December 2020

December 2020

That is the deadline when you are running a BW version 7.4 or older. SAP will end the mainstream maintenance for older BW products and encourage companies to move to newer versions, preferably BW/4HANA. If you read this and find yourself in this situation, don’t panic. Politicians would say that it’s way past 5 before 12. Luckily, we are consultants and see a solution instead of a problem.

BW/4HANA (version 2), is the newest kid on the block. It is around for quiet some time now but we see that adoption is not yet what you would expect for this new and optimized version of a datawarehouse. However, this doesn’t mean that BW is dead at all. We cannot go around it, a migration to BW/4HANA has a significant impact on your BI budget and requires a redesign of everything that was developed in the past years. Companies are looking at migrating but struggle with a business case to justify the cost. To be fair, there is no answer that is suitable in every situation, every company or every architecture, but I would like to point out some scenario’s that might help. Every pot will find it’s lid.


Company A still runs a BW 7.3 version on a non-HANA database. Due to the end of maintenance dates, something needs to be done not to risk losing support. Company A thinks that moving to BW/4HANA by 2020 is not suitable in there budget so they first move to BW 7.5 which gives them time until 2024 to plan a move to BW/4HANA in a second phase. For the second phase, they choose a migration using the carve-out scenario. In a carve-out scenario, a clean BW/4HANA system is installed next to the current environment. During a special transport of copies, all relevant dataflows are imported in BW/4HANA and converted to the new objects at the same time. With a project lead time of about 1 year, Company A has moved to BW/4HANA by the end of 2021, spreading the investment.

Company B is planning an upgrade of their ERP system to S/4HANA. With S/4HANA embedded analytics, some of the operational reports can be moved to the transactional system. However, this doesn’t mean that a datawarehouse is out of the picture. Company B rethinks the reporting strategy by moving operational reports to S/4HANA while keeping the more complex and integrated management reports in BW/4HANA. Due to the new reporting strategy, not much of the legacy systems can be reused so Company B chooses a greenfield implementation. Processes are revisited and reporting needs are mapped to the correct architectural solution. The result, a clean and optimized system with future proof reporting.

Company C is already running BW 7.5 on a HANA database. With the in-place conversion path, a starter add-on can be installed on a BW 7.5 system running a HANA database. The main goal of this starter add-on is to make sure that old BW objects like multi-providers, cubes & DSO’s cannot be created anymore. Instead, only new objects like composite providers and advanced DSO’s can be created. Enabling this option gives Company C the ability to clean-up their system without interruption and gradually move everything to new objects. Since Company C is already running on BW 7.5, the company has at the time of this writing until the end of 2024 to do this.

A clear long-term plan is key to every BI strategy to stay up-to-date with the newest technologies. I think that the benefits in BW/4HANA cannot be pinpointed to one straightforward thing but as they say many small ones …

At Cubis, we are guiding companies into the different pathways and tailor it to their needs in order to come up with a plan that is beneficial on the long term. Please don’t hesitate to contact us! We are happy to share our expertise and previous projects.

Blog written by Geert Dierckx