SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW)

SAP BW is a business intelligence tool from SAP that has been continuously developed since 1997 and enables harmonization and consolidation of data in a uniform database. In addition to data storage, the tool includes extensive data transformation capabilities and also includes integrated components for analysis and reporting. The extensive possibility of connecting a wide variety of data sources and the processing possibilities of the data in BW combined with the analysis possibilities have made SAP BW a very central tool in the field of data warehousing.

SAP BW is the abbreviation for SAP Business Information Warehouse, which was also known as SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence (SAP BI) in the meantime before it was rebranded as SAP BW some time ago. The latest classic version is release 7.5. The next generation of BW is represented by BW/4, which is technically fully embedded in HANA technology.

To the overview


SAP BW enables the connection of different databases and upstream systems, whose data is processed by data management tools and can be evaluated with analysis and reporting tools. The scope includes interfaces for SAP pre-systems as well as for non-SAP applications, automatic loading and data extraction functions, management tools, OLAP functions (Online Analytical Processing), data mining functions and the SAP Business Explorer (SAP BEx).

Also integrated into the SAP BW platform is a planning component, SAP BI-IP (SAP Integrated Planning), which makes it possible to design input-ready reports and layouts for data collection and to edit or write away data using planning functions. Read more here about BI-IP.

SAP BW is also the basis for other applications that are based on the data in BW. Particularly noteworthy here is the SEM-BCS component, which can be used to present consolidated financial statements and is used by very many large, but also medium-sized corporations. Read more about SAP SEM-BCS.


The classic use of SAP BW allows only limited reporting of live or real-time data, as data from upstream systems usually has to be transferred first. However, this is now made possible by the use of BW/4 HANA, which enables the analysis of historical data and live data in real time.

Your advantage

  • Free structuring and interpretation of data
  • Data extraction, processing and analysis in one tool
  • Linking options for a wide variety of data sources, both internal and external
  • Large set of standard options for linking and enriching data, and additionally very flexible options for interpreting data using your own or individual program logic

Data connection and processing

SAP BW enables the connection of a wide variety of source systems. For SAP upstream systems, SAP provides predefined extractors that can be implemented very quickly to transfer data. Data from other databases can be integrated into the system via specific Database Shared Libraries (DBSL). A Java-based J2EE connector architecture is also available for accessing multidimensional or relational databases. Finally, Web services and XML data streams can be connected to the data warehouse via SOAP protocol. Another possibility is offered by CDS Views. In addition to direct data connections, SAP offers predefined connection options for uploading text files.

The data in BW is then usually routed through a layer architecture and condensed and prepared for reporting. In addition to various data storage options (InfoCube, DSO, Multiprovider, aDSO, Composite Provider), data connections can be easily customized. The data transfer connections have ready-made logic options, but can also be extended very flexibly with your own logic.

In addition, SAP provides a wide range of ready-made scenarios and objects (business content) that can be easily activated and used.

Your advantage

  • New reporting requirements can be implemented in an agile manner directly by the business department.
  • Data from different systems can be merged with local data.
  • Thanks to the intuitively designed UI, sophisticated reports can be created after a short training period.

Reporting with SAP BW

SAP BEx stands for a number of different data visualization tools. The most important components are the BEx Query Designer, the BEx Analyzer and the BEx Web Application Designer. The former provides a toolset for defining a query on the dataset in BW, which can then alternatively be displayed either in Excel (BEx Analyzer) or on the Web (BEx Web Application Designer).

Functionally, the reporting component stands out because data queries can be changed and restricted online very flexibly with Slice&Dice, thus providing a flexible tool for data analysis. With the BEx Information Broadcaster, reports can also be published or sent by e-mail.


SAP's portfolio now features numerous other options for visualizing data as an alternative to BEx tools. The BEx has its strengths primarily in the flexible handling of the queries, while other tools then make it possible to highlight the results more visually. Priority here is given to the possibilities offered by SAP Lumira, BO Analysis, SAP Analytics Cloud, Crystal Reports and WebI. You can find information about the individual tools on further pages. However, the basis for all these tools remains the data in BW and the definition of the queries via the BEx Query Designer.

Your advantage

  • Through Slice&Dice great possibilities of data evaluation with only a few reports.
  • Integration in Excel provides an ideal basis for users who want to make further analyses with it


As of BW 7.4, SAP BW can be made more performant by the fact that it runs on a HANA database and thus takes advantage of the in-memory database and it is also possible to push operations from OLAP to HANA under certain conditions. The BW Accelerator formerly developed by SAP is thus losing its significance.


SAP BW/4HANA is the only data warehouse solution for real-time transactions and analytics. It takes full advantage of the SAP HANA in-memory RDBMS, enabling companies to link historical data with live data for immediate analysis and rapid decision-making.

However, the prerequisite for using SAP BW/4 is the use of the new objects from SAP (aDSO and Composite Provider). This poses challenges for large BW landscapes in particular prior to migration.

More about BW/4 HANA


SAP's Business Warehouse is a long-standing component for preparing data for reporting and is extremely widely used. The possibilities it offers together with the interlocking of analysis tools and also other applications make it a very important component in the business intelligence environment.

Our offer

If you are interested in BW and would like to learn more about the possible applications as well as the differences and requirements of the individual variants of SAP BW, we will be happy to support you with professional and technical expertise.

As a first step, we recommend a goal-setting workshop in which the key points of a target scenario are developed.

Ihr Kontakt für weitere Informationen, oder einen unverbindlichen fachlichen Austausch.

Ihr Ansprechpartner

Dr. Jan Gräter
CALEO Consulting GmbH
Lochhamer Schlag 11
82166 Gräfelfing

  • +49 (89) 41617231
  • +49 (89) 41617239