Special Report


Special Feature: SAP Business Intelligence


January 1, 2005

SAP's Peter Graf on Business Intelligence Best (and Worst!) Practices

Peter Graf
Senior Vice President,
SAP Collaborative
Solutions Product Marketing


Track, Understand, and Manage Your Enterprise Performance: Integrated Business Intelligence Solutions from Business Objects

Extending the Value of Your Investment in SAP BW: Do All Your Users Have Access to SAP BW Data?

The Role of Data Integration: How Informatica and SAP BI Support Data Integration for Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence, and Beyond

Business Intelligence and Information Lifecycle Management - Do You Have to Choose?

SAS Gives You "The Power to Know"

Monitor, Report, and Analyze Your SAP Business Intelligence Data Across the Whole Enterprise

By the end of this year, worldwide investments in business intelligence (BI) will exceed $16 billion. The promises of these investments are manifold. In theory, more timely and effective decision-making should translate into more competitive strategies, greater market share, improved customer satisfaction, more productive employees, better control and oversight, and more accurate planning, budgets, and forecasts. The real-world results often fall short.

There are a number of misconceptions and factors that stifle the payoff of a BI initiative. Among the worst offenders, or worst practices, are the following:

"BI is just a data warehouse."

A data warehouse offers structured business information. In and of itself, it does not offer business intelligence. It is only one of many critical building blocks. Equating a data warehouse with business intelligence belies the very reason you implement BI solutions in the first place, which is not only to structure, store, and access information, but to interpret and actually act upon it for the types of benefits I just cited. True BI scenarios incorporate much more than a data warehouse and a slick UI. They work in lockstep with business process management, collaboration tools, and business applications. Tying analytics back into action — that's what BI is all about.

"Good reports = Good BI."

Many who design and implement BI strategies are lulled into a false sense of security, believing that good reports are indicative of good BI. Building and delivering good reports is only one facet of BI; it is by no means a complete picture. Dashboards, alerts, balanced scorecards, and KPIs are also highly effective means for communicating business insights, and are means that are becoming more popular given the trend toward "exception-based reporting."

"BI ends when the report hits the executive's inbox."

If you want to gauge the efficacy of your BI activities, take a look at what happens once a report reaches your CEO or your LOB executives. I see it time and time again. An important issue warrants executive review and the CEO asks for a report. The report is run (or in some cases, created at great expense) and sent via email to the CEO's inbox. The inbox offers no inherent support for collaboration among key stakeholders, no context upon which to draw meaningful conclusions, and no simulation or modeling capabilities — in summary, no actionable intelligence. And most glaring of all is the lack of tie-in to processes and applications. BI should be a catalyst for business transformation, an enabler of smart business. That CEO should be empowered to make better and smarter decisions (ultimately affecting the bottom line of the organization), and to quickly initiate process changes where recognized to be advantageous.

"One size report fits all."

We all understand that interest in a specific type of data — say, sales figures — doesn't mean a one-size-fits-all report is appropriate. A marketing manager may want to review sales figures by promotional campaigns, a sales manager by sales rep and product, and a purchasing manager may want to focus on trends over time in order to avoid out-of-stock situations. And yet, many companies resign themselves to having a data warehouse administrator run a report and having the users decipher it on their own. Or worse, the administrator (without the relevant business understanding) runs numerous reports tailored to what he or she perceives are the needs of the audience. Inflexible, impersonal BI such as this forces users to make compromises and hinders the quality of insights to be gained.

"Six different tools (and six different answers!)."

With the advent of Sarbanes-Oxley, acute concerns about timeliness, accuracy, and consistency reach well beyond the IT department. Internal controls and trustworthiness of financial figures are key concerns for every CEO and CFO who has to attest to a financial statement. Compliance can be difficult or easy to obtain, depending on the route you take. Isolated data warehouse implementations take you down a difficult and expensive path to compliance. And it's a path marred by risk. You extract information from a data warehouse, manipulate it with external tools, and then return the revised data to the system. There is no single version of the truth, and data modifications cannot be traced or audited.

"To get the best, buy best-of-breed applications and tools."

One of the myths that enabled best-of-breed environments to take hold in the 1990s was the notion that they offered flexibility. It didn't take long for both the business and IT sides of the house to discover the fallacy of this claim. It's hard (if not impossible) for a business group or executive to get to one version of the truth when different organizations take a different approach to BI. Moreover, manual integration of multiple products exponentially compounds IT overhead and expense. Modifications, software patches, updates, upgrades, and integration exercises — basically, day-to-day dealings for every IT department — wreak havoc on a so-called "best-of-breed" BI landscape. Vendors don't coordinate the release schedules with one another. They all issue updates at will, leaving IT organizations to administer change to one system, then revisit every other system that is impacted by that change. A single, integrated, and robust technology platform from a proven vendor, not a best of breed, is actually the key to flexibility.

"Analytical and transactional applications: different strokes for different folks."

Many BI initiatives operate in isolation. They offer reports, but are either not able or were not configured to track, measure, and refine operational execution. But the very premise of business intelligence is to assemble data for analysis that guides subsequent actions! It is absolutely essential that the BI solutions interact with operational systems, offer monitoring and feedback mechanisms, provide timely (or preferably real-time) alerts, and align business insights with corrective actions and process improvements.

The 7 Best BI Best Practices

The seven best practices to emerge in the BI arena are summarized in Figure 1. At the core of every one of these best practices is an acute requirement for a common, open, and unified technology platform. In this regard, SAP customers are ideally situated because SAP NetWeaver is precisely that.

Run business processes and BI activities on one common, integrated technology platform. Remember that "Business Intelligence" starts with business, not technology, and that business is in constant flux. Run BI activities on the same platform that runs your business processes, and you can readily achieve and maintain alignment between them, even as business conditions and requirements change. In fact, much of this alignment (that which is not wholly unique to your business) should come prefabricated. This is certainly the case with SAP business applications and the SAP NetWeaver technology platform.
Don't reinvent the (technology platform) wheel. The trend line in the BI market mirrors that which took hold in the ERP market: utilizing preintegrated technology suites or platforms has proven to be less costly, more flexible, and capable of supporting more robust BI activities.
Foster interaction and cooperation among BI project participants early and often. BI projects draw upon a broad-reaching mix of skill sets. Communication and cooperation among business, portal, data warehouse, development, administrative, and other teams are streamlined when one platform is in place and all project participants speak a common language.
Think big, start
and learn.
Starting with a focused effort, then iterating and refining a BI solution, optimizes its value. An integrated platform allows you to stay open and extensible (for example, you can activate features when the time is right).
Invest in technology that is standards-based, open, and backed by a vendor that will be around for the long haul. Choose a platform that adheres to open standards, supports integration with third-party offerings, and has the size and success to run certification programs for a wide variety of products.
Make data quality a top priority. Much rides on the integrity of the information and conclusions drawn from BI projects. An integrated platform significantly reduces the chance for data contamination and inconsistency.
Architect for your current requirements and budget, but be acutely aware of the need for downstream growth and flexibility. Strike the right balance between current budget constraints and inevitable downstream growth. Here, a common, scalable platform becomes a key asset.
Figure 1
The 7 Best "BI Best Practices"

Harnessing the benefits of BI requires broad-reaching technical capabilities along a number of fronts. You obviously need extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) capabilities, integration brokers, and data-modeling tools. You need a portal to enable access to information and analytic applications. Security is certainly a huge factor for every IT organization these days. And cutting across all facets of a BI endeavor is the need for integration with business processes and applications. These capabilities are all integral to the SAP NetWeaver platform.

When these technical assets are at your disposal, BI can take flight. You can use business process management in conjunction with analytics. You can wield the portal for broad-based delivery of content, be it reports, alerts, or KPIs. You can tap into collaboration tools so that people can discuss the contents of a report, reevaluate findings, and question conclusions. You can readily tie analytics back into transactions. And you can create processes around analytics, for example, via ad hoc workflow definitions and guided procedures.

The Breakthrough BI Best Practice

"Speed" and "BI" are not terms often heard in the same breath. This is a misconception. If you have the right platform (and again, SAP customers do, with SAP NetWeaver), you can achieve high-performance BI even when contending with huge data volumes and large numbers of queries. In its next release, SAP NetWeaver leverages scalable and distributed attribute-search technology, vertical decomposition, horizontal partitioning, smart compression, and in-memory processing. You can expect speeds that are orders of magnitude, not just gradual improvements, over what you have now.

A New Era in BI and the Demise of Long-Standing Tradeoffs

Nowhere is the term "Powered by SAP NetWeaver" more apt than BI. True business intelligence compels us to investigate, integrate, and innovate; to be quick and confident when we take action; and to ensure data integrity, consistency, and alignment with business objectives the whole way through. You can't do these things when wrestling with multiple platforms. You can with SAP NetWeaver.

Look out across the SAP customer and partner base (including the partners you see profiled in this Special Feature), and you see a new era in BI take root. Long-standing tradeoffs with regard to ease of integration, flexibility, performance, and TCO go away when you migrate BI activities to the SAP NetWeaver platform.

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Track, Understand, and Manage Your Enterprise Performance: Integrated Business Intelligence Solutions from Business Objects

Gordon Breese
Vice President SAP Alliance,
Business Objects

Gain visibility into your business — and leverage all your enterprise data. Reduce costs — while increasing productivity and minimizing demands on IT. Pinpoint your most profitable customers — and improve your overall financial performance. And ultimately, be able to act efficiently on the business insights available within SAP NetWeaver.

SAP customers look to business intelligence (BI) vendors to deliver all of these benefits, and more. Easy to say — not as easy to achieve. But with the reporting offerings from Business Objects, SAP customers get solutions that are uniquely integrated with SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW), a core component of SAP Business Intelligence (SAP BI).

Developed Jointly with SAP

Over the past four years, Business Objects has worked hand-in-hand with SAP and the Walldorf, Germany-based SAP competency and development center to develop its integrated solution for formatted reporting, Crystal Enterprise, for SAP customers.

The results "Unparalleled integration with SAP BW and the SAP NetWeaver strategy, in addition to integration with SAP R/3, plus a leading position in the number and scope of SAP NetWeaver certified product offerings. What does that mean for customers" You get best-of-breed SAP reporting functionality with the lowest risk to maximize your SAP investment.

Customer Adoption

The roster of SAP customer companies that have embraced Business Objects and SAP reporting solutions includes some of the world's best-known and most successful enterprises. Eastman Kodak Company, Johnson & Johnson, and Telecom Italia SpA have joined the ranks of long-standing SAP customers, such as Air Products and Chemicals, BMW Group, FirstEnergy Corp., and NVIDIA, to leverage the power of Business Objects' reporting solutions.

With a comprehensive portfolio of BI products, Business Objects addresses the specific needs of all users across the enterprise, from the knowledge worker/ information consumer to analysts and power users to business managers and executives (see Figure 1).

Figure 1
Business Objects' Complete Business Intelligence Solution

Enhancing SAP Business Intelligence Capabilities

Empowering employees with the information they need ad in a format they require to make better decisions faster was a primary objective for SAP and Business Objects. To this end, Crystal Enterprise — SAP Edition 10 was integrated with SAP BW. The bundled solution, available for the Windows platform, includes over 100 report templates, plus the ability to create 10 custom reports.

For those seeking to create custom reports from all their enterprise information, including SAP BW, SAP R/3, and non-SAP data, Business Objects developed Crystal Enterprise — Enhanced SAP Edition. Users can create and customize presentation-quality reports on their own, without needing to rely on the specialized skills of IT personnel and while honoring SAP security (see Figure 2).

Figure 2
Self-Service Access to Crystal Reports Within the SAP BW Interface

Crystal Enterprise — Enhanced SAP Edition enables SAP customers to:

  • Get the information you need, when you need it, and in a format you can use to make smarter decisions

  • Gain full access to all your SAP BW, SAP R/3, and non-SAP data to track, understand, and manage your business in order to maximize enterprise performance

  • Reduce IT expenditures, report development time, and end-user training

  • Empower end users to easily create their own presentation-quality reports

  • Securely manage your information, adhering to SAP security standards, by scheduling and distributing reports via the Web

Loading Data into SAP BW

If your requirements also include accessing heterogeneous source data for loading into SAP BW, Business Objects Data Integrator gives you the flexibility of a fully functional, enterprise-class data integration platform.

Data Integrator accelerates the implementation of SAP BW by simplifying access to disparate data sources for integration with your SAP BW environment. Data Integrator can:

  • Integrate heterogeneous data with one tool and a single, easy-to-use graphical user interface

  • Provide a drag-and-drop design environment that allows users to easily manage data integration tasks without programming

  • Easily load SAP BW with any SAP R/3 data that is not contained in the standard BW extractors, including custom SAP R/3 tables or data from industry-specific modules

Designed for SAP Customers

Covering the full BI spectrum from operational reporting to ad hoc query and analysis to enterprise performance management, Business Objects Crystal Enterprise offers proven solutions optimized for the SAP NetWeaver platform. Business Objects enjoys Certified for SAP NetWeaver certification for its WebIntelligence and Crystal Enterprise — Enhanced SAP Edition solutions.

As SAP customers have been exposed to the very real advantages of Business Objects solutions, they have responded by complementing their SAP BI strategic enterprise reporting solution with integrated reporting solutions from Business Objects. Combining world-leading BI functionality from Business Objects with the SAP NetWeaver open integration and application platform, SAP customers can leverage the best in business intelligence with full end-user power and control and lower organizational TCO.

For More Information

To learn more, contact your Business Objects representative at +1 800 877-2340 or +1 604 681-3435, call your SAP sales representative, or visit the joint SAP and Business Objects Web site at

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Extending the Value of Your Investment in SAP BW: Do All Your Users Have Access to SAP BW Data?

Scott Lawrence
Product Marketing,

A 2004 survey conducted by META Group, a leading provider of IT research, advisory services, and strategic consulting, indicates that 56% of customers with three or more SAP modules deployed plan to standardize on SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) within the next two to three years. The percentage increases to 63% for SAP customers running five or more modules.1

As an SAP customer, you are likely either planning to invest or have already made the strategic investment in SAP NetWeaver to leverage its BI capabilities. The next step is extending the information stored in SAP BW to more of your decision-makers in finance, sales, marketing, operations, and HR.

Cognos Further Expands the Reach of Your SAP BW Data

Many customers choose Cognos software to cure business pains such as lengthy reporting times, cumbersome report authoring, combining disparate data into a coherent view, and poor visibility into performance. Cognos, an SAP Software Partner, can also extend and enhance the value of your SAP investment:

  • More users leveraging the value of the information available from SAP BW, a key component of SAP NetWeaver

  • Self-service and increased reporting flexibility for novice users

  • Added ability to amortize your overall SAP BW and SAP NetWeaver investment over a larger number of users

Most importantly, Cognos further enhances your SAP solution in helping you run your business intelligently by providing business intelligence insights to the right users, at the right time, in the right format.

The Benefits of Integration Certified by SAP

Cognos has been one of the first vendors to earn Powered by SAP NetWeaver certification for its Cognos ReportNet components. These components hold certifications for integration with three key components of SAP NetWeaver: pre-packaged iViews for integration with SAP Enterprise Portal; the Cognos Driver for BAPI — an OLAP BAPI interface into SAP BW; and certified deployment of Cognos Dispatcher on SAP Web Application Server. These certifications assure you of:

  • Confidence and integrity of results by leveraging your investment in security, business content, and business rules, including hierarchies, multiple languages, and currencies

  • Time savings and simplicity with a seamless, simple portal experience for business users to get the information they need in a familiar interface

  • Reduced costs and simplified maintenance by utilizing your existing IT environment to deploy the reporting — from using the SAP BW application for as much of the query processing as possible, to deploying the reporting solution on the SAP Web Application Servers already in place

"From an ROI-oriented perspective, Cognos ReportNet has a high potential of becoming one of the leading reporting platforms for SAP customers."

— Jörg Narr, Analyst at the Business Application Research Center (BARC) and lead author of the BARC report "Front-ends for SAP BW"

How Cognos ReportNet Leverages SAP BW and SAP NetWeaver

Cognos ReportNet, our Web-based reporting application, lets you create reports using:

  • All your SAP BW data — Master Data, ODS Data, InfoCubes, MultiProviders, and SAP BW Queries

  • All your SAP business rules — languages, currencies, conversions, hierarchies, aggregations, calculations, and more

  • All your infrastructure — SAP BW query processing power and deployment on the SAP Web Application Server, with no duplication or redundancies

Cognos integration also extends to SAP security and SAP Enterprise Portal. This allows you to access and interact with any report created in Cognos ReportNet in the familiar SAP Enterprise Portal environment. It also provides single sign-on across SAP BW and SAP Enterprise Portal using your SAP roles for data access and to drive the user experience in Cognos ReportNet. You can extend this security to support single sign-on access across all your data, including non-SAP BW data.

Powerful, Flexible, Self-Service Reporting Across Your Company

With Cognos ReportNet, you can combine data from multiple SAP BW sources and instances with non-SAP BW data (for example, relational data warehouses) within a single report. This creates a single view of your operations and helps eliminate the multiple reports and reporting solutions that you're likely struggling with today.

Cognos ReportNet simplifies and streamlines every aspect of reporting for SAP customers, including those who must use data from SAP BW and other, non-SAP sources.

Users can create multiobject, multiquery, multipage reports, as well as pixel-perfect production reports (see Figure 1), all over the Web, bringing together key information from across your organization. A table of contents or paging down leads users to subsequent pages of supporting details.

Figure 1
Pixel-Perfect Reports for Production Reporting and High-Volume Web Invoicing

Cognos ReportNet's easy-to-use, Web-based report creation for sophisticated or simple ad hoc reports (see Figure 2) provides flexible report scheduling and output options — including bursting, for broad distribution to hundreds or thousands of users with one touch to the SAP BW server.

Figure 2
Multipage Report - from SAP BW and Non-SAP BW Data - with Sophisticated Formatting

Cognos ReportNet also supports users across geographic boundaries with diverse output format requirements. Multilingual reports feature automatic localization to reduce authoring times and ensure data consistency across locations. Multiple output formats meet the needs of all end users to increase satisfaction and use — users can have personalized default output formats or can change report formats to HTML, PDF, Excel, or CSV. The ability to output in PDF addresses the need to print your highly formatted, multipage reports at the touch of a button.

Ultimately, users can access reports when and where they need to — they even have the option to schedule reports to run at off-peak hours to reduce network load, or immediately after SAP BW data is refreshed for the most current information. Cognos ReportNet's easy-to-learn reporting environment ensures broad deployment and uptake with little or no training, and low administration overhead.

About Cognos

Cognos is a world leader in reporting, business intelligence, and enterprise planning software. Industry analysts, customers, and experts recognize Cognos's leadership in these fields and in the emerging field of corporate performance management. They point to the breadth and excellence of Cognos performance management software as the source of this leadership.

Founded in 1969, Cognos today serves more than 23,000 customers in over 135 countries. For more information, please visit

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1K. Schlegel et al.,"SAP BW: Staying One Step Ahead of a Juggernaut," META Group, July 27, 2004.

The Role of Data Integration: How Informatica and SAP BI Support Data Integration for Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence, and Beyond

David Lyle
Vice President of
Product Strategy,

In an effort to gain a single view of the truth across multiple functional areas, companies today are turning more and more to business intelligence and data integration solutions to consolidate data into operational data stores and large-scale warehouses. When using the right framework with the right data integration tools, companies can have faster, more comprehensive reporting with richer sets of business analytics and improved data quality within an ODS.

At the same time, many customers are realizing that data integration is not just for data warehousing anymore. Today, there are numerous other "killer apps" in the data integration arena, and companies need to look to their total information integration and data movement needs; there is much that data integration technologies can be doing for your organization and its bottom line.

This is particularly true in SAP solution environments, which are only as effective as their source information is complete, accurate, and timely. Operational areas of particular concern to SAP customers include:

  • Quick integration of non-SAP data into SAP BW

  • Feeding data from SAP BW into downstream applications

  • Large-scale data migration and consolidation

  • Synchronization of data from legacy systems

  • Seamless SAP R/3 upgrades

  • SAP application instance consolidation

  • Heterogeneous IT landscapes where external or third-party data must be combined with SAP data

The good news is that the same data integration and ETL (extract, transform, and load) technologies that have been developed, honed, and packaged over the years for data warehousing and business intelligence usage in your SAP BI solutions can be brought to bear in migrations, consolidations, and upgrades, as a growing number of SAP customers can attest.

Integration — Any Data, Any System, Any Time — into SAP

As an SAP Software Partner, Informatica is a leader in adaptive software for integrating immediate, accurate, and understandable enterprise data. In an SAP environment, this includes:

  • Scalable, codeless data access — from any system to any system — in real-time, change-capture, or batch modes

  • Comprehensive data profiling, filtering, and cleansing capabilities

  • Transparent sourcing, transforming, and loading of high-volume data from older applications such as pre-SAP supply chain and manufacturing systems

  • Quick adaptation to system and data changes with an open, scalable, extensible architecture

The Data Migration Interface (DMI) is the SAP-endorsed approach to integrating high volumes of data into SAP environments, including SAP R/3, mySAP, and SAP NetWeaver — especially SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW). Informatica's PowerCenter data integration product family is certified for integration via the DMI interface and proven to integrate data into SAP in a standard, seamless, and simplified fashion. It can also load data into SAP through other standard SAP-approved interfaces and technologies, including BAPI (for bidirectional access), BCI, Web services, ALE/IDOC, and ABAP.

For example, Informatica PowerCenter Connect technology for SAP, and in particular SAP BW (the core component of SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence), provides bi-directional connectivity that enables organizations to quickly integrate non-SAP data into SAP BW, as well as leverage data from SAP BW to feed downstream applications. Working in conjunction with Informatica PowerCenter, companies can easily access and transform data from any source to populate and extend any source.

Regardless of the interface, Informatica provides application-layer integration with SAP solutions. Time-to-implementation and costs are minimized through codeless GUI-based development for leveraging DMI, BAPI, and other interfaces, and through reusable objects such as data transforms and mappings. PowerCenter is also adept at capturing and managing metadata, which is a key aspect of implementing master data management strategies, as well as successful business intelligence and compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulatory mandates. What's more, SAP and Informatica data integration features extend your current data integration and reporting capabilities:

Drive Migration and Consolidation Efficiency
If you've ever engaged in large-scale data migration or system consolidation, you know the traditional hurdles of moving high-volume data from mainframe systems and other diverse sources. Typically complex transformation and conversion are involved, as well as data cleansing and validation.

Informatica's PowerCenter data integration software works with SAP to enable these processes to be performed faster and more efficiently through seamless, direct data access, visually driven design, a leading high-performance transformation and integration engine, and the ability to cleanse, profile, and optimize data along the way as an integral step in the holistic integration process.

Stay Synchronized with Legacy Systems
Much of the data in large, global enterprises resides in mainframe applications as a system of record. It is critical to be able to include that data in SAP BW or other warehouse initiatives to provide accurate and complete reporting for key decision-making efforts. To ease the often problematic sourcing of and synchronization with mainframe data, Informatica PowerExchange unlocks complex data held on mainframes or legacy midrange systems through a seamless, codeless, direct access approach. Migrations and consolidations often require keeping legacy applications up and running for some time, which in turn requires that data be kept in sync between SAP and the older systems.

PowerExchange provides patented changed data capture technology that enables old and new applications to be kept synchronized as long as you wish. Data changes are quickly identified and propagated between SAP and legacy applications, transparently and non-invasively to the host systems — with no special coding and no system performance "hit."

Power a Single View of Enterprise Data Across All Systems
Coming full circle, data warehousing and business intelligence (BI) continue to be key concerns of SAP customers looking to fully leverage their SAP data. Everything about PowerCenter that applies to migration, upgrades, and instance consolidation is also true for creating single enterprise views via SAP BW using both SAP and non-SAP enterprise data. DMI and BAPI Web services can be leveraged by PowerCenter to provision and update SAP BW, and place it at the center of an enterprise business intelligence environment.

In line with "any data, any source, any time," data can be extracted transparently and noninvasively from any non-SAP system. PowerCenter accesses all data constructs, and the data is accessed at the metadata level — metadata being key to effective BI. The extracted data can be cleansed and optimized for BI, and loaded into SAP BW for single views of any variable — whether it is a customer, a product, a supplier, a sales area, etc. — along with analysis and reporting in batch, real-time, or near-real-time modes. And because there is no hand coding involved, it is easy to respond to changing information needs. PowerCenter also enables writing data back from SAP BW via Open Hub Service to downstream systems and applications.

Success Story: 46 Million Records Migrated into SAP for Improved Supply Chain Efficiency

In one of the world's largest logistical solutions, a government customer wanted one general system that integrated as many organizational processes as possible. Informatica's software was used to access, cleanse, transform, and deliver 46 million data records from multiple sources (including mainframe data) into a single SAP system, completing the project in one-third the budgeted time and saving an estimated 50 person-years of effort.

Moreover, the data transformed by PowerCenter is of immensely better quality than what the customer had before, with just 350 "bad" records across all 46 million entries. With the initial consolidation project complete, the customer continues to use Informatica to integrate data into SAP, achieving a high degree of reuse and standardization for ongoing interfaces with various systems — thus enabling a single materials master with a standard way of looking at logistical information across the organization.

Informatica Fully Complements SAP

Data in, data out, data back in. Unidirectional, bidirectional. Real time, change-capture, batch, right time. Whatever the data integration challenge you're facing, with more than 400 joint SAP and Informatica customers worldwide, Informatica has a long history of helping SAP customers cut the time, costs, and risks of migrating, consolidating, and synchronizing data and systems; upgrading to the latest SAP solutions; and fully leveraging SAP data in an enterprise BI context.

To learn more, please visit

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Business Intelligence and Information Lifecycle Management - Do You Have to Choose?
Leverage Your SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence Investment with Proactive Information Lifecycle Management

Leo Kistner
SAP Business Unit,
OuterBay Technologies

In a typical data warehouse environment, the volume of enterprise data is growing at an exceedingly rapid pace. At the same time, the ability to analyze all the relevant data across different subject areas is crucial to making the right tactical and strategic business decisions.

Current data warehouses suffer from this explosion of unmanaged data, which limits performance and increases storage costs. Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) is an approach to data management that promises benefits using methods called "data aging" and "storage tiering" to categorize and manage data based on its age and value using multiple storage devices with different performance and cost criteria. ILM enables enterprises to proactively manage data growth and guarantee transparent access to any data on various storage levels at any time. With ILM, enterprises can store more data for less.

OuterBay LiveArchive for SAP BI at a Glance


  • Manages actual data volume in SAP BW

  • Provides transparent access to all levels of information

  • Runs all queries and applications without modifications

  • Supports flexible configuration and support for all storage types

  • Provides enabling technology for customers' data aging strategies


  • Improves manageability of large quantities (terabytes, petabytes) of critical business information

  • Provides seamless access to detailed and historical data

  • Reduces the total cost of ownership

  • Accelerates backup and recovery processes

  • Improves the effectiveness of business intelligence by offering more detailed information (or more history) with your current infrastructure

How Do You Manage Your Data Today?

A data warehouse is designed to support strategic decision-making, but for a truly complete picture of the business, companies need access to the detailed history of business processes and geographic areas. The challenge is that the data needed for historical analysis is most often stored at a highly granular level — and not all of it is necessarily inside your SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW). In addition, many companies are forced or want to keep detailed, historical data on hand in order to meet their internal service levels or legal obligations.

The traditional approach to managing the volume and variety of detailed information in enterprise databases is simply to add more infrastructure (servers, disks, etc.), working in combination with manual processes involved in data archiving, such as unloading and reloading/reindexing data. However, the cost of managing such IT systems and processes can exceed the acquisition costs of servers and raw disk storage many times over. Additionally, data warehouse users cannot be kept waiting for historical data to be restored and indexed; they also need access to detailed data for regular reporting and ad hoc analysis.

As a result, companies face a data management tradeoff, being forced to choose between high TCO for your supporting IT infrastructure or limited access to historical and detailed information.

OuterBay LiveArchive for SAP Business Intelligence (SAP BI)

One solution for a data aging strategy for SAP BI is OuterBay's LiveArchive for SAP BI, making data and storage management for SAP BI users easy and affordable.

OuterBay LiveArchive is a result of a development partnership between SAP and OuterBay. This offering manages the acceleration of data growth by identifying and relocating historical and detailed data to an online, easily accessible archive (a "live archive") on more cost-effective storage tiers. At the same time, OuterBay LiveArchive provides real-time user access to detailed historical data for effective business intelligence, and is designed to help you manage the need for low TCO and a high degree of data availability (see Figure 1).

Figure 1
Storage Tiering: Use Low-Cost, Near-Line Storage for LiveArchive and Reserve High-Performance, Primary Storage for SAP BW

Value of Combined Reporting

For effective business intelligence, a data aging strategy requires the ability to query and analyze all information. A single query might involve access to historical data and real-time information. Utilizing OuterBay's LiveArchive, historical and detailed data is relocated out of the SAP BW database (with SAP BW being the core component of SAP BI) to the real-time, online live archive. OuterBay LiveArchive also provides Combined Reporting capabilities, which enable any information (currently in both the data warehouse and the LiveArchive) to be available at SAP BI users' fingertips (see Figure 2).

Figure 2
Combined Reporting Gives Users Transparent Access to All Levels of Information Across Storage Tiers

There is no need to reload the information back to the SAP BW system for a "combined view." This virtual aggregation is performed automatically and transparently by LiveArchive. Using InfoProviders and/or MultiProviders, SAP BI users get the full value out of their SAP BW systems.

With Combined Reporting, the SAP BW database can be streamlined for optimal performance due to reduced overhead for maintenance and management of high volumes of data. Combined Reporting also enables a more aggressive data aging strategy, since all information is available whether it is in SAP BW or the LiveArchive. This data aging strategy can be adopted for any combination of InfoCubes and ODS objects. As the data storage location is totally transparent to SAP BW users, they can query any data provided by InfoProvider/MultiProvider objects. In addition, the solution leverages more cost-effective storage tiers, reducing IT infrastructure TCO.

As a result, companies no longer have to make a choice between low TCO for IT infrastructure and full access to historical and detail information. Combined Reporting delivers the best of both worlds. There are no "black holes," as any data is available and can be used to satisfy the business query.

Using Combined Reporting from LiveArchive along with data aging principles significantly increases the quality of decision-making reports for strategic enterprise management, as typically more detail or history of data is available with low additional costs in terms of infrastructure investment.

The combination of a user-defined data aging strategy and OuterBay LiveArchive enables users to realize the benefits of Information Lifecycle Management today. For more on OuterBay LiveArchive, please visit

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SAS Gives You "The Power to Know"

Tonny Dierckx
Director Intelligence Architecture,

Bernd Kosnar
Technology Strategist,

Getting ahead of the competition and staying there poses a constant challenge. It requires a business to answer such fundamental questions as:

  • What is the minimal level of inventory needed to service my customers at a 95% level?

  • How can I prevent defects before they reach my customer?

  • How will my Profit & Loss statement be affected if I run additional marketing campaigns?

  • Are my revenue projections based on an accurate forecast of demand?

Companies often find that a single approach cannot deliver meaningful answers to these deceptively simple questions, and that each cross-functional task requires another specific tool. SAS, however, can deliver the standard for business analytics without compromising on functionality or requiring investment in additional tools. Furthermore, you can enhance SAP Business Intelligence (SAP BI) by using SAS business analytics through SAP-certified interfaces and technology.

SAP-Certified Integration Offered by SAS

SAS offers SAP-certified integration with SAP NetWeaver, including SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) — the key component of SAP Business Intelligence.1 SAS also integrates with SAP R/3 and all the relational and nonrelational databases, spreadsheets, and other electronic data vital to your organization.

These easy-to-use data integration capabilities upload data into new applications offered by SAP NetWeaver or SAP BI. Multinational SAP customers, and companies adjusting after mergers and acquisitions, will benefit by consolidating data from multiple SAP instances and non-SAP systems. SAS data integration includes built-in data quality capabilities, assuring that data is verified, augmented, and standardized at the point of entry, and that it works seamlessly in SAP applications.

SAP-Certified Business Intelligence

SAS offers a wide range of interfaces for business intelligence. Its standards-centric architecture provides capabilities that run the gamut from simple reporting and OLAP analysis to advanced forecasting and data mining. SAS offers specific interfaces for many levels of users, including information consumers, business analysts, power users, IT professionals, and advanced statisticians. It uncovers the intelligence hidden within volumes of data, allowing each user to find the information pertinent to their field while working in their familiar SAP BI environment. The IT department retains control over the quality and consistency of data and over the security and performance of BI applications.

SAP BI users can switch easily to SAS for viewing, analyzing, and ad hoc reporting on their SAP BI data using SAS Enterprise Guide, which is a part of the broader suite of SAS Business Intelligence offerings and delivers a number of specially designed interfaces to support diverse users and their varied reporting and analytic needs.

With the ability to access, analyze, and share results within a common infrastructure and shared metadata (including SAP's metadata), SAS technology makes information and insights accessible to employees at all levels of your organization.

Beyond BI: Adding Analytical Intelligence

Knowing what an organization has done in the past and how it has done it simply does not provide sufficient information to drive the organization forward. Only by going "beyond BI" (see Figure 1) — by employing historical reporting and descriptive statistics, for example — can companies achieve a competitive edge and be able to answer questions that drive the bottom line, such as:

What is the minimal level of inventory needed to service my customers at a 95% level?
Through the use of SAS optimization capabilities, organizations can evaluate the tradeoffs of certain scenarios to find the one that gives the best fit.

How can I prevent defects before they reach my customer?
Use SAS to data mine the sources of warranty-specific data to develop objective clusters and facilitate the diagnosis of likely defects.

How will my P&L statement be affected if I run additional marketing campaigns?
Capture the added value of running additional marketing campaigns by using mathematical, constraint-based optimization, derived from the resources and costs available.

Are my revenue projections based on an accurate forecast of demand?
Gain accurate revenue projections based on dynamic forecasting of demand through the application of proven statistical forecast methods.

Figure 1
Modeling, Predictive Analysis, and Optimization Take You "Beyond BI"

It is not uncommon for predictive analytics to be based on hundreds, or even thousands, of influencing variables. With proven implementation methodologies, SAS can identify and retrieve the important variables from across your organization and your SAP BI environment. SAS Analytic Intelligence delivers a wide portfolio of analytic capabilities to ensure that the business issue can be addressed with the appropriate analytical approach.

SAS enables companies to deploy these powerful analytics enterprise-wide to assist with the planning, simulation, optimization, and forecasting of business scenarios in concert with your SAP NetWeaver environment using certified interfaces.

Closing the Loop

SAP customers need the ability to update operational systems to benefit from acquired intelligence — and to apply this intelligence in real time to business processes. SAS makes it easy by providing smooth integration with key enterprise resource planning and front-office systems, including SAP solutions.

SAS Intelligence Solutions — A Depth of Experience in Analytics

SAS provides the basis for advanced analytics, offering solutions to enhance customer intelligence, marketing automation, financial intelligence, IT value management, performance management, human capital management, supply chain intelligence, and activity-based management. Solutions for banking, insurance, telco, and retail provide industry-specific intelligence. SAS's best practices and best-in-class analysis perfectly complement the business content offered by SAP BI.

The SAS Solution Adapter for SAP solutions provides a seamless link between operational data in SAP solutions and SAS solutions, making it easy for SAP customers to get to the proper data without having to write any interface or code.

Bottom Line

Being able to react to business needs quickly, to leverage all existing data, and to avoid creating a patchwork of various solutions are the objectives that should drive IT decisions today. SAS extracts intelligence from all operational systems and leverages ongoing technology investments, working through SAP NetWeaver to integrate the people, information, and processes that comprise your organization. SAS enables you and your company to create a unique competitive advantage, one that stimulates continuous growth and innovation in the most "intelligent" way. SAS and SAP software make a perfect combination, one that gives your enterprise all you need to go "beyond BI."

For more information on how to take your enterprise beyond BI, please visit

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1 See

Monitor, Report, and Analyze Your SAP Business Intelligence Data Across the Whole Enterprise

Bala Chandran
Product Manager,

Organizations have long recognized the value of a consolidated data architecture, where multiple streams of information from disparate operational sources are collated and cleansed for reporting and analysis. For SAP customers, SAP Business Intelligence (SAP BI, a component of SAP NetWeaver) offers an efficient path to achieving this corporate vision of having one single version of the truth. Having all the data readily available is often, however, only half the battle. Organizations face challenges of distributing this valuable information to all information consumers across the enterprise — from executive users to power analysts and from shop floor supervisors to sales representatives. MicroStrategy's business intelligence (BI) platform allows all users access to valuable corporate data over an easy-to-use thin-client Web interface, with user self-service capabilities.

MicroStrategy offers a Powered by SAP NetWeaver solution through MicroStrategy 7i, version 7.5.3 — an award-winning thin-client reporting and analysis interface. Customers can develop BI applications ranging from highly formatted pixel-perfect scorecards to powerful predictive and forecasting models, all leveraging existing SAP NetWeaver components such as SAP BI, SAP Web Application Server, and SAP Enterprise Portal (see Figure 1). Being Powered by SAP NetWeaver, the MicroStrategy solution also allows users to access and combine the critical enterprise information (as made available via SAP BI) with other data from within a single interface with drill-through to underlying data. All of these applications are built on a single platform architecture — SAP NetWeaver — with shared metadata and comprehensive security, allowing MicroStrategy customers to achieve low TCO.

Figure 1
Interactive Reporting on SAP BW and Other Data Through SAP Enterprise Portal

As BI becomes an integral part of corporate decision-making, SAP customers have come to expect their BI software to have the same mission-critical robustness as the rest of their SAP solution. Complementing SAP BI's proven architecture, MicroStrategy offers a similarly scalable, secure, and maintainable system with built-in caching, hot failover, and clustering, allowing IT administrators to maintain a 24x7 operation with minimal overhead resources. With its commitment to keeping certification current, MicroStrategy also ensures that the latest SAP features and optimizations are incorporated into the software.

The technical and functional synergy between MicroStrategy and SAP provides new options for customers to expand the use and reach of BI. Combining the interactive reporting and analysis capabilities of MicroStrategy with the advanced capabilities of the SAP NetWeaver architecture provides organizations with a unique and powerful insight into the tactical and strategic nature of their business. By empowering all users with the right data, customers can react in real time to changing business patterns.

To learn more about how thousands of customers across verticals worldwide have come to rely on MicroStrategy technology, visit

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by SAP and Partners SAPinsider - 2005 (Volume 6), January (Issue 1)

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