doc Introduction to SAP BW

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With the use of databases over the past decades, large volumes of data have been accumulated. To integrate and manage the data effectively and systematically, data warehouses have emerged. In addition, OLAP and data mining, which use the data warehouse, have become important research topics. OLAP allows users to easily analyze the data in the data warehouse in order to acquire information necessary for decision making. Data mining extracts unknown useful knowledge from the data warehouse. Data warehousing is a collection of decision making techniques aimed at enabling the knowledge worker to make better and faster decisions. Data warehousing techniques can be classified into three categories: data warehouses, OLAP, and data mining. Research issues in the first are data cleaning, data warehouse refreshment, physical and logical design of a data warehouse, and meta data management. Research issues in OLAP are multidimensional data models, OLAP query languages, query processing, and system architectures---ROLAP (Relational OLAP) using relational databases, MOLAP (Multidimensional OLAP) using multidimensional indexes, and HOLAP (Hybrid OLAP) combining ROLAP and MOLAP. Data mining involves various techniques such as association rules, classification, clustering, and similarity search. The objective of data warehousing is to analyze data from diverse sources to support decision making. To achieve this goal, we face two challenges:

Poor system performance. A data warehouse usually contains a large volume of data. It is not an easy job to retrieve data quickly from the data warehouse for analysis purposes. For this reason, the data warehouse design uses a special technique called a star schema. Difficulties in extracting, transferring, transforming, and loading (ETTL) data from diverse sources into a data warehouse. Data must be cleansed before being used. ETTL has been frequently cited as being responsible for the failures of many data warehousing projects. You would feel the pain if you had ever tried to analyze SAP R/3 data without using SAP BW.

SAP R/3 is an ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning) system that most large companies in the world use to manage their business transactions. Before the introduction of SAP BW in 1997, ETTL of SAP R/3 data into a data warehouse seemed an unthinkable task. This macroenvironment explained the urgency with which SAP R/3 customers sought a data warehousing solution. The result is SAP BW from SAP, the developer of SAP R/3. Here we will discuss the basic concept of data warehousing. We will also discuss what SAP BW (Business Information Warehouse) is, explain why we need it, examine its architecture, and define Business Content. First, we use sales analysis as an example to introduce the basic concept of data warehousing. 1.1 Sales Analysis—A Business Scenario Suppose that you are a sales manager, who is responsible for planning and implementing sales strategy. Your tasks include the following:

• • •

Monitoring and forecasting sales demands and pricing trends Managing sales objectives and coordinating the sales force and distributors Reviewing the sales activities of each representative, office, and region

In the real world, you might have years of data and millions of records.

1 Star Schema The concept of a star schema is not new.doc Page 2 of 10 To succeed in the face of fierce market competition.39154304. we need a dedicated system. The size of the dimension tables amounts to only 1 to 5 percent of the size of the fact table. such as a sales management system. it has been used in industry for years. It draws data from diverse sources and is designed to support query and analysis. 1.1 Figure 1.1 : Star schema The star schema derives its name from its graphical representation—that is. it looks like a star. This type of online analytical processing (OLAP) consumes a lot of computer resources because of the size of data. we use a special database design technique called a star schema. you need to have a complete and up-todate picture of your business and your business environment. The central fact table is usually very large. indeed. we can create a star schema like that shown in Figure 1. The challenge lies in making the best use of data in decision support. which is the data warehouse. It is the table from which we retrieve the interesting data. A fact table appears in the middle of the graphic. along with several surrounding dimension tables.2. you need to perform many kinds of analysis. Instead.2 Basic Concept of Data Warehousing A data warehouse is a system with its own database. For the data in the previous section. 1. To facilitate data retrieval for analytical processing. In decision support. measured in gigabytes. Common dimensions are unit and . It cannot be carried out on an online transaction processing (OLTP) system.

1. we move a large amount of data regularly from different source systems to the data warehouse. we move data out of source systems. From the fact table. Transferring. Keep in mind that dimension tables are not required to be normalized and that they can contain redundant data.2). which are not shown in Figure 1. select and summarize all quantity sold by the sales rep IDs of Step 1. A good knowledge of the source systems is absolutely necessary to accomplish this task. transfer. building a data warehouse involves a critical task that does not arise in building an OLTP system: to extract.39154304. From the sales rep dimension. 2.1. select all sales rep IDs in the Midwest region. transform.3. In data transfer. Foreign keys tie the fact table to the dimension tables. and Loading Data Besides the difference in designing the database.2 ETTL—Extracting. Figure 1. the sales organization changes over time.doc Page 3 of 10 time. such as an SAP R/3 system. The following steps explain how a star schema works to calculate the total quantity sold in the Midwest region: 1. Transforming. .2 : ETTL process In data extraction. As indicated in Table 1. The challenge during this step is to identify the right data.2. and load (ETTL) data from diverse data sources into the data warehouse (Figure 1. Here the challenges are to plan a realistic schedule and to have reliable and fast networks. The dimension to which it belongs—sales rep dimension—is called the slowly changing dimension.

Any error can jeopardize data quality. SAP R/3 includes several modules. most data warehousing projects experience difficulties finishing on time or on budget. some 30.doc Page 4 of 10 In data transformation. using the SAP R/3 data for business decision support had been a constant problem. To get a feeling for the challenges involved in ETTL. ETTL is a complex and time-consuming task. this system has approximately 10. Recognizing this problem. and HR (human resources). According to SAP. such as SD (sales and distribution). SAP decided to develop a data warehousing solution to help its customers. or in different file formats in different file systems. Some are case sensitive. In data loading.000 database tables. BW is built on the Basis 3-tier architecture and coded in the ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming) language. FI (financial accounting).000 SAP R/3 systems were installed worldwide that had 10 million users. 1. In fact. BW has drawn intense interest. The original data might reside in different databases using different data types. PP (production planning). According to SAP. For example. Because of this fact and for other reasons. others may be case insensitive. let's study SAP R/3 as an example. we load data into the fact tables correctly and quickly. or BW. as of October 2000. Basically. The challenge at this step is to develop a robust error-handling procedure. the SAP R/3 developer. Here we will discuss how SAP BW implements the star schema and tackles the ETTL challenges. the tables and their columns sometimes don't even have explicit English descriptions. This architecture has three layers. or Bell) into an entity with a single name (such as AT&T). For many years. SAP R/3 is a leading ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning) system.3 BW — SAP Data Warehousing Solution BW is an end-to-end data warehousing solution that uses preexisting SAP technologies. we might need to convert an entity with multiple names (such as AT&T. ATT. SAP R/3's rich business functionality leads to a complex database design. we format data so that it can be represented consistently in the data warehouse. as of October 2000. It uses ALE (Application Link Enabling) and BAPI (Business Application Programming Interface) to link BW with SAP systems and non-SAP systems. you can use SAP R/3 to run your entire business. Since the announcement of its launch in June 1997.3.39154304.3 shows the BW architecture at the highest level. which directly affects business decision making. . more than 1000 SAP BW systems were installed worldwide.1 BW Architecture Figure 1. In addition to the complexity of the relations among these tables. 1. The result is SAP Business Information Warehouse. MM (materials management).

BW systems. and other systems. 2. carries out three tasks: o Administering the BW system o Storing data o Retrieving data according to users' requests We will detail BW Server's components next.doc Page 5 of 10 Figure 1. BEx consists of two components: o BEx Analyzer o BEx Browser BEx Analyzer is Microsoft Excel with a BW add-in. If the source systems are SAP systems.39154304. and other objects . 3. which can be R/3 systems. flat files. An extractor is a set of ABAP programs. allowing users to organize and access all kinds of information. Third-party reporting tools connect with BW OLAP Processor through ODBO (OLE DB for OLAP). BEx Browser works much like an information center. BW Server. an SAP component called Plug-In must be installed in the source systems. The Plug-In contains extractors. The middle layer. The bottom layer consists of source systems.3 : BW architecture 1. The top layer is the reporting environment. Its easy-to-use graphical interface allows users to create queries without coding SQL statements. It can be BW Business Explorer (BEx) or a third-party reporting tool. database tables.

structure and mapping rules used for data extraction and transformation). including BW Scheduler and BW Monitor Metadata Repository and Metadata Manager Staging Engine PSA (Persistent Staging Area) ODS (Operational Data Store) Objects InfoCubes Data Manager OLAP Processor BDS (Business Document Services) User Roles Administrator Workbench maintains meta-data and all BW objects. rather than for dimensional analysis. it sends requests to a source system for data loading. BEx Analyzer saves query results. definitions and descriptions used for reporting) and technical (for example. Triggered by BW Scheduler. It has two components: • • BW Scheduler for scheduling jobs to load data BW Monitor for monitoring the status of data loads Metadata Repository contains information about the data warehouse. The middle-layer BW Server consists of the following components: o o o o o o o o o o Administrator Workbench. PSA (Persistent Staging Area) stores data in the original format while being imported from the source system. and it analyzes and presents those data according to users' requests. it connects with non-SAP systems via BAPI.39154304. InfoCubes are the fact tables and their associated dimension tables in a star schema. The source system then selects and transfers data into BW. OLAP Processor is the analytical processing engine. It retrieves data from the database. PSA allows for quality check before the data are loaded into their destinations. . such as ODS Objects or InfoCubes. such as Microsoft Word. PowerPoint. We use Metadata Manager to maintain Metadata Repository. Meta-data comprise data about data. PDF. The documents can appear in various formats. Data Manager maintains data in ODS Objects and InfoCubes and tells the OLAP Processor what data are available for reporting. Excel. They are not based on the star schema and are used primarily for detail reporting.doc Page 6 of 10 that BW uses to extract data from the SAP systems. BW connects with SAP systems (R/3 or BW) and flat files via ALE. Metadata Repository contains two types of meta-data: business-related (for example. as workbooks in the BDS. or MS Excel files. and HTML. Staging Engine implements data mapping and transformation. ODS (Operational Data Store) Objects allow us to build a multilayer structure for operational data reporting. BDS (Business Document Services) stores documents.

39154304.doc Page 7 of 10 User Roles are a concept used in SAP authorization management.3. For example. the sales manager. BW organizes BDS documents according to User Roles. 1. BW provides you. Business Content contains standard reports and other associated objects. with the following standard reports: Quotation Processing • • • Quotation success rates per sales area Quotation tracking per sales area General quotation information per sales area Order Processing • • • • • • • • • • • Monthly incoming orders and revenue Sales values Billing documents Order. delivery.2 BW Business Content One of the BW's strongest selling points is its Business Content. Only users assigned to a particular User Role can access the documents associated with that User Role. and sales quantities Fulfillment rates Credit memos Proportion of returns to incoming orders Returns per customer Quantity and values of returns Product analysis Product profitability analysis Delivery • • Delivery delays per sales area Average delivery processing times Analyses and Comparisons • • • • • • • • • • • Sales/cost analysis Top customers Distribution channel analysis Product profitability analysis Weekly deliveries Monthly deliveries Incoming orders analysis Sales figures comparison Returns per customer Product analysis Monthly incoming orders and revenue Administrative and Management Functions .

Here. and networks Order reports WBS Element: plan/actual/variance Cost center: plan/actual/variance Cost center: hit list of actual variances Cost center: actual costs per quarter Cost center: capacity-related headcount Page 8 of 10 1.Heavy reporting along with regular OLTP transactions can produce a lot of load both on the R/3 and the database (cpu.com BW is evolving rapidly. disks. memory.3 SAP BW over R/3 R/3 was designed as an OLTP system and not an analytical and reporting system. Within BW. mySAP. You can run as many reports as you need from R/3 and web enable them but consider these factors: 1. Although the BW excel front-end has it's problems.doc • • • • • • • • Cost center: plan/actual/variance Cost center: responsible for orders. overall system performance should improve on R/3. Major benefits of BW include: 1. 4. not data updating and OLTP.4 BW in mySAP. database partitioning. With a lot of work you can get the same analysis out of R/3 but most likely would be easier from a BW.3. Data analysis -.com.now imagine that occurring even more frequently. It is designed specifically for query processing. In fact. It consists of three components: . the data structures are designed differently and are much better suited for reporting than R/3 data structures. Another key performance benefit with BW is the database design. By offloading ad-hoc and long running queries from production R/3 system to BW system. For example. more efficient ABAP code by utilizing TRFC processing versus IDOC.com is SAP's e-business platform that aims to achieve the collaboration among businesses using the Internet technology. Other important factors include the built-in support for aggregates.3. quarter end. 1. or year end -. it provides more flexibility and analysis capability than the R/3 reporting screens. 3. Better front-end reporting within BW. we give a brief overview of BW's position in mySAP. In summary.39154304. BW provides much better performance and stronger data analysis capabilities than R/3.BW uses a Data Warehouse and OLAP concepts for storing and analyzing data. depending on your needs you can even get away with a reporting instance . where R/3 was designed for transaction processing. BW has ability to pull data from other SAP or non-SAP sources into a consolidated cube. Performance -. BW utilizes star schema design which includes fact and dimension tables with bitmapped indexes. Knowing its future helps us plan BW projects and their scopes. 2. etc). Just take a look at the load put on your system during a month end. projects. 2.

technology implementation. The portal infrastructure has a component called mySAP Business Intelligence. With these solutions.com platform. mySAP Customer Relationship Management (mySAP CRM). and training to system support. More detailed information about SAP BW is available www. its architecture. and an exchange infrastructure for process-centric collaboration.4 : mySAP Technology and mySAP Solutions mySAP Services are the services and support that SAP offers to its customers. Figure 1. 1. and what Business Content is.doc • • • mySAP Technology mySAP Services mySAP Hosted Solutions Page 9 of 10 As shown in Figure 1. a Web Application Server for providing Web services. mySAP Technology includes a portal infrastructure for user-centric collaboration. why we need it.sap. mySAP Hosted Solutions are the outsourcing services from SAP.39154304. customers do not need to maintain physical machines and networks. SAP develops e-business solutions.4. such as mySAP Supply Chain Management (mySAP SCM). it is the same BW but is located in the mySAP. . and mySAP Product Lifecycle Management (mySAP PLM).com.4 Summary This chapter introduced the basic concept of data warehousing and discussed what SAP BW is. Using mySAP Technology. They range from business analysis.

39154304. transferring. A star schema is a technique used in the data warehouse database design that aims to help data retrieval for online analytical processing. transforming. and loading data correctly and quickly. .doc Page 10 of 10 Key Terms Term Data warehouse Star schema ETTL Description A data warehouse is a dedicated reporting and analysis environment based on the star schema database design technique that requires paying special attention to the data ETTL process. ETTL represents one of the most challenging tasks in building a data warehouse. It involves the process of extracting.

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