SAP BW/4HANA Review

Good technical support but the reporting performance is very poor


What is our primary use case?

We are currently using the on-premise deployment model. We have just started implementation for normal usage.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it's robust. 

What needs improvement?

The performance for the reporting is very poor, there is no graphical report. The price to performance ratio is less. It's also very complex, for example, if I want to make a simple change I have to spend a huge amount of effort.

I cannot integrate it with my other tools. It's not possible to do something in the predictive analysis. Mobile reporting and automated reports are also not available. 

I am interested in seeing more graphical reports. SAP Cloud Analytics is an immature product on the market. They have started something to showcase to the customer that SAP also can do the graphical reporting, but still they need a lot of time. They should have similar features to Tableau and Qlik.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for twenty years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. We don't have many users, but with my previous experience, there is no limit. I can increase my hardware and I can use it for as many users as I want. We do have plans to increase the usage.

We require ten staff members for the deployment and maintenance. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is good. 

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

I previously used many solutions. I used Tableau, SAS, Oracle, Power BI, and SQL.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is complex in terms of implementing the basic objects.

In terms of how much time it took us to implement, for the standard features which are provided by SAP then it doesn't take that much time. It can be done quickly, but if you customize it takes longer. It depends upon the complexity of the business scenario. It's time-consuming if I compare the data to other products available on the market. If I compare it with Tableau then it is tremendously time-consuming. 

Tableau belongs to a totally different league but SAP BW is still not that good. It needs a lot of improvement.

What other advice do I have?

It's a good solution if you're integrating data from SAP software like ERP and looking out for the day-to-day reporting from the operational users at the lower level. If someone is looking for the quick, graphical reports and mobile availability then this is not the right solution for that. 

From an analytical perspective, I would rate it a two out of ten but from the business warehouse perspective, I would rate it a five.

From an analytical perspective, I would rate it two because it's not competent in the current scenario of the market. The reports take a huge amount of time because it just uses its basic features called Microsoft Analysis Office which is like Excel reporting and no one wants to see data in Excel reports.

Businesses want to see the data in terms of the graphs, which can be easily readable compared to the numbers. If I'm giving the data in numbers or charts, the charts should be easily understood. Whereas BW provides data in Excel, so someone has to sit and create their own reports on top of it, which takes a lot of time.

The second thing is the execution time for the reports generation. Even due to the limitation of the analysis of the office I cannot process more than around 10 million records. It takes a lot of time to forget about 100K records. It takes a lot of time to load the data, whereas if I compare this with Tableau, it loads in milliseconds or seconds.

If I'm going to meet some of my customers and then if I decide that I want to check something about what the customer is talking about, for example, I cannot do that. I need to login, I need to connect to my SAP systems, then I need to execute the report and then see what the data is. Mobile availability is not there. While having a discussion with the customers I can include the report on my tab with Tableau. This is lacking in BW.

I had to tell a customer that I had to check the information and get back to him. I had to spend half an hour trying to call someone either from IT or someone in my back office to get the data and provide it to the customer. That was rubbish.

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