Learnings from Implementing SAP BW/4HANA

Author – Jonathan Haigh, Senior BW and HANA Consultant , itelligence UK

Overview

I am a Senior BW and HANA Consultant working at itelligence, and I’ve recently been involved in a Greenfield Implementation of SAP BW/4HANA 1.0 on premise. This blog is aimed at providing a high-level insight, mainly for the techies out there, but I’ve included some project insights that non-BW techies may be interested in reading. Also, some of the things you may wish to consider for a Greenfield Implementation of SAP BW/4HANA 1.0.

We were working with SP8; therefore the majority of BW Modelling was performed using the BW Modelling Tools (BWMT) and not invoking the SAP GUI inside Eclipse, see below;

  • Source System Creation
  • Info Objects
  • ADSO’s
  • Transformations
  • Composite Providers

Our Source System was a new S/4 install based on version 1709, also on premise. At this stage, we were connecting to the S/4 system and a legacy ERP 6.0 system to extract the legacy data both using the ODP Source System Connection, we also configured SDA to access some native S/4 tables for real-time reporting and the CDS Source System in BW to access some custom tables in BW.

Getting Started

Firstly, whilst this has been branded as a new product by SAP since its divorce from NetWeaver it is underpinned by modelling improvements made available in BW7.5 on HANA, with some functionality improvements now enhanced further by the release of BW/4HANA 2.0.

I expect most people reading this will probably already have done so, but you’ll need to install a version of Eclipse. I was initially working with the Neon version but encountered some issues so upgraded to Oxygen which resolved these, however, I’d recommend keeping your Eclipse version up to date to ensure you can download the latest BW Modelling Tools as these are disappearing for older versions.

What did we learn during the implementation? Various things, most of it good but one or two pain points that are worth mentioning. Naturally, some of the issues we found will have been resolved in the subsequent support packages, but we were able to perform some suitable workarounds.

Business Content

We installed HANA Optimised Business Content for FI-GL, Sales Orders, Deliveries, Billing, Purchasing, Inventory Management and Manufacturing and some of the content Queries, all of which worked without issues.

Logistics Cockpit Extractors

Logistics Cockpit Extractors had missing entries in tables TMCEXACT and TMCEXUPD on the S/4 System. Therefore, we were not able to activate the relevant structures in S/4. The quickest way to resolve this was to write a custom program to create the relevant missing entries in the tables above.

Also, if the LO Extractors are enhanced with the additional field(s) from the field pool, don’t assume it will be delta enabled on these without writing enhancement code. Rigorous testing will ensure they work.

Transformations in Eclipse

There seems to be a disconnect (at least in our SP8 version) between the Eclipse Transformation and the ABAP version, so to ensure all our changes were replicated in the ABAP stack and to enable a successful transport we had to ensure that we followed the process of ‘Save and then Activate’ when changing any pure Eclipse object. Doing this ensured that the ABAP stack is aligned with the local view in Eclipse, this approach should be adopted for any object that requires activation in Eclipse.

Another issue was with some of the SAP Business Content transformations, is that they were always opened within the SAP GUI inside Eclipse (as did some of the Data Transfer Processes). If you also encounter this, you may find that opening up a separate GUI session and using transactions RSTRANGUI and RSDTP are more helpful than using Eclipse, unless you’re equipped with a 32” LCD screen. The specifics of our solution required us to copy the standard content and enhance, so the use of these transactions proved invaluable.

Unit of Measure Conversion

The standard DSO UOM0MATE now requires the Base UoM to be populated, I’ve never mapped it and not had any issues, but we discovered that it was working for some Composite Providers and not others (both SAP and customer content), so be sure to map the Base UoM from your Data Source 0MAT_UNIT_ATTR.

New Functionality in BW/4HANA

Our implementation had the opportunity to explore some of the newer functionality, the first being to expose data in custom tables via an Open ODS. Traditionally, this would have been achieved by creating a Generic Data Source on our custom table.

BW/4HANA

As you can see you are no longer able to create a Generic Data Source in BW/4 as the option is greyed out, so this was achieved by creating a CDS View on our table that exposed the relevant fields and then creating a Data Source using our ODP_CDS Source System. Finally, you create the Open ODS on top of the Data Source, and from there you can either load data from it or create a query via a Composite Provider (ours was the latter).

There was also a need for some real-time reporting with regards to some of the Sales and Distribution data, so rather than load this into BW, we created a HANA SDA Source System and exposed the relevant tables into an Open ODS view. This was then merged with the relevant data in a Composite Provider in BW, proving that the hybrid modelling scenarios are things we will continue to explore much more in future implementations.

BW/4 Cockpit

Once you’ve installed the BW/4 Web Cockpit then you’ll be able to take advantage of the Process Chain Monitoring that’s been delivered as standard and of course, this is now the only place you can implement the error handling and manage the error records in a similar way to the PSA table we had in previous BW versions which is no longer available to us.

Authorisations

While this shouldn’t be too time-consuming, if you want to restrict some of the access, or indeed allow some additional access, then there’s a bit more work to do here other than given SAP_ALL or the obligatory R_S_COMP and R_S_COMP_1. Users who need to access queries and change or create in the production system now have to do this via Eclipse and will need the relevant access to achieve this. Allow enough time in your plans to deliver a suitable authorisation model that meets the internal requirements

Data Flows

It’s a good idea to create the Data Flows as part of your project, so anyone using Eclipse without the required authorisations can see how the data propagates through the system.

Working with Eclipse

If you’re moving into the World of Eclipse for the first time then you’re going to have come to terms with this, it’s not a million miles from working in the GUI, but it can take some time to navigate your way around. It’s nothing to fear, but don’t expect to find everything you could always find in an instant at the first time, but as with most things, it does come to you fairly quickly.

With regards to others areas, and certainly with the introduction of CDS views in S/4, it is most definitely worth starting to understand these and start creating or working with them, as we found you have to use them if you want to expose any custom tables in your BW system without the need for elaborate programming.

 

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