BW/4HANA - Simplicity and Flexibility (Part 2 of 4)
Simplicity: the act of being simple, uncomplicated, or uncompounded. – Merriam-Webster
What does simplicity mean in terms of BI? Simplicity can take on many meanings, a simple model, simple data structures or simple tools, all of which can make it easier on IT to deploy & manage and business to use effectively, with maximum impact. A simple data model is easy to understand for the
business and easy to maintain for IT. Simplicity does not mean basic, or a lack of functionality. You can have a simple model produce complex reports and dashboards. As stated earlier in this blog, BW4/HANA has simplified the tool by reducing the amount of total objects from up words of 25 objects to 10 and modeling based objects from 12 to 4.
Benefits of a simple model
In earlier versions of BW there where many modeling objects, Info objects, Info cubes, Update Rules, Transformation Rules, Info Packages to name a few. Add complexity to the model like base layer’s, integration layer’s, aggregation layer’s, semantic layer’s and the amount of objects can get very large and unwieldly. This, in many cases, made BW a complex modeling tool, which in turn made development cycles very long. Just think what it would take to add a few new fields into a complex model? It’s isn’t going to be easy and it certainly won’t be done quickly! With BW/4HANA, the amount of objects has been reduced and now we can build simpler models reducing development cycles and maintenance timeframes. A simpler model is less prone to errors which overall reduces downtime to the business.
It’s important to note that simplification does not reduce the functionality of BW. With BW4/HANA functionality increases by adding flexibility that was not present before. Agile data warehousing capabilities are now available through field based modeling and virtualization. You now have the flexibility to build traditional models, agile models or a mix of both. BW/4HANA is the first version of BW to provide this eagerly awaited functionality and to great effect.
Agile Modeling and Rapid Prototyping
Field based modeling and virtualization are key concepts for agile modeling and rapid prototyping. With field based modeling you don’t have to build hundreds of info objects before getting information out of your prototype model. Field based modeling is the same as being able to query the PSA, which was not possible before BW/4HANA. This cuts down on the amount of data processing needed in standard models. Virtualization links data from outside sources to your system without persisting the data. With field based modeling and virtualization, you can prototype faster and with lower overhead. Think about it, a prototype can be put together quickly from backend model through reporting using BW/4HANA and Business Objects.
Business requirements are ever changing and dynamic. With BW4/HANA you now have the ability to keep up with business changes. A simple model makes it far easier to make changes and agile data warehousing capabilities provide fast prototyping to get to what the business needs when they need it. Simplicity and flexibility reduce overall operating costs because changes can be made faster, impacting fewer objects and layers. With BW/4HANA.SAP has done a great job of putting simplicity, speed and agility at the forefront. But what about openness? Stay tuned as we’ll explore compatibility and integration in our next blog.
Next Up: 'BW/4HANA – Openness'