SAP PowerDesigner Review

A highly user-friendly tool that's great for documentation

What is our primary use case?

I'm using SAP PowerDesigner to build and maintain an enterprise-wide relational data model for one of the largest banks in Israel.

How has it helped my organization?

As a central DA, I can't do all this work. We distribute our work to different people in different applications, and you have to teach them to use it. SAP PowerDesigner is much easier to use and much easier to teach. We have hundreds of people using SAP PowerDesigner, and you have to teach them, and you have to get them to maintain their own data models.

What is most valuable?

SAP Powerdesigner helps build proper data models based on the methodology of relational databases, which are now 40 years old. I think the big advantage of Powerdesigner over erwin is its intuitive Microsoft like usability. 

It's much easier to use PowerDesigner than erwin. It's also a cheaper product, and it supports many different relational databases. I think PowerDeisgner is more practical, easier, quicker, and more intuitive. I prefer to use Powerdesigner over erwin for large enterprise applications. 

It's a great tool for documentation. A new data scientist can easily understand the data just by looking at it. Once you are managing your physical data with a logical data model, by looking at this data model, you can understand what it means, the business meaning of the elements which are maintained by the relational database.

What needs improvement?

Connectivity can be improved because it's not very good. I would expect data catalog types of products to connect to the database, the repository of PowerDesigner, and get the metadata out more easily. 

I think as a company, once Sybase purchased SAP PowerDesigner, SAP's investment decreased. I think the number of new features and the product's development is much slower than before.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

SAP PowerDesigner is a stable solution. I would say the quality of the software is good. No issues, visibility is very high, and almost no problems.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We didn't have any problems with scalability. We maintain hundreds of data models in the repository of PowerDesigner, and we are maintaining many versions in each model, sometimes maybe even ten. Sometimes even over a hundred different versions in one model, and we still didn't have any problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

I think technical support is okay, but it could be better. As they are in France, it's a little difficult to reach them. But it's not much of a problem. For instance, if you need to resolve an issue, you have to provide them with the data model. You have to send them the data model as a problem. To do this with a bank's data model, you need to go through security, and you need to get all the approvals. This part is a huge problem. It's a huge headache, and it usually takes time. It would help if technical support is handled differently and made more accessible. 

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

I worked with erwin for maybe a year or two. Then we switched to SAP PowerDesigner because of the quality of the product and the price. The cost of the product is cheaper, and the bank was very sensitive to the price. I am happy with the switch to PowerDesigner.

How was the initial setup?

The initial set up of SAP PowerDesigner was okay. But it really depends. For example, the initial setup for a startup would be an easy task. If it's a bank, you can't install it by yourself.
In my experience, it took months to set up and deploy SAP PowerDesigner for one of my banking clients. 

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

SAP PowerDesigner is cheaper than eriwin.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing SAP PowerDesigner, we actually evaluated erwin.

What other advice do I have?

I would highly recommend this product to be used in each and every application system where you have to design a relational database. It doesn't matter which relational database as you can use it for MSSQL, Oracle, Postgres.

There are over 50 or 60 different tools like SAP PowerDesigner, but most of them are limited to maintaining a few relational databases like Oracle or MSSQL. But PowerDesigner, as well as erwin can be sued with many different relational databases. This makes it easy to switch and maintain the logical level and then create the DDL for Oracle, MSSQL, MySQL, for DB2, or DB2W.

I am using just part of SAP PowerDesigner as a tool. This is because it offers some additional capabilities, like business engineering. Other additional capabilities that I never used because there were additional tools for that.

Whether we use Powerdesigner or some other different tool, it's impossible to build an enterprise data model for big application systems. For example, a CIF covering the count and the post.

If it's loans, once we have a database with over ten entities, it's very hard to do it manually. You have to work with a tool to create a proper data model, and then a proper database with properly defined entities, primary keys, relationships, and foreign keys. You must have a tool. It's impossible to do it manually.

Once such a data model is created, it becomes the source. When trying to understand the beats revolving around magnetic media, you don't have to use the relational data model and the logical data model to understand the data. Once you understand the data, you know the application system. The data is basically a PowerDesigner. The main usage is to design and maintain the data model, the logical data model, and the physical data model.

The physical data model is achieved by pushing a button, and the tools will automatically create the DDL. You would just have to implement it as it is. You don't have to write the DDL manually. The business understanding and the business requirements are translated into the physical design one by one. The implementation is according to the business requirement, as a business understanding of the system.

On a scale from one to ten, I would give SAP PowerDesigner a nine.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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