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SAP Data Warehouse Cloud (SDWC), an end-user centric tool with on-the-fly data mining, has been launched. One must already be thinking how their analytics or data warehousing investment might be impacted by this.

Specifically, for those with BW/4HANA or BW on HANA (BWoH) already established, how and where does SAP Data Warehouse Cloud SDWC fit into the landscape? One thing is certain, SDWC is not here to replace SAP BW/4HANA or BWoH. SDWC has its own place and role to fill in your landscape.

How to leverage my existing BW?

On-premise BW/4HANA, which connects to SAP Data Warehouse Cloud SDWC through the ABAP Connector, has the ability to combine sources of pre-transformed data with analytics-ready data from BW with other sources in a single platform (e.g. data lakes, non-SAP systems, etc.), which is a major benefit.

A BW query or BW InfoProvider can be easily consumed into SAP Data Warehouse Cloud SDWC, where it’s possible to build views/model in both graphical and SQL type. Models in SDWC provide flexibility of transformation through calculated columns, formulas and data filters.

In-built SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) features within SDWC provide a perfect platform for improved analytics and decision making.

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Examples/use cases

A typical example could be for a manufacturer who would want to integrate and analyze ‘Sales’ information and consumer linked Point of Sale (PoS) data through the supply chain, from retailers to consumers.

In this scenario, cloud data from the retailer’s ERP and the consumer linked POS are fed into BW environments. Though SAP BW/4HANA or BWoH and their proven track record to provide everything needed to build and maintain data for reporting needs, the question arises: does it make sense to then load and store all the third-party data in BW?

SDWC, as part of the system landscape with its virtual access feature, can connect and integrate third party cloud data (POS or other data belonging to the retailer) with BW data. SDWC allows business users to combine multiple data sources and build their own models, stories and/ or dashboards to generate analytics and insights. On the other side of the fence, BW systems continue to have the flexibility to store only relevant or hot (data that’s accessed very often) third party data resulting in less ETL effort and lower overall sizing cost.

Another example is when customers have a large global presence, and not all entities use SAP ERP applications (SAP S/4 or ECC) as a source. A common solution adapted by many customers is to load, store and then report non-SAP data in and through SAP BW. Instead, for any quick analysis, business users can leverage SDWC to integrate and/or merge the required data in a single platform on-the-fly, which again reduces ETL effort into SAP BW.

For the above use cases, the information landscape could follow the below diagram.

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Value Add

Apart from the usual features like security, connections, simplified UI and others, there are some others that this tool offers:

1) Space management: A dedicated workspace managed for user groups or individuals. ‘Spaces’ within space management offer a place to administrate data, models, connections and user access specific to that space. An example of ‘space’ can be a line of business like finance or logistics.

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2) Data builder: This feature helps manage data from various data sources such as tables or views. Models are built here with some added flexibility to join, union and filter source tables. The option to create calculated columns is also available.

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3) Story builder: A visualization or a dash board builder with powerful SAC-embedded features.

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4) Virtual access to data sources: SDWC can connect to SAP and non-SAP data sources. Data brought into SDWC has an option to persist data or read it virtually from source.

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Pricing:

A key selling point, SAP has offered SAP Data Warehouse Cloud SDWC via a ‘pay-per-use’ model, similar to other cloud offerings. Click here for more pricing information. SAP is also providing 30-day trial versions to explore the tool.

Conclusion:

Overall, SDWC, with its smart features, adds more flexibility to incorporate dynamic business requirements. A smart utilization of the combined solutions of SAP BW and SDWC is the key to achieve a fast, effective and efficient output of insights which can be created by and for business users.

So, if you are a SAP BW/4HANA or BWoH customer, it would be a strategic decision to further invest in SDWC. SAP BW/4HANA (on-premise) and SDWC (cloud) applications can co-exist, making the best use of their individual application features, combined in a single landscape.

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About the Author

Prashanth Sowdi
Principle Consultant

Prashanth Sowdi is a SAP-certified professional working as Principle Consultant at Mindtree. He has 12 years of experience primarily in SAP BW and SAP HANA, in terms of delivering solutions across industry sectors.

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