What is our primary use case?
Our primary use case includes logging the reports on OpenTech manager. We wanted to slice and dice across the PO - whose POs, number of POs which are created, number of POs whose payment is pending, whose payment was done or the turnaround time from PO to payment cycle, etc... For all this we had to extract the data from SAP and build the cubes with the measurement and dimensions, and to slice and dice. For this, we used these cubes that provided VW. We connected it to our dashboard which is Tableau and used the dashboards for the management.
What is most valuable?
The features that I have found most valuable are its capabilities to connect to Excel and to slice and dice. But the reporting is not that interactive because of its reliance to Tableau. We have something called Excel Analysis, which we connect to the cube and do the slice and dice - so that is the best part.
The other best part, and why we moved from Microsoft to SAP BW, are the ready-made connectors where we can extract the data from, which was something that was a challenge for us to pull in SQL Microsoft Warehouse. So the delta features and Excel features are some of its advantages, which we've found. And with SAP it was easier for us to directly get the data immediately, rather than purchasing licenses and all. So although we have an additional connector for SQL extraction for the data from SAP to SQL, that connector doesn't provide us the feature of extracting delta data.
All the reports were already depending on SAP data. But anything in which we needed to combine data to their applications we were trying to pull with Microsoft Data Warehouse to those different users.
What needs improvement?
In terms of what can be improved, they already improved the features of SAP HANA, and since we are not migrated now, we are using SAP VPC and consolidation where they provide those VW's for HANA. Once we go there, we will be able to understand that differentiation point and what could be improved or could have been provided more. But as of right now we're in a very early stage so I don't see anything else that is required.
In the next release, I would like to see BW integrate the visualization with the reports which are in SAP HANA. If that gets into BW in the next release we would be happy rather than having to purchase different business objects, like for the front end, or Tableau, or other SAP products. Instead, of buying that, BW could provide us better visualization. Then we don't have to put data into other tools and build things out there.
For how long have I used the solution?
My organization has been using SAP Business Warehouse for a year.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I have no issues with the stability as of right now. Everything boils down to the servers and the configuration. So apart from fees, no issues related to BW.
How are customer service and technical support?
My team members who are handling SAP have been in touch with support. I would evaluate support at four out of five. We are happy with it.
How was the initial setup?
The setup was straightforward.
The only thing which we needed help with, and are still struggling with, is getting to know the AW server. That really helps because we always have to be dependent on a vendor or a consultant company to help with our strategy.
If SAP could help with that, it would really help us with the hardware requirements. Because we are not on the cloud, we still struggle with the SAP and always have to be dependent on a partner to give us all the information. There are existing details about the basic configuration and requirements based on the data sizing - that calculation is available and it really helps.
What about the implementation team?
For BW we use a proper software integrator to help with their part and implementing it for us. But I think their experience is very limited. But since we wanted a partner who knows Microsoft Warehouse and BI, we have connected as partners. As far as the sizing and installation, everything was done by our team within our organization. The vendor is only responsible for creating the cubes and the reports but we implement the infrastructure installation.
What other advice do I have?
SAP Business Warehouse is really good. I had already used it in four prior organizations and this will be my fifth organization using it. It is pretty good as far as SAP Data is concerned. So right now, our licenses are only limited to SAP Data because it is for external data, then we need to purchase additional licenses, which we have now gone ahead with.
So that's where one of the challenges is. They have ready-made connectors for the SAP, data transfers, extractions, cube production, and all the applications. We build the data and the reports. They are trying to deliver the data as compared to extracting the data from SAP to SQL Tables and then building the same logic and producing the report. We prefer that when it comes to SAP Data.
My advice would be if you have a data block and if you really want a big solution on the reporting side of it with slicing and dicing, definitely go ahead with BW when it comes to SAP related data.
On a scale of one to ten, I would rate SAP Business Warehouse an eight.
As I said, a few things which are missing include the visualization of reports. That's where your costs and licensing become heavy. When it comes to this database compared to Microsoft Warehouse, it's an expensive solution.
Because if I already have an SQL Server, my licensing fees and the server licensing cost for installation all go drastically down.
They also give us a free reporting tool. For the data view, we need to have user-licensing and every cost gets increased, as I said. For example, we have a license for SAP Data, and for external data, we also have to purchase one more license, and again for a visualization tool. So that way, licensing costs keep increasing with BW.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?