Is there life after SAP Business Warehouse? I don’t know. I have no visibility that far in the future. Is there life after Microsoft Office? What about Photoshop? These questions are not valid, as all of these products have a long evolution behind them and certainly a solid future ahead of them. Are there foreseeable changes that you should prepare for? Sure. Do you need to budget carefully for these changes? Yes. Should you rush forward? Depends.
When you consider SAP Business Warehouse, there have been numerous changes to the product so far. One could argue that two of these changes really stand out:
1) Upgrading from 3.x version numbers to the more recent 7.x versions
2) SAP HANA
Luckily most customers are already past the first hurdle, though you might still stumble upon some age-old data flows that haven’t been brought to the new standard. Whatever, the old way works, right? Number two is a more divisive as it changes the playing field, by bringing a serious element of platform cost to Business Warehouse -solutions. Up until the latest evolution, BW4/HANA, there was always the option to use your favourite database product as the backbone of your Business Warehouse. However, most of the innovations for Business Warehouse have for years now been only available to those fortunate enough to enjoy an SAP HANA platform in the backend. Despite the looming database lock, you still have time to consider what is right for you. Depending on your current version, SAP will continue to support SAP Business Warehouse on non-HANA databases until 2025.
Phew, now you can rest easy and surf the status quo to the next decade, right? Well you could, but do you want to? Chances are that your Business Warehouse is still reaching the end of its life span.
Some common symptoms of BW rigor mortis include performance problems, slow development pipeline for change requests, ever growing disk space needs, need for more detail in analytics, no trust in the numbers, long lasting data loads, ABAP-code of varying quality everywhere, redundant aggregates, very complex dependencies in the data models among other things.
Your reports might be not up-to-par with today’s consumer grade user experience expectations or might have just too damn many of them. Your corporate structure and system landscape might be more diverse now due to mergers and acquisitions. Perhaps some more independent functions in your business have stepped to the dark side, and embraced a shadow BI -approach. Perhaps you are considering taking the plunge with S4/HANA and wondering what is the correct direction for your analytics in the future. Do any of these ring a bell?
I hear so much ringing right now, that I have tinnitus.
So what could you do? And what should you do? At the very least check out our whitepaper on the subject here.