SAP was founded in 1972 as a business applications company but really came into prominence in the 1990s with the ERP boom. Its ERP solution (R/3) was first released in 1992. The vendor employs more than 98,000 people worldwide and has a turnover of € 24.74 bn. Today, SAP is one of the largest business software vendors in the world.

SAP’s original strategy was to view BI as an extension of its all-inclusive ERP offerings. Therefore, SAP launched SAP Business Warehouse (BW) in 1998, a completely packaged and plug-and-play BI solution designed to complement SAP ERP applications. BW is a package consisting of connectors, relational data storage, subject-oriented multidimensional structured data marts and predefined content as well as tools for reporting, analysis and planning. The goal was to provide a plug-and-play BI solution that would make it fast and easy for SAP customers to benefit from BI.

There are different versions of BW available. Traditional BW runs on a standard relational database, but customers can purchase redesigned versions for SAP HANA. From an architectural perspective, there are two variants: standard relational database or SAP HANA. The first version uses well known third-party databases such as Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle for data storage. The “powered by SAP HANA” version uses SAP’s own HANA platform.

There have been many modeling objects in previous versions of BW including InfoProvider, MultiProvider, InfoCube, InfoObject, InfoSet and ODS. In the newer versions (powered by HANA), SAP has started to reduce the number available and introduce other types of objects. In all variants, an InfoQuery is used to query the InfoCubes and “flatten” the results of a query to a table, which can then be used as a data source for reporting tools. It is also possible to incorporate additional logic into queries and, for instance, define new formulas to calculate derived ‘key figures’ (measures). This BW Query concept remains the same with BW/4HANA. This report will be about SAP BW on HANA (powered by HANA).

User & Use Cases

The results for SAP BW on HANA are not surprising. According to the survey, the main use cases are enterprise data warehousing (88%), data modelling (79%) and data integration (77%). These are the core tasks for which SAP BW was built. The tasks are the integration of data from SAP source systems, data preparation and data modelling for classic business intelligence and planning. This evaluation is consistent with the one for SAP BW and makes it clear that SAP BW with SAP HANA has above all been given an in-memory-based engine and that the journey for the adaptation of the data warehouse application has only just begun. In comparison to SAP BW/4HANA, it is noticeable that data integration is now given a greater importance. This can be explained by the fact that SAP BW/4HANA opens the door more and more for non-SAP data, both in terms of the model and the functions.



Current use


Percentage of employees using SAP BW on HANA


Number of users using SAP BW on HANA


Company size (number of employees)


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Peer Groups Analytical database products, Data warehousing automation products, ETL products, Global vendors (data management)
Number of responses44
ProductSAP BW on HANA
OfficesOffices in more than 130 countries worldwide
Customers> 437,000 (in total, not only BI customers)
Revenues (2018)€ 24.74 billion