SAP Business Warehouse Review

Good for reporting, but has poor technical support and lacks many important features

What is our primary use case?

We have end-to-end SAP. Therefore, we have the operations system, which is ECC6, which is the ERP. This is used for day-to-day data consolidating of purchase orders, finances, etc. We have 16 business lines. 

When the data comes, we need the reports for the management and we need consolidated and aggregated data. For that, we use Business Warehouse. NetWeaver is a platform, however, on top of it, you use different products. Therefore, on top of NetWeaver, we have BW overlayed for aggregated data for its management. It can be displayed as necessary in data visualization tools, like Business Objects, Excel, Tableau, Power BI, etc. 

The main purpose of our BW is to consolidate data and show the trends for the last, I would estimate, ten years.

What is most valuable?

BW is our bread and butter. We use it every day for reporting, for analysis, data consolidation and aggregation, drag and drop queries, etc.

What needs improvement?

There are a lot of things that could be improved especially in terms of data cleansing, data management, data lineage, etc. The solution needs to offer more flexibility in terms of formulas and the query designer. 

The solution has very limited options, so we have to mix and match some functionality formulas we create in Business Warehouse. The rest of the formulas and functionality we try to deliver on the front end via direct objects. Therefore, there's a lot of improvement needed. 

My understanding is that they are going to discontinue Business Warehouse so that they can push HANA, including Native HANA, S4 HANA, and BW/4HANA.

This platform has reached its limitation. In order for SAP to improve it, they have to provide a new product, which they have: BW/4HANA. 

BW/HANA is much better than the native standard Business Warehouse. It has new options, new functionality, is faster, has pre-built processes, etc. It has all the data processes from a different company's best practices, and they give it to you by default, just out of the box. This is what Business Warehouse should have been, and it's good they are pushing HANA instead of BW.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of stability, comparatively, the solution is quite stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution isn't that scalable. It depends on a lot of factors like what the budget of the company is. If it's scalable in terms of hardware, then we'll have to acquire new hardware and new costs start to pile up. We are not scaling it. If we go overboard with the size, then we just try to reduce the size. We haven't ever tried to scale it. We don't want to spend more to do so.

How are customer service and technical support?

We are very unhappy with technical support. First of all, they send their sales agents or pre-sales agents and most of them who don't know the solution as a properly trained tech would. We have an on-site SAP representative who is supposed to help us with our high priority and production issues, and they're not satisfactory to say the least.

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

I cannot recall if we previously used another solution or what it was. Before SAP, the company was using a third-party tool on Oracle or some other SQL database. We have been running SAP for the last 10 years, and I joined the company in the past six years. I wasn't here when SAP was originally implemented.

How was the initial setup?

Initial set up is pretty easy. You just install it and connect it to ECC. The tables are already there as well as the business content. If your company has a lot of customized processes, then you have to adjust a few things. 

Otherwise, if it's a fairly new company, then you just have to connect ECC and the data will start coming in. You can do batch jobs and create aggregation. The initial implementation is fairly easy in that scenario. 

What other advice do I have?

Our solution is strictly on-premises due to our company policy to not place anything on the cloud. 

Consultants with technical experience are helpful. They need to understand the processes, as well, however, because designing is the key. Designing right from the start is the very important if you want the product to work for you. 

There are multiple teams within our company. In my team, we are only concerned with BW and BO. With other teams, there are probably many other instances where someone that is using the solution is connected to other data sources and may be providing the data to the suppliers outside SAP using the portal. I don't know much about it because I'm not involved in this process.

I'd rate the solution six out of ten.

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