Future Architecture & Analytics
SAP Business Warehouse (BW) is an established product that has been developed over 20 years to create an enterprise data warehouse. The high level of product maturity, the available business content and not least the deep integration into the SAP environment make BW one of the best data warehouse platforms on the market.
The SAP BW 7.5 on HANA release still used by many customers is now being retired and will be phased out of mainstream maintenance at the end of 2027!
Despite all the stability and product maturity, customers are faced with the questions of how, among other things, the company-wide BI strategy can be continued and what the legitimate and forward-looking solution for SAP BW on HANA is in the SAP product range to be able to align their own analytics strategy in a modern and future-proof way.
This results in our central question: SAP BW - what now?
The "legitimate" replacement for BW 7.5 is BW/4HANA. In addition to the end of maintenance in 2040, the innovative power of BW/4 must also be considered when deciding on a future BI platform. How well can cloud sources be integrated, for example? A look at the structured (development) roadmap for BW/4HANA suggests that no more technological quantum leaps can be expected. From this perspective, it is possible to derive the discussion under which conditions the migration to BW/4 makes sense in terms of strategic customer goals.
(BI) Cloud Products of SAP
SAP is currently focusing heavily on the development of the Cloud BI portfolio. While the SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) has reached a certain level of maturity, the development of SAP Datasphere is still in its early stages. However, considering the well-filled roadmap, visible progress can be expected at this point. Nevertheless, the question of the platform's direction remains. Is SAP Datasphere really intended to be the new "SAP BW in the cloud" or is a new, more modern vision being pursued? It is also questionable to what extent this can be transferred to customer requirements.
SAP's embedded products, above all Embedded Analytics and Embedded BW, are gaining in significance in the context of an S/4HANA implementation. It remains to be seen to what extent these technologies will contribute to making a separate SAP BW redundant as a company-wide data warehouse. The role of the Datasphere in this context must also be considered.
From SAP products to Hyperscalers such as Microsoft Azure
Looking beyond the SAP horizon, we come across the diverse product range of the major hyperscalers in the area of enterprise analytics. Microsoft Azure in particular offers robust and mature tools such as Databricks and Snowflake as well as MS Data Fabric. As part of a migration from the SAP world to Azure, many questions naturally arise as to how, for example, a 3rd party enterprise data warehouse (EDW) in the cloud can be integrated into the company's own SAP-centered enterprise IT.
Modern Enterprise Architectures
Modern architectures designed for this purpose successfully combine traditional data warehousing and analytics with the requirements of big data scenarios based on a data lake. The data lake acts as an optimal storage location for mass data, for example from the IoT, as well as for unstructured information as found in social media. Both worlds merge into a standardized data lakehouse, thereby enabling companies not only to use business intelligence and analytics scenarios, but also to operate data science and machine learning based on the same data pool. A data mesh architecture can also be built on this basis, allowing domain-specific data provision. Data lakes "live" in the cloud, which automatically suggests that an enterprise data lakehouse should also be operated on one of the large hyperscalers.
Looking back at the previous question about the future direction of the analytics strategy "after" BW on HANA, the question arises regarding the product maturity of the current SAP Cloud BI portfolio. Alternative providers of other large platforms such as Microsoft Azure, AWS or Google Cloud should also be evaluated and considered.
Workshops zum Thema
SAP BW, what now?
You are currently using SAP BW 7.5 and are looking for an alternative? We will guide you through the next steps to your future analytics strategy.