BW is an end-to-end data warehousing solution that uses preexisting SAP technologies. BW is built on the Basis 3-tier architecture and coded in the ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming) language. It uses ALE (Application Link Enabling) and BAPI (Business Application Programming Interface) to link BW with SAP systems and non-SAP systems.
1.3.1 BW Architecture
Figure 1.3 shows the BW architecture at the highest level. This architecture has three layers:
BEx Analyzer is Microsoft Excel with a BW add-in. Thanks to its easy-to-use graphical interface, it allows users to create queries without coding SQL statements. BEx Browser works much like an information center, allowing users to organize and access all kinds of information. Third-party reporting tools connect with BW OLAP Processor through ODBO (OLE DB for OLAP).
We will detail BW Server's components next.
The middle-layer BW Server consists of the following components:
Figure 1.3. BW ARCHITECTURE
Administrator Workbench maintains meta-data and all BW objects. It has two components:
This book mainly focuses on Administrator Workbench.
Metadata Repository contains information about the data warehouse. Meta-data comprise data about data. Metadata Repository contains two types of meta-data: business-related (for example, definitions and descriptions used for reporting) and technical (for example, structure and mapping rules used for data extraction and transformation). We use Metadata Manager to maintain Metadata Repository.
Staging Engine implements data mapping and transformation. Triggered by BW Scheduler, it sends requests to a source system for data loading. The source system then selects and transfers data into BW.
PSA (Persistent Staging Area) stores data in the original format while being imported from the source system. PSA allows for quality check before the data are loaded into their destinations, such as ODS Objects or InfoCubes.
ODS (Operational Data Store) Objects allow us to build a multilayer structure for operational data reporting. They are not based on the star schema and are used primarily for detail reporting, rather than for dimensional analysis.
InfoCubes are the fact tables and their associated dimension tables in a star schema.
Data Manager maintains data in ODS Objects and InfoCubes and tells the OLAP Processor what data are available for reporting.
OLAP Processor is the analytical processing engine. It retrieves data from the database, and it analyzes and presents those data according to users' requests.
BDS (Business Document Services) stores documents. The documents can appear in various formats, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, and HTML. BEx Analyzer saves query results, or MS Excel files, as workbooks in the BDS.
User Roles are a concept used in SAP authorization management. BW organizes BDS documents according to User Roles. Only users assigned to a particular User Role can access the documents associated with that User Role.
Table 1.5 indicates where each of these components is discussed in this book. As noted in the Preface, this book does not discuss third-party reporting tools and BAPI.
|Chapter 5, Creating Queries and Workbooks|
|Non-SAP OLAP Clients ODBO||Not covered|
OLE DB for OLAP Provider Extractor:
Chapter 3, Loading Data into the InfoCube, on how to load data from flat files
Chapter 10, Business Content, on how to load data from R/3 systems
Chapter 11, Generic R/3 Data Extraction
|Administrator Workbench||The entire book, although not explicitly mentioned|
|BW Scheduler||Chapter 3, Loading Data into the InfoCube, on BW Scheduler|
|BW Monitor||Chapter 4, Checking Data Quality, on BW Monitor|
|Metadata Repository||The entire book, although not explicitly mentioned|
Chapter 3, Loading Data into the InfoCube PSA
Chapter 4, Checking Data Quality
|ODS Objects||Chapter 9, Operational Data Store (ODS)|
Chapter 2, Creating an InfoCube
Chapter 7, InfoCube Design
Chapter 8, Aggregates and Multi-Cubes
|Data Manager||Chapter 12, Data Maintenance|
|OLAP Processor||Chapter 13, Performance Tuning|
|BDS||Chapter 5, Creating Queries and Workbooks|
|User Roles||Chapter 6, Managing User Authorization|
1.3.2 BW Business Content
One of the BW's strongest selling points is its Business Content. Business Content contains standard reports and other associated objects. For example, BW provides you, the sales manager, with the following standard reports:
Analyses and Comparisons
Administrative and Management Functions
Chapter 10 discusses Business Content in detail.
When necessary, we can also use a function, called Generic Data Extraction, to extract R/3 data that cannot be extracted with the standard Business Content. Chapter 11 discusses this function in detail.
1.3.3 BW in mySAP.com
BW is evolving rapidly. Knowing its future helps us plan BW projects and their scopes. Here, we give a brief overview of BW's position in mySAP.com.
mySAP.com is SAP's e-business platform that aims to achieve the collaboration among businesses using the Internet technology. It consists of three components:
As shown in Figure 1.4, mySAP Technology includes a portal infrastructure for user-centric collaboration, a Web Application Server for providing Web services, and an exchange infrastructure for process-centric collaboration. The portal infrastructure has a component called mySAP Business Intelligence; it is the same BW but is located in the mySAP.com platform. Using mySAP Technology, SAP develops e-business solutions, such as mySAP Supply Chain Management (mySAP SCM), mySAP Customer Relationship Management (mySAP CRM), and mySAP Product Lifecycle Management (mySAP PLM).
Figure 1.4. MYSAP TECHNOLOGY AND MYSAP SOLUTIONS
mySAP Services are the services and support that SAP offers to its customers. They range from business analysis, technology implementation, and training to system support. The services and support available from http://service.sap.com/bw/ are good examples of mySAP Services.
mySAP Hosted Solutions are the outsourcing services from SAP. With these solutions, customers do not need to maintain physical machines and networks.
Part I. Guided Tours
Business Scenario and SAP BW
Creating an InfoCube
Loading Data into the InfoCube
Checking Data Quality
Creating Queries and Workbooks
Managing User Authorization
Part II. Advanced Topics
Aggregates and Multi-Cubes
Operational Data Store (ODS)
Generic R/3 Data Extraction
Appendix A. BW Implementation Methodology
Appendix B. SAP Basis Overview
Appendix C. Glossary
Appendix D. Bibliography