This Blog is part of the SAP BW/4HANA Development blog series and will focus on enabling Transitive Attributes in BW/4HANA.

SAP BW/4HANA is SAP’s next generation data warehouse. It is a total refresh of SAP BW written specifically for HANA. As a result, you get the best that BW had to offer and the best that HANA had to offer all in a single place.

As part of the BW/4HANA development blog series, we will be looking at various features that B4 brings in which make life easier for BI modelers and users.

This blog will take a deep dive on how navigational and transitive attributes work in a BW/4HANA scenario.

A transitive attribute is a navigational attribute of a navigational attribute. These attributes are not usually visible in the query. The transitive attributes could not be provisioned easily in classic BW and led to duplication of data at the master data level.

SAP BW/4HANA Version 1.0.


In the above example, Country is a Transitive Attribute.

One reason this was difficult to do in classic BW was because of the SID linking concept and the traditional models were not built to handle two levels of SID linking. As a result, in BW 7.3 or older versions, to enable transitive attributes you had to create a new characteristic which has the transitive attributes requested in the query as navigation attributes and which has the same technical settings for the key field as characteristic in which transitive attribute need to be enabled.

SAP BW/4HANA Version 1.0.


In BW 7.4 or later version, to enable transitive attributes joins needs be created between the characteristics and its attributes and then attributes of attributes.

SAP BW/4HANA Version 1.0.


In BW4HANA since it has the benefits of HANA modeling, it becomes simpler to enable transitive attributes. This procedure describes how you can display the transitive attributes in the query via modeling.

Let us look at the use case we are doing this for. We have an Advanced DSO for Headcount which has an Infoobject for Employee. The Employee Master has a Navigational attribute of Manager which in turn has a Functional Area associated with every Manager. In this case Functional Area is the Navigational Attribute.

SAP BW/4HANA Version 1.0.


To use FUNC_AREA as a navigational attribute, it should be enabled as transitive attribute in Infoobject EMPLOYEE.

How to enable it?

Navigate to the attributes of EMPLOYEE Info Object

SAP BW/4HANA Version 1.0.


Right click on Attribute MANAGER and choose to maintain transitive attribute

SAP BW/4HANA Version 1.0.


Select the attribute to be enabled as transitive attribute. In our case its FUNC_AREA.

SAP BW/4HANA Version 1.0.


Now FUNC_AREA has been enabled as transitive attribute to the infoobject EMPLOYEE.

SAP BW/4HANA Version 1.0.


This process only enables to read the FUNC_AREA values on the fly(Bex Queries), so there will be no data available in the EMPLOYEE master table for the attribute FUNC_AREA when checked in backend (SE16 or Select statements in a transformation routine).

These are some of the ways BW4/HANA simplifies data modelling and makes it easier to get to the information you want to in the best possible manner.

Stay tuned for more development nuggets for BW4/HANA.

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