Data warehouse – a burning platform?


Data warehouse – a burning platform?

Data warehouse such as SAP Business Warehouse – the chances are that either you love it or you love to hate it. Regardless of your stance, SAP Business Warehouse has surely been a solid servant in the SAP environment crunching out the numbers for the management for the past two decades. However, in the era of digital transformation, the BW’s running on traditional databases are facing constantly rising pressure to keep up with the pace, as do all the other traditional data warehousing solutions.

There is intense pressure caused by two separate forces:

  1. Rapidly increasing performance requirements due to processing large amounts of data
  2. Growing complexity to handle more granular and diverse data from any source and combined to answer more complex business scenarios

In addition, you have to keep it simple. It is the key to control cost of operations and to keep up with fast pace of changing business requirements.

The uncertainty of the future

I have been discussing the future of analytics with several companies lately and one question I have been often asked: “What next after BW?” I understand the question, as the pressure on data warehouses affect strongly also the companies running traditional BW’s. There is also the sales push, when technologies like Hadoop and HANA provide new ways of storing and handling data, causing confusion what it will mean to the current data warehouses.

I also came across companies that have taken steps to transform their data warehousing platforms, but are uncertain whether their steps were the right ones, as substantial investments in new solutions have not solved all issues as expected.

The fact is that there is uncertainty in decision-making over the future direction of analytics.

Transformation to analytic platform

Let me assure you, you don’t have to bury your BW! However, you have to start planning how your ‘traditional’ BW is transformed from a data warehouse to an analytic platform that can respond to the new requirements of digital era. It is a transformation process including changes in both technology and the concept for storing, governing, modeling and providing data for analytic use. You have to adopt the new way of data warehousing.

If you skip steps and limit the change to the machine room (regardless of the database supplier), you are still running a conventional data warehouse. (This is an example of the pitfalls addressed in our earlier blog SAP BW users WATCH OUT!)

11 things to consider

There is not a single answer on how the transformation is done, as every company is having its unique circumstances. However, several common aspects strongly effect your decision-making on how to proceed your life after ‘traditional’ BW. Thus, we compiled a white paper 11 things to consider when moving on from SAP BW.

The idea is not to point you to a particular direction, solution or vendor. There are plenty of good choices out there. Instead, we would like to shed some light on the topic by trying to help you assess the current situation and the things you need to weigh-in in order to make the right choices in longer perspective. Keeping the eye on the long-term vision and considering the relevant requirements for your analytic platform, is the best way to avoid the mistakes that short-sighted decisions have caused some of your peers.

Future of BW – a modern analytic platform

Then, coming back to the original topic, if you still wonder what is the future of BW.
Here is my opinion: the future of BW is looking bright! Our old friend, ‘the classic BW’ that has been serving us since the turn of the millennium, has certainly run out of miles. However, it doesn’t mean it needs to be discarded. Instead of HANA’s and all the other in-memory platforms replacing it, all the good stuff of BW has been completely rebuilt on the HANA platform.

The change is so drastic, that it is hardly the same well-known BW anymore. It could have even been renamed, but it wasn’t. SAP has decided that the brand of BW is worthy of living long in the future.

BW surely is answering to the challenge of transformation from traditional data warehouse to analytic platform. Yes – when implemented correctly.

Interested? Download our white paper 11 things to consider when moving on from SAP BW.

Read more about the same topic:

Mikko Koljonen: Scam alert: SAP BW users WATCH OUT!
Antti Lyytikäinen: Life after SAP Business Warehouse

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Blog writer

Lauri Puolanne

Co-founder, Solution Architect

Vincit Bilot

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