By Dr. Berg
I know there are rumors that SAP will delay the 7.3 release of BW that is planned for May 30th, 2011. That would be a shame.
Why consider BW 7.3?
The much awaited 7.2 release was cancelled in February 2010 and the user community has been waiting on 7.3 for a long time. Never mind that it was tested for one year in beta and has now been in ramp-up for over six month. The real reason why it would be a shame is that this is the release that should bring SAP up to par with Oracle Fusion and other competitors.
Specifically, in the 7.3 release issues such as slow 'activation' and data load are addressed (30-40% faster) and new performance monitor screens for databases, data loads and query performance is much needed. In the prior release (7.0) this information is buried in transactions that only expert would know. In addition 7.3 has a pile of wizards for tasks such as installs, upgrades, partitioning, connection configurations and much more.
This makes the life of the basis and admin teams much easier. There is also graphical interfaces for ETL much more in-tune with best-of-breed tools such as Informatica. Finally, the benefits of the combination of BW 7.3 and BWA 7.2 in-memory processing is hard to exaggerate. With these versions, you can index DSOs, join indexes, by-pass the slow OLAP functions (to a large degree), and have a much faster BW system.
When should you upgrade?
There are some complications of the upgrade. For example, many organizations that upgraded to BW 7.0 decided to not upgrade their security, now it is mandatory. SAP also recommends that the Java and ABAP stacks are separated, and that Unicod
e is finally implemented.
The ASU upgrade interface will help with this, but a good plan and hardware review may be warranted if you have not done this for a while. Also, there are no direct upgrade path between older versions such as 3.0B, 3.1c etc., and those organizations will have to upgrade to 7.0 before going to 7.3.
Despite all this, an upgrade this fall is strongly recommended. It has been over 5 years since the last release and frankly is rapidly getting obsolete as the data volumes increase and the load cycles decrease.
Next time, more on Xcelsius dashboard design...