SAP Business Information Warehouse Overview

Reporting systems of all kinds are common in today’s enterprise environment. Many of these systems, however, are unable to provide the kind of information that you need to help you make complex decisions.Data warehouses, such as the SAP Business Information Warehouse (BW), provide the kind of decision-support system that is needed in today’s business environment.

SAP OLTP Reporting Toolbox

SAp until now, these solutions focused on the needs of operational reporting. The requirements of strategic reporting were not fully met.The SAP Business Information Warehouse provides a complete solution for all types of reporting and decision-support.

OLTP versus OLAP

OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) refers to the type of data processing typically done in an R/3 system. The reporting requirements in this type of system vary greatly from those in an OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) environment.BW is an OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) system, providing users with data in a form that makes reporting possible across different systems and different applications.

SAP Business Information Warehouse

Against this background, SAP decided to develop its own data warehouse solution, an independent business component combining all the different reporting tasks, with a separate server, and its own database and SAP system. This solution is the SAP Business Information Warehouse.All of the requirements and objectives mentioned so far have been met in the conception and architecture of the SAP Business Information Warehouse.A decisive advantage of the SAP Business Information Warehouse is the fact that all of SAP's business know- how, gathered from over 25 years of software development in the commercial sector, has been applied in developing the Metadata Repository in the Business Information Warehouse.SAP R/3 systems can be configured as OLTP systems and supply the SAP Business Information Warehouse with the entire SAP Business Content.

mySAP Business Applications

The SAP Business Information Warehouse has a central positio n among the mySAP solutions. Typical characteristics of the individual solutions are separate development, implementation, and maintenance of the components, and independent release cycles in the different areas.BAPI and ALE technology takes care of communication between these various systems. n The advantages of this architecture include quicker implementation, flexibility, openness, and extendability.

BW and the Business Framework

The SAP Business Framework Architecture has been developed to meet the demands made of a modern data warehouse solution. It is under this motto that SAP has recently transformed its R/3 System into a family of software components.Considerations such as how to implement new functions more quickly, flexibility, openness, enhanceability, and so on, form the basis of this strategy. Tried and tested ALE and BAPI technology in the SAP system provides the technical background for the componentization of business standard-software.SAP uses Application Link Enabling (ALE) and SAP Business Workflow to guarantee the integration of the whole system. This enables business processes to function across different components.

BW Strategy: An End-To-End Solution

BW is a complete data warehouse solution, from the extraction of data from various source systems, to providing a set of tools for analyzing and displaying the data.

Architecture of the Business Information Warehouse

BW has a multi- level architecture to provide the maximum degree of flexibility.BW can extract and use data provided by a variety of sources. These include R/3 and R/2 systems, non-SAP systems, flat files, commercial data providers, and even other BW systems.The BW server provides all the tools necessary to model, extract, transform, aggregate, store, and access data. Since the description of the data, regardless of its source, is contained in a common Metadata Repository, data from a variety of sources can be combined to give you enhanced data analysis options.BW users can access data through the SAP Business Explorer, a standard Web Browser, or third-party display tools, which have been certified for use with a common BAPI interface.

Details of the BW Architecture

For R/3 source systems, SAP provides a range of extractors that make it easier to use data from R/3. For non-SAP systems, customers can either develop their own extractor programs, or use one of the certified third-party tools available.Sources of data can be legacy systems, R/3 systems, R/2 systems, flat files, 3rd party systems, or other BW systems.On the BW server, data is stored in one or more InfoCubes. In addition, the operational data store, or ODS, can be used to store the transaction-level data.The Business Explorer consists of two tools; the Business Explorer Analyzer that is used to create and execute queries, and the Business Explorer Browser that is used to display existing reports. Third-party presentation tools can also be used. Queries can also be accessed using a Web browser.

BW has an open architecture that allows you to use tools from other providers for extracting data and reporting. These 3rd-party tools are certified by SAP.Data from providers such as Dun & Bradstreet or A.C. Nielsen can be used in BW.

Business Content Development

Business Content contains numerous objects that simplify the implementation of BW and accelerate the construction of an effective reporting system.These objects are grouped together to enable you to use them effectively: For all areas of your company and for many industry sectors, there are roles that provide users with the relevant reports and applications that they need to perform their tasks.In the future, cross-component applications called Analytical Applications will be available to provide direct access to all the information related to a process. They allow you not only to analyze these process, but also trigger actions and reactions in the systems that deliver data.

Areas particularly suitable for the implementation of Analytical Applications are, for example, Supply Chain Management (for example, supplier and catalog analysis, manufacturing analysis), Customer Relationship Management (for example, e-business analysis, market exploration) or analyses within the company, such as performance analysis, payment analysis, or human capital analysis.

The Advantages of Business Content

Business Content enables customers to implement BW more quickly and more cost effectively. Business Content provides you with a data model that helps you implement your BW, and also benefit from other customers' experience. Workplace

When a user logs on to Workplace, he or she has access to a variety of applications, including R/3 systems, legacy systems, and components, such as BW, all of which are related to his or her role in the company. Users also have access to various Internet services.

Starting Workbooks

A user accesses workbooks from his or her workplace (reports are assigned to a role). Simply  clicking on the workbook launches Excel. All the standard query-navigation functions are available.

Starting Web Reports

Web reports can be executed directly from the launch pad by integrating the URL for the report  directly into the user’s role.An unlimited number of Web reports can be added to the user’s role. The URL for a Web report can also be included in a role as a MiniApp, or defined as an item in an Internet page.Current data is selected by the OLAP processor upon execution. A user's authorizations are checked at this point.You are able to navigate in the Web report if the type of Web report you have selected includes a navigation toolbar or drilldown table items.

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