Business content has always been a pillar of strength when it comes to implementing SAP BW. Business content is largely used to:
- Provide Base data models
- Allows for quick ETL realization with complete data flows and queries
- Available as a reference to understand how the SAP ECC data model works
- Constantly refreshed by SAP based on how individual functions mature
BW/4HANA is a completely new BW build that is built specifically for HANA and SAP has rewritten SAP BW to make it take advantage of all that HANA has to offer. While doing so, there was also a need to reimagine the reference EDW architecture. The architecture in force was the Layered Scalable Architecture (LSA) that most customers built their EDWs on. With BW/4HANA the need for revamping this was required because of the data virtualization that was possible with HANA. As part of this, the existing SAP BW Business content was rewritten for the new EDW reference architecture which was LSA+.
Along with this, requests from customers for improving the install experience were also incorporated and the Business content is even more easier to install. As part of this, the Business content that is delivered by SAP is split into 2 components one being a Base add-on and the other being the component add-on.
This was required because whenever anyone who was installing Business content, had to be very careful not to overwrite any existing objects and making sure that any new infoobjects required were installed. This made it a very tedious process and a lot of fat finger issues happened when content was overwritten or missed out making for a painful installation and transport collection process.
The new structure consists of 2 separate add-ons
SAP BW/4HANA Content BASIS Add-On (BW4CONTB): contains Infoareas, Application components, InfoObjects, Variables, Conversion exits and Master data read classes.
SAP BW/4HANA Content Add-On (BW4CONT): SAP HANA optimized BW content (aDSOs, Composite Providers), Infosources and transformations.
This also allows SAP to make their content delivery process more streamlined by not requiring all the objects to be packaged again and any new data flow for existing content would require updates only to the Content Add-On and the BASIS Add-on can remain untouched.
In addition to this, you might also notice that the data sources are absent from both the add-ons. The datasources are maintained in ECC and have to be just activated in ECC. The reason for this is because of Operational Data Provisioning. Earlier when PSA was maintained in BW, the datasource was required to activate the PSA, with ODP in force, the PSA is no longer required in BW and becomes part of the Operational Data Queue (ODQ) in ECC because of which the datasource activation is no longer required.
SAP releases a new SP every quarter, with additional content. As of SP06, below are the various business areas available in the content add-ons.
With SAP BW/4HANA, we see that SAP is making a lot of progress is taking SAP BW to new heights.