel, largely stable, and easy for end-users to readily extract data

What is our primary use case?

All the data that we enter we can put into SAP in any module. We have an HR module, a finance module, an insurance module, and an investment module. All this data is being fed into the SAP CT production system, which is how we primarily use it. Also, we have some custom reports that are developed by our development team and these reports are used by all departments.

What is most valuable?

The fact that it can integrate with Microsoft Excel is the solution's most valuable feature.

The solution has functionality that makes it easy for end-users to readily extract data directly from Business Warehouse into Excel and carry on their analysis on their own.

What needs improvement?

It would be helpful if we could interface with BW itself, instead of piggybacking on Excel. If it could have its own interface where you can build dashboards and reports and where high-level power users can start building things, that would be helpful. Right now, only developers can build reports on BW. They need to begin to open it up to power users. The solution needs a broad-based interface.

More integration with Microsoft Office products (not just Excel) would be helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

The company has been using Business Warehouse since 2010.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Business Warehouse is stable but my concerns surround the complexity of the solution. When some things go wrong, it becomes extremely unreliable. If everything is running smoothly and there are no problems then it's a very stable system.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Currently, the scalability isn't possible right now right now with its current architecture. That's why it's important that SAP has come up with its HANA solution and SAP Analytics on Cloud, where it's much easier to scale as necessary.

We're a company of 600 people and about 50% of the company uses the solution. The solution is used daily for reporting for the organization.

How are customer service and technical support?

We contacted technical support in the past when we needed their help on a few issues.  It's a complicated system. Whenever our internal IT team was stuck on developing any reports we contacted SAP nearly every day.

Largely, we didn't have problems with technical support, but over the last two years, we were getting replies mentioning that we would be phased out of support and would need a new license. It's been a bit of a bumpy relationship in the last little while.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We didn't use a different third party solution previously. However, we did have some internal custom solutions that we used, not fully, but in some departments.

How was the initial setup?

The set-up of the solution was very complicated. I believe SAP has a new offering on HANA that may be easier, but we have still not adopted that due to cost concerns.

Deployment took about one and a half years.

Consultants had to come in with their content and explain everything and helped by calculating the BW content. The BW developers had to understand all the build documents. That took a lot of time because SAP's architecture is very complicated for general users to understand.

It took about 35 to 40 people to handle the implementation across the organization. There were about five people from each department because Business Warehouse is something that's set-up for all departments and all the systems that all departments use.

We have three to four people from our internal IT department that handle maintenance. We also have a support structure with an external third-party vendor who assists with our maintenance support. Roughly, in total, we have six to ten people handling ongoing maintenance.

What about the implementation team?

The company used consultants and integrators from the vendors to assist with the implementation of the solution. 

We had a team for coordinating with the implementation partner, they coordinated with the vendor and also the business departments to understand what was required.

The implementation was completely done by the implementation partner proposed by the vendor.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is fairly high for the solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were looking for an enterprise-wide solution. In terms of an enterprise-wide ERP solution, SAP was the only available at that time in 2010. It was able to provide us with all the modules in one place, which was what we required.

What other advice do I have?

We don't use any Data Quality or Identity Manager. Our company doesn't deal with customers directly as it is not open to the public. Our clients are mainly insurance companies. We will normally limit the amounts of data, so we don't have those components but we do have Business Warehouse where we pull in reports of incidents.

Recently, we were upgrading versions. We were on SAP BW version 4.7, and we have moved on to BW 6.0. Right now, we access Business Warehouse through an Excel add-on called BEx Analyzer which is also a product of SAP.

At this time, I wouldn't recommend the solution as the product support will be phased out by SAP. If others are interested in an SAP solution I would go for SAP Analytics Cloud.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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