The Amazing Disappearing BI Reports and BW as a Roach Motel

Executive Summary

  • The History of BI/BW on Projects.
  • How is BI/BW like a Roach Motel?


For those who don’t know much about the SAP Business Intelligence product (as opposed to simply the term “business intelligence,” which could refer to any “computer-based technique for identifying, extracting, and analyzing business data” – Wikipedia), BI seems to be a solid solution for report creation from a trusted brand, and which is integrated no less to the rest of the SAP suite of products. This interpretation in the marketplace has helped BI grow rapidly and become the leading reporting application on SAP projects. However, the assumptions that underly interpret SAP BI as a solution, and even the assumption that SPA BI is any substantive or worthwhile integration to SAP ERP, happen to be false.

SAP BI as a Roach Motel?

Due to SAP BI’s incompetent design, it has the lowest productivity of any major data warehouses I have come across (read the article at this link to learn why BI is not a business intelligence application but a business warehouse). I am curious if any of the executives who approved the purchase and standardization around SAP BI ever worked with the software before purchased. I, unfortunately, have had to work with it, and I can’t believe that a person who would perform a comparison between SAP BI’s WorkBenchwould chooseSAP BI. This means that BI teams globally have a hard time delivering reports. And once the report is delivered (which can be 2 to 4 years after they were initially requested), they are set in stone. In fact, by the time the BI team delivers the requested reports, the business requirements have changed. After seeing so few reports dribble out of the BI system, I have come to calling BI a requirements hotel, as in..

“Requirements Go In…and Reports Don’t Come Out.”

The famous (for Americans at least) Roach Motel Product.


If you follow SAP’s recommendations on reporting and data management, it leads to a dead-end and a bad situation for the business that relies upon reports to help them make decisions. I have become extremely tired of hearing that the business’s reports are in the works and being created in BI. We should not develop any application-based reports because the company’s direction is to filter all reports through BI. Then BI fails to deliver the reports, and I am then future promised the reports yet again. The executive decision-makers in companies that use SAP don’t understand how much they disable their companies when they standardize BI. SAP lacks the expertise in data management to provide a data warehouse solution to any company.