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SAP HANA and SAP BW: 2 BI tools associated with SAP R/3
SAP was founded in 1972 by five former IBM employees and has since grown to become the largest provider of Enterprise Resource Planning solutions (ERP) in the world. The software company has more than 96,000 employees and operates in more than 180 countries.
SAP has also offered the BI tool Business Warehouse since 1998, besides the well-known R/3 solution. This tool is (often) delivered together with the tool R/3 when this is purchased and is therefore often the first BI tool that an organization will use after installing SAP R/3.
We have made an up-to-date and in-depth survey about all the major Business Intelligence tools in the market, including SAP HANA and BW. The tools are ranked and compared on 197 key evaluation criteria in our 100% vendor neutral Business Intelligence Tools survey.
SAP BW has lost ground again
SAP BW has had its ups and downs, but with the introduction of SAP HANA in 2010, an in-memory relational data warehouse, and later with the introduction of self-service BI solution Lumira, SAP BI is back with a vengeance.
We’re seeing that many organizations using SAP BW are now debating whether BW fits into their BI strategy. BW is often not seen as a BI solution but as a data storage method. This was one of the main reasons that SAP acquired BusinessObjects in 2007. BO is a full-fledged enterprise business intelligence tool, which was used by many of SAP’s customers. The acquisition thus had a defensive character, used to strengthen the dependency of SAP customers.
SAP BI includes several products
SAP has positioned BO as a separate solution: a full Enterprise BI solution. BO is very much a stand-alone BI solution. All other packages from the BI product range of software fall under the category of databases and packaged products. These products are only suitable for a specific solution, in this case, SAP R/3.
The products covered by the software’s BI stack include: SAP BW, HANA, SAP HANA Predictive Analysis Library (PAL), Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM), and all SAP Lumira parts.
SAP BW scores no more than average
SAP BW BI scores above average on all of the aspects, but does have a very strong integration with R/3. If a new version of R/3 arrives, the company ensures that any changes in data (definitions) are also readily available in BW. So you can get started with BW immediately, while with other tools you have to apply all definitions.
SAP HANA has been available since 2010, but unlike BW, it’s not free. SAP HANA is a relational in-memory database environment that allows for fast processing of very large amounts of data. It is a state of the art solution, but therefore it is also very expensive.
Lumira, the SAP’s latest self-service tool
Lumira is SAP’s latest self-service BI tool, which is completely cloud-based. This tool is separate from other products, like SAP BW and Business Objects. SAP BW, SAP HANA and Lumira form a perfect solution, but these three products all need to be implemented. The implementation time is relatively long, because you actually have to implement three separate products.
The cons of SAP BW + SAP HANA?
If you decide to purchase and deploy these products, then it’s important to pay attention to the following points:
- BW scores relatively low on all aspects of BI; it has relatively little functionality.
- Implementations of the whole solution (BW, HANA, and Lumira) often take long and are very complex. With intensive use of SAP HANA, costs can really mount.
- The solution is actually only really useful when R/3 is used in your organization, and it cannot serve as an enterprise-wide BI solution.
- SAP maintains multiple BI solutions together. It’s unclear what the roadmap of each of the products looks like.
- The offered Cloud solution is rarely used by customers in the areas of mobile & social BI and the data mining solution scores remarkably low.
What are the benefits of SAP BI?
The most frequently mentioned benefits of the SAP BI product range are:
- The solution is fully integrated with the R/3 solution, it runs alongside SAP R/3’s roadmap.
- SAP BW works well with SAP HANA and Lumira and is able to process big data quickly.
- Many R/3 users have been using SAP’s BI solution. There is a large installed base.
- It’s possible for end users to self-analyze data from SAP with the advent of Lumira.
- SAP remains a strong investment in this product range in the coming years.
SAP evaluated on the matrix
Do you want to choose between SAP NetWeaver (BW), BusinessObjects, and other BI software and select the best BI-platform for your organization? Then the BI Tools comparison matrix is a perfect instrument for both IT-managers and business executives.
The market position of SAP BW
SAP BI tools are strongly linked to R/3. So if you’re using R/3, then you will almost certainly also use this solution. But the solution is not suitable as an enterprise BI tool, it lacks connectivity and certainly functionality. SAP has therefore acquired BusinessObjects and Crystal Reports, two other BI solutions.
Whichever solution you should choose will strongly depend on your BI needs. Want to compare the different solutions with each other? Then the Passionned Group Parabola BI & Analytics is a good starting point. You will be able to see the position of all solutions at a glance.
“The BI Tools Survey from the Passionned Group was very interesting for our work.”
Lígia Maria Ribeiro PhD
University of Porto
Compare SAP’s BI tools compared to the competition
SAP gives you multiple solutions for completing the BI needs of your organization. Which solution best fits your needs now and in the future? Passionned Group has done a lot of research over the past 10 years into the BI market. In the Business Intelligence Tools Survey 2019, all BI products and suppliers are compared in more than 190 aspects.
If you purchase this survey, you’ll be able to quickly make a balanced judgment for your organization. The survey is also full of comparisons and the solutions have been scored on over 190 criteria. The survey can be ordered directly through our site.
Purchasing SAP (BI) tools
If you want to buy one of the SAP’s BI products and you need to determine what the best choice is, it may be wise to hire external expertise. The software company has an extensive (BI) offering and SAP experts can help you make the right choice and avoid pitfalls.
Want to know more about Passionned Group’s experts and how they can help you in making the right choice? Please contact us.
Want to more about SAP BI or Business Analytics?
At Passionned Group we have various services to make your organization work smarter. We give you free access to many of our publications in our extensive BI knowledge base. In addition, we can support you with one of our Business Intelligence training courses and advise you on the implementation of the desired BI solution.
Passionned Group is completely independent and not tied to any of the suppliers. If you’re facing BI challenges, please feel free to contact us and explain your challenges to us.