Thursday, September 10, 2015

SAP BI features and expectations from a BI consultant.

   SAP, by itelf is an end-to-end solution(a complete ERP system) and that is what differentiates it from other tools available in the market.SAP BI, in particular comprises of three areas namely:

1)Extract, Transform,Load
2)Data Staging

Integrating data from disparate sources and making it available for reporting is the main purpose of SAP-BW/BI system(that's what a data warehouse does in general).Lets take an example to make things more clear:
Suppose that one company has two branches say, in countries India and United States. The backend system used in India is Oracle and that in US it is MS SQL Server. Also let us say, the date format in US is YYYY/MM/DD and that in India is DD/MM/YYYY. Here we observe that two databases of the same company are reflecting a different format for date. This is where what Transform(of ETL) comes into picture, it converts disparate formats to one so that reporting is possible. The format is agreed upon by the business, based on which data is loaded into BW system.(ETL).
For data staging and storage, SAP BW/BI provides structures such as Persistent Staging Area(PSA), Data Store Object(DSO), Infocube(multidimensional structure). We will discuss these structures in detail in the next article.
As far as reporting is concerned, SAP primarily had come up with Business Explorer(BEx), an excel based reporting tool. By this time, SAP had dominated in ETL and Data Staging but reporting was an issue as there were many drawbacks in BEx. SAP AG acquired Business Objects in the year 2008 which was an independent reporting tool which pivoted its position as a pioneer in all three fronts(ETL,Data Staging,Reporting).

Expectations from an SAP BI consultant:

A SAP BW/BI consultant is responsible for playing diverse roles. At the very onset it is understanding the business requirement and accordingly preparing a design document mapped to objects in SAP BW landscape. This is followed by implementing the design which also involves extensive usage of SAP ABAP(Advanced Business Application Programming) which is SAP's primary programming language for customisations. After a system has been designed, it is constantly analysing the system for any anomalies and optimisation. BW consultants are also supposed to analyse upcoming enhancements and accordingly implement them as per requirements.
The best part of being a BW consultant is direct interaction with users and in having the ability to bring smiles on their faces.
If you have very strong analytical skills, being a SAP BW consultant is the right choice for you.

All the above mentioned points will be discussed in detail in the upcoming articles.