Data Warehouse Concepts

Understanding The Most Common SAP Data Warehousing Concepts [Mindmap]

Table of Contents

Learn Basic Data Warehousing Concepts

A Data Warehouse Concepts Tutorial


Are you having a difficult time understanding what SAP Data Warehousing is all about and what benefit it provides? Well most people do. Not only that, SAP BW consultants who actually have a few years of experience in Data Warehousing still have trouble understanding what Enterprise Data Warehousing is all about.  That's what this data warehouse tutorial is here for, to provide education on data warehousing concepts.

SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) is essentially about:

  • Flowing data
  • Storing data
  • Reporting on that data - usually as part of a management report

SAP BW has a very robust capability for connecting to virtually any data source or source system.


Essentially SAP BW HANA Data Warehouse is just that, warehousing or storing data.


SAP Datawarehouse InfoCube


Connecting to a source system, pulling data from that source system and storing that source data within the data warehouse, usually for years at a time. The data is most commonly stored in Dimension Tables or Cubes to support the data model.

Uses Various Data Modeling Tools

Also as part of the data flowing process, the data can also be transformed via start routines, end routines, update rules and transfer rules along the way.

So the data flow part involves connecting to a source system and pulling data into the SAP Data Warehouse ( also called flowing the data).

Once the data is successfully stored, it can then be reported on. SAP BW has several query tools and add on tools for reporting on that data.

The Powerful Workhorse Reporting Tool of SAP BW is the BEx Query.

BEx stands for Business Explorer (BEx for short). So far I have not ran into any data size or report size limitations with BEx query.

I can't say this for the higher end reporting tools such as xCelsius or Webi that have data limitations. In those cases, one needs to let the BEx Query do the heavy data crunching and finally at the last stage pass the results to xCelsius or Webi.


Key Data Warehousing Concepts for Beginners


In a pure SAP BW system, SAP BEx will usually be the final step for reporting. The BEx reports will be accessed from an InfoView portal or directly from the users' PC via the "Rich Client" connection usually found under "All Programs".


However, in modern SAP BW Data Warehousing systems, the show don't stop with the BEx Query. Higher end reporting tools such as Business Objects rides on top of BEx.

The 2 main reporting tools are xCelsius and Web Intelligence (called Webi).

Graphically Rich Interactive Dashboards


For graphically rich dashboards, xCelsius is the tool of choice. But beware, xCelsius has some data limitations, so a lot of the data analysis has to be completed at the BEx level.


Crystal Reports


Also, to complete the solution, Crystal Reports and Live office will be middle layer interface tools that are needed to connect BEx query to xCelsius as the integration is not that integrated yet.


SAP Webi


For mostly table driven reporting where dataset downloads are also desired, Webi is the tool of choice. In this case, middle layer Schemas and Universes have to also be designed, built and tested.


Easy Drag and Drop Interface


Once these are in place however, the webi report creation itself is rather easy to accomplish as webi has mostly a drag and drop interface.

So those are some of the most common SAP BW Data Warehousing and Business Objects Concepts and how all the tools are connected.


Data Warehouse Assessment

A data warehouse project is normally kicked off by conducting a data warehouse assessment, that results in a data warehouse project charter.

User Requirements Drives Development


First the datawarehouse is built based on user requirements, the data warehouse is connected to the source systems and data is flowed into the data warehouse.

After data is loaded, management and user reports are created with either the SAP BW BEx query tool or with either of the 2 main Business Objects tools, the xCelsius Dashboarding tool or the Webi reporting tools.  


Learn More Using Our SAP BW Mindmap


If you want to get a much more detailed view of the SAP BW system, you should download our SAP BW mindmap - an industry standard.

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Well if you are asking the question "What is SAP Business Warehouse" and reading this article, the question is: where should you go from here?


Starting Your Business Intelligence Project


The best place to start with any project is with the Project Charter but before doing that, give us a call and we can explain it further and answer your questions.

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Doug Ayers

I am an MBA, B.S. in Computer Engineering and certified PMP with over 33 years working experience in software engineering and I like to go dancing after work. I program computers, solve problems, design systems, develop algorithms, crunch numbers (STEM), Manage all kinds of interesting projects, fix the occasional robot or “thing” that’s quit working, build new businesses and develop eCommerce solutions in Shopify, SAP Hybris, Amazon and Walmart. I have been an SAP Consultant for over 10 years. I am Vice-President and Co-Founder of SAP BW Consulting, Inc.

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