Is SAP Correct that Customers Should Use BW4HANA Instead of Other BI Tools for Integration to HANA?

Executive Summary

  • SAP has told customers that they must use BW as a BI solution for HANA.
  • How accurate is SAP on this topic?


SAP has been communicating to customers that they should buy BW4HANA for BI because SAP is not designed to integrate well with 3rd party solutions.

Our References for This Article

If you want to see our references for this article and other related Brightwork articles, see this link.

Notice of Lack of Financial Bias: We have no financial ties to SAP or any other entity mentioned in this article.

  • This is published by a research entity, not some lowbrow entity that is part of the SAP ecosystem. 
  • Second, no one paid for this article to be written, and it is not pretending to inform you while being rigged to sell you software or consulting services. Unlike nearly every other article you will find from Google on this topic, it has had no input from any company's marketing or sales department. As you are reading this article, consider how rare this is. The vast majority of information on the Internet on SAP is provided by SAP, which is filled with false claims and sleazy consulting companies and SAP consultants who will tell any lie for personal benefit. Furthermore, SAP pays off all IT analysts -- who have the same concern for accuracy as SAP. Not one of these entities will disclose their pro-SAP financial bias to their readers. 

Our Analysis

  • Using BW means severe productivity issues long term.
  • BW is not capable of where it is implemented.
  • The idea that an RDBMS can’t connect effectively to anything but a specific BI tool is very odd. This brings up the question of what an RDBMS is. Overall, this topic needs to be analyzed. This is not to say it is not more difficult, but adapters can be written to any database.

This is pointed out in the following quote.

“HANA is widely SQL92 compliant, CDS views are an extension of SQL92. It may be an issue that third party BI vendors do not yet invest in HANA extensions and optimizations. Anyway, there is no CDS view that can only exist in S/4 or BW/4HANA. In the end it are native database artifacts that can be created via DDL statement.– Dr. Rolf Paulsen

Could SAP DP or BW Survive as Independent Products from SAP?

From a good competition perspective, the basic concept of an efficient software market is that a company makes a product which it then sells to other companies that find the product of value. The enterprise software market is different from most other markets, including the consumer software market. The capabilities and performance of the product are not immediately apparent at the time of purchase.

Companies that buy enterprise software don’t typically understand fully what they have until far after the time of purchase, past the design phase of the implementation, and close to and sometimes after go-live. A great deal of lock-in marks the enterprise software market. Once a purchase decision has been made, the company will typically not move away from the system for 5 or 6 years. The actual price paid for the license and support is a small component of the overall costs of implementing and supporting enterprise software (called total cost of ownership) and is enumerated in the post.

What The Successful Sales of SAP DP and SAP BW or SAP BI Prove in the Larger Context

Both SAP DP and SAP BW or SAP BI cause many issues with the companies that buy them. These products exist and thrive because they are tied to other products within a software conglomerate called SAP. These are not the only SAP products that have these issues. SAP Solution Manager, XI, SPP, the list is quite lengthy.

Both SAP DP and SAP BW or SAP BI use the same Data Workbench. However, the efficiency of these twin products is inferior. Both SAP DP and SAP BW or SAP BI have tremendous overhead, and when one looks at what is done in each application, the same activities can be performed in other applications much more easily.

  • SAP DP is covered at Brightwork at this link.
  • SAP BW or SAP BI is covered at Brightwork at this link. 

Both of these applications are rated as the worst in class. They are the top applications recommended by the major IT consulting companies. Does this have anything to do with SAP DP and SAP BW or SAP BI taking the longest to implement and therefore driving the most consulting dollars to the largest consulting companies? TCO calculators for SAP DP and SAP BW or SAP BI are also available at the Brightwork site, and once again, SAP DP and SAP BW or SAP BI have the highest TCO in each of their software categories.

Integration Based Competition in the Consumer Software Market

This is very similar to Microsoft gaining market share for its Internet Explorer (IE) browser, which was not a competitive product. At one time had over 90% market share because Microsoft had a monopoly in the operating system area and bundled the browser with the operating system and has made it impossible to uninstall. For the longest time, Microsoft’s IE held a very high market share of the browser market and proposed to the Department of Justice that they were not engaging in monopoly behavior. However, one of the greatest proofs is a product’s success when restrictions are removed or reduced. People have come to know there are other and better browsers and have responded by moving away from IE.

I would be curious to hear what Microsoft’s argument would be now, that they never behaved like a monopoly software vendor. Microsoft has repeatedly used a monopoly in a bad operating system to bring out other software that would never have obtained the success that it did, such as SharePoint and SQL Server, without being connected to Microsoft.


SAP’s arguments are based upon integration and the logic that customers must use what they provide. That says nothing about what is effective or good.