SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse Review

A powerful, feature-rich enterprise solution for business warehousing

What is our primary use case?

We are an automotive dealer for Toyota, Lexus, Kia, Ford and several other reputed brands.. We use this solution for providing MIS reports and information to the Service department . 

How has it helped my organization?

It has helped our Service nanagement analyse information across various key performance indices quickly.

What is most valuable?

There are several features in the product that we use all the time and find very valuable. Data modelling and ETL (Extract, Transform and Load)  features are quite extensive in SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse. We use SAP Business Explorer (BEx) tools for creating reports.  The BEx Query and Web template are then published on the SAP Enterprise portal.

There are valuable tools in the product. The feature set is pretty robust. BEx Queries published on the SAP Enterprise Portal have excellent features for horizontal drill down, vertical drill down, creating bookmarks and filters.  It works with convenient drag-and-drop functionality. It is easy to add and remove key figures. It's an excellent over-all tool for managers to analyze their business.

What needs improvement?

 People using SAP BW have to undergo some training to be able to use the product. Complexity can be reduced and could be made a bit more user-friendly. Wizards could be introduced to assist in data modelling and creating data flows.

SAP are constantly  improving the product and adding new features. In next releases SAP have already made things simpler enabling data flows to be copied. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the product for around nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is very stable. Our Process chains which are scheduled execute as expected. Portal reports too have no stability issues. In case any assistance is required SAP have excellent global support. With BI 7, there's no issue we have with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The product is quite scalable. They have a broad range of products for companies who want to upgrade or start smaller. There are multiple tools and other products. So, depending on the users' requirement, there's no shortage of products available to scale up. 

We currently have about 500 users and we have long-term plans to increase users. We get requirements for new employees and people who are transferred from one function or from one branch to another.

We scale up as per requirements.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support from SAP is good. If we have any problems, we can use their ticketing system and they're able to call. They login to the system and they look into it, and they send whatever they determine that we need. We don't have any great problems.

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

Previously, we were using IBM tools for reporting. But these were not analytical tools. It was a programming language which we used it to develop reports. It did not have these analytical features that BW has like drilling down or across.

How was the initial setup?

The deployment was a big project, so the initial deployment took a long time to roll out as per our first blueprint. It took almost a year and a half. There were several issues we faced in the first year and we continued to have some trouble for the first couple of years mainly due to a skill shortage.  We gradually gained some skills and experience on the product and things became better as time went on.

What about the implementation team?

We had an implementation partner. BW was implemented  after SAP Dealer Business Management. The vendor had necessary level of expertise.

We also require time for maintenance. Currently, we have a monthly and weekly schedule.  Maintenance activities like Change log deletion, deletion of Persistent Staging area tables and compression of requests in cubes are automated. Periodically we get requests for enhancements or new report development . We also periodically do some  fine-tuning of aggregates  to improve report performance. 

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

We already have SAP Dealer  business management and whenever a new user comes on the system, we have to pay an additional licensing cost. But for the same user ID on the Enterprise Portal  there's no additional licensing fee.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did evaluate other options before the company decided to choose SAP.

They looked at Oracle besides other dealer management  products.

We also considered development of a custom solution in .Net. Finally, we chose SAP Dealer Business Management and SAP BW for reporting.  It was an all-in-one solution and that's why we adopted it.

What other advice do I have?

New users will go on to probably S/4 HANA (SAP high-performance analytic appliance). Because SAP has come out with a variety of products the business choice depends on the size of the company, the number of users, strategy, etcetra.Businesses intending to go to the cloud can now consider  SAP analytics cloud solution also. 

But whether it's a small, medium, or large company, SAP has solutions for everyone. It depends then on the business strategy of the company, what the IT strategy is, and then the company's plans for growth. For example, they have to account for how many users they plan to have over the next few years. They have to be clear on how much they are willing to invest in the solution. 

It also makes a difference if they want to analyze big data or not and what future plans are.

On a scale from one to 10, I would you rate this product about 8.5 to 9.  

SAP has already improved with S/4 HANA, SAP Leonardo, and they've got several features in all those products that are much better.They have got Business Objects suite. They have upgraded visual intelligence, and a lot of other features like the digital storyboard, and the geospatial features. The new versions have already got a lot of things.

SAP keeps innovating. Every few months, they come out with something new. Companies need to assess what they would like to go in for.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

BI 7 On-premises
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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