For customers currently on SAP BW platforms, migrating to BW/4HANA is seen as the next logical step. SAP provides multiple options for migration and the previous blog “BW/4HANA – Migration Options” discusses this in detail.

However, while considering an upgrade there are some important points like data model difference, ODP requirements, etc. that need to be kept in mind as many classical BW objects are not supported in the BW/4HANA environment. To handle these differences and to ensure smooth upgrade in the future, there are some key activities that can be performed in your existing BW systems today. This blog discusses in detail some of the key activities that can be beneficial.

1. ODP Enablement

SAP BW legacy systems widely used Service APIs, which are now replaced by Operational Data Provisioning (ODP). ODP enablement in the existing Data Sources/extractors can prove beneficial when considering an upgrade to BW/4HANA. However, it is important to consider that ECC source systems require a specific patch level for ODP enablement, and the ODP Data Replication API 2.0 is widely preferred.

Please refer to our blog here for more information on ODP or details on making an extractor ODP enabled.

2. The difference in data models

While considering an upgrade to BW/4HANA, it is essential to keep in mind that some data models like multi-providers and ODSOs used widely in the legacy systems are not supported in the BW/4HANA system. However, SAP provides a way of migrating the traditional models into BW/4HANA supported data models like Composite Providers and Advances Data Store Objects (ADSOs) when using the transfer cockpit or any other migration process adopted so that they do not have to be re-developed again in the new system. Other traditional data objects that are not supported in BW/4HANA are Infocubes, Hybrid Providers, Infosets, PSAs, InfoPackages, and InfoObject Catalogs (available as info area). The image below gives a gist of data models in the legacy systems and their corresponding counterparts available in the BW/4HANA system

Difference in data models between SAP BW 7.X and SAP BW/4HANA

3. Converting Analysis Process Designers

Analysis Process Designer (APD) is another widely used classical BW object and achieves many functionalities including transferring query extracts to a file or info providers.  The BW/4HANA system does not support Analysis Process Designers. Hence, it is essential to convert them to HANA optimized objects like HANA views or HANA Analysis Processes (HAP) or Open Hubs during an upgrade to BW/4HANA. Here is a detailed blog on migrating Analysis Process Designer to BW/4HANA.

4. Migration of 3.X data flows

If the existing BW system has data flows implemented using legacy 3.X transfer/update rules, it has to be converted to 7.X flows as it will no longer be supported in BW/4HANA. Converting 3.X flows to 7.X flows can be handled easily with the help of SAP’s migration tool.

5. Upgrading to BW 7.5 SPXX

Upgrading to BW 7.5 SPXX (BW on HANA) before migrating to BW/4HANA can also provide a smooth upgrade experience. But there are direct ways by which we can convert the systems lower than BW 7.5 into BW/4HANA

There are multiple migration paths available depending on the version of the existing BW system in use, as discussed in the previous blog.

BW/4HANA – Key things to consider during an upgrade
Different upgrade paths available

6. Data transfer options

Some of the commonly used traditional data transfer options in SAP BW are no longer supported by BW/4HANA. One such option is Open Hub Destination. Although Open Hub Destinations are available in BW/4HANA, the third-party tool option is not supported.

Another option is the export Datasource option, used for data transfer between Infoproviders in SAP BW. Export Datasources cannot be created in BW/4HANA and can only be achieved using ODP-BW. It is therefore recommended to understand the ODP context while considering an upgrade to BW/4HANA. Detailed information on this can be found here.

7. BEx Reporting

While BW/4HANA supports BW queries, Bex Analyzer is obsolete and not supported here. BW queries can be accessed in BW/4HANA with the help of the new query tool available in Eclipse. Analysis for Office (AFO) is the tool of choice in BW/4HANA, and hence AFO adoption might prove beneficial for any BW customer.

8. Customer exits for global variable

Customer exits for global variables are usually done in CMOD, using Exit RSR00001. Usage of customer exit for processing global variables is no longer possible and has to be done using BADI. Enhancement spot – “RSROA_VARIABLE_EXIT” was introduced in SAP BW 7.4. and all exits must be converted before moving to BW/4HANA. Check out the blog here for additional details on how to make this possible.

9. Eclipse-based Modelling

HANA studio is seen as the unified UI for all modelling done in BW/4HANA and the SAP GUI is no longer required for modelling in BW/4HANA. All data models, including queries, are created in the HANA studio UI when using the BW/4HANA system. Therefore, familiarity with the HANA studio UI can be beneficial when migrating to BW/4HANA from any of the BW legacy systems.

The idea of migrating to BW/4HANA may seem like a herculean task but incorporating the points mentioned above in your existing BW systems today can make this process incredibly smooth and easy in the future.

Know more about Visual BI Solutions SAP/BW Services offerings here.

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