This report is intended for anyone pursuing a career in the area of SAP’s data warehouse products.
The area of Business Intelligence (BI) or Data Warehousing in general has been around for many years,
enhanced and cons olidated by the fathers of data warehousing Ralph Kimball and Bill Inmon. However
when SAP came into this industry in 1998 data warehousing had never been approached from a
proprietary ERP system perspective. Since then SAP has enhanced and upgraded the product several
times to the point where today it is a more open and one of the leading BI solutions in the industry.
Some initial gui delines regarding terminologies. SAP constantly changes the name of it s products for
various reasons, marketing, legal and so on, however here we try to give you a quick outline of what the
generic names are and what products they represent.
Data warehouse (DW ) or Enterpri se Data Warehouse (EDW), broad terms used to describe
the proc ess used to store, analyze and report on large extremely large volumes of data within a
corporation. Bill Inmon and Ralph Kimball are known to be the originators of the modern data
warehouse. Inmon defined the Corporate Information Factory, see
Many data warehouse solutions exist today from different vendors, including Oracle, Informatica,
Microsoft, IBM, Teradata. This software category is extremely dynamic, products are changing,
ownership changes and their product names change, and SAP is no exception. The reason for
this dynamism is that data warehouses allow large corporations that have billions if not trillions of
information records about their company sales, finance, manufacturing spanning back 10 or more
years and senior management find it very useful to be able to report on this information in various
different ways. As time has gone on the speed and form in which this information is required has
also advanced to a point where real time information has become nec essary in some cases,
fancy dashboards and more fancier formatting styles have also become an expectation. To keep
up with this intense desire for organizations to manage and report on this information data ware
house companies continue to enhance and upgrade their product set to deliver c ustomer
Busine ss Intelligence (BI) Industry term originates from data warehouse however has become
coined because of the business significance of the information held and reported on Data ware
house and B
SAP Business Warehouse (BW)
This is the original term for the SAP dat a warehouse when it was released back in 1998, however
with the purchase of Business Objects (a previous data ware house product) the terms BO and BI
came into the mix.
As of today the joint solution goes by the name of SAP BO BI. BW doesn’t play a part in the
naming however as you work through the material you will realize that the term SAP BW is very
prominent in most of SAP’s technical literature. This is because the original product was SAP BW
and to this day exists as the primary dat a warehouse product. As we speak a new version of SAP
BW is being rolled out and SAP has no intention of removing this from its future roadmap (as of
information we have today). When we talk about data acquisition, extraction, data modeling then
this is all done from the SAP BW product. There is some deviance when it comes to data sourced
outside of SAP ERP, however that is another discussion. The data models when created have
SAP queries developed which are then exposed to the SAP Business Objects front end tools.
Again bear in mind we are speaking of corporations where SAP BW product will be primarily used
which in turn means SAP ERP is being used.
SAP Busine ss Objects (BO) SAP’s Business Objects Platform – (aka BOB J pronounced
“BoBJay” short for Business OBJects)
SAP BO came into play with SAP because of the acquisition of data warehouse solution Business
Objects in 2008. In reality SAP’s front end tools were considered to provide only basic
functionality. This acquisition filled that void. So the data foundation layers remain inside the SAP
BW however complemented by the SAP Business Objects front end toolset.
This term when used by it usually refers to the Business Objects tools. The combined solution
including the SAP BW became known as SAP BO BI as of recently.
It should also be noted that Business Objects had the back end functionality of providing the
foundation layers also, however it was used primarily by corporations where SAP was not the
main ERP software being used to automate the processes e.g. Finance, Sales, Manufacturing &
HR. Those corporations could use any data warehouse product to suit their needs and some of
them chose to use Business Objects (before SAP owned it). Does that mean that SAP has 2
products which do the same thing? Well kind of. A nother area of discussion, however this should
give you some room for thought.
SAP BO BI or SAP BI BO SAP’s complete Business Intelligence Platform
This term as mentioned describes the full suite of software relating to SAP’s data warehouse
solutions. As of recently SAP HANA was also introduced as an additional component
Note SAP has gone back and forth with BI/BW/BO and int erchanged these acronyms at various
times just to make things more int eresting  so if you see them change again then you will not be
Before you begin to read the rest of this report, just step back a little and understand that this report is not
a step by step guide for any technical aspects of SAP data warehousing. It is a guideline of what to do
once you are in the SAP marketplace at any level, whether considering a career, freshly trained or an
accomplished expert there is something for everyone here. Also it is up to the reader to take the next step
in their SAP BO BI career.
SAP data warehousing is an essential part of the next decade of SAP customers; the authors have an
average of over 15 years of experienc e and the way the Business intelligence market is today it is here to
stay, so time is on your side. This report will attempt to guide you through the SAP market place with a
view on SAP BI careers.
As mentioned we have a vast amount of experience available to us, so we share this knowledge and
provide invaluable insight into some of the ways to get you ahead in this area of SAP BI. We would
recommend not to try to take shortcuts. If you can digest the information given and apply it in a systematic
manner then you can profit from it, to increase your compensation levels, if you find this is something you
can excel at then you could possibly even jump into the SAP BW contract market.
Bottom line all the information is available on the internet. We will guide you in terms of how to
use it and what to do with it. This, in a nutshell is what this report aims to do, it is a guide to help
you to advance your SAP data warehouse career. Use it and you will succeed!
If you type in “SAP” into a search engine like Google then you will get hundreds of hits. There is a ton of
information about SAP it’s products, the company, media news, consulting, recruiting, training, partners
etc. etc. the list just goes on. Because SAP has the highest market share in the area of Business
Application software for Fortune 500 corporations it follows that there will be an enormous amount of
information. Here are some interesting facts:
As we provided solutions for customers we always bumped into people who had just got into the SAP
world through some training or learning on the job (the latter is not a recommended approach). We would
get questions like “I just finished my training and I’m not sure what to do next ?” or “What kind of SAP skill
set should I focus on ?”, we always answered these questions truthfully hopefully giving some insight,
however the more and more we saw this the more we realized how lost people can become with the mine
of information that’s out there. Finally we decided we should do something about it. The next question
was wouldn't we just be producing another piece of information amongst the 1000’s of articles out there.
So we wanted to make this a value add exercise.
As mentioned, this report is NOT a “How to…” guide because there are literally 1000’s of them out there
already. This report will use existing services, products and organizations to outline a plan of how to get
from a very bas e level understanding to a higher level of understanding of S AP B O BI market place. It
recommends the best way to land your 1 SAP BO BI position and if you have some experience it will give
you some pointers as to the best approach to use to take you to the next level position. Because of the
large amounts of information it can be difficult to find what you need. The fact that SAP must keep
different versions of its software for various customers leads to further confusion so these issues have
also been outlined.
st .
The information is presented in a manner aimed at learning. If we can teach you the basic ropes of the
SAP marketplace, the tools, the services and essential resources mixed with some basic information then
you will have what it takes to graduate t hrough the School of SAP and more specifically SAP BO/BI. This
report is arming you with the tools and the know how to take your SAP career to the next level.
Irrespective of what you are earning today you can still do better if its financial reward your looking for or
land yourself a long term career with a prestigious company and learn what it takes to get ahead . So if
you are armed with thos e tools then you are able to learn by yourself. All the books, tutorials, training
courses, internet articles, blogs, forums can be used to update your knowledge and skills. Some of these
resources are better than others however you can be assured there are a lot of talented people who have
written excellent articles (see below) which can be taken advantage of. Of course some of the better
ones require a payment however we can provide references for those also. You can end up payi ng for a
lot of information and services. It does mak e sense to invest a little cash int o this activity. E ven if you pay
$1000 over a year and you benefit ten times this much then it will be wort h it. However we will guide to
take what is needed and what is just nice to have. E ven though there is a lot of information on the
internet, we found not hing that puts it all together to give the newcomer or even ex pert a plat form from
which they can launch their SAP BO BI career.
NOTE: We are not in the business of selling services either, though our 1 on1 BW Training is the most
unique in the marketplace, but again we want you to succeed so if that’s what it takes then go do not be
afraid to invest a few dollars in the right place. However if we find a service worthy of purchase then we
will point them out. The idea is to give you whatever you need to become successful in this industry.
This report will break down the barriers and pres ent an honest and upfront view of the essential tools
needed. This report will bring essential information from an SAP “insider” to you. Read, digest and
What are the simple 5 steps to get on an even par with experienced consultants? The secrets in this
report will show you how to get from a basic training course to a point where you could be consi dered to
be a proficient SAP BO BI professional.
The 5 STEPS to becoming an experienced SAP BO BI professional. What you need to know from a high
level t o take on a career in the world of SAP's BO B I dat a warehouse product. This is not a training guide
but an insight into becoming a valued commodity in the highly lucrative world of SAP's flagship BO BI
E ver heard t he saying information is power. Well it is no different in this case. As mentioned earlier SAP 's
data warehouse, SAP BO BI has gone through many changes and updates ever since its launch around
1998. In fact it is not unrealistic to say that SAP BO BI has seen the largest technological advances and
changes in the history of SAP, barring maybe t he transition from R/2 t o R/3 (not in scope of this report). It
is these kinds of changes that we need to stay up to date with. There are many ways to do this and
staying informed of the strategic initiatives. SAP is planning is a good indication of the fut ure direction
SAP intends to take. One of the reasons SAP has been so successful is its ability to grow through
As well as the famous Business Objects acquisition SAP also more recently bought Sybase and along
with it some if it's In-Memory Analytic technology, which has been re-branded into a product, called
HANA. HANA is and will most likely prove to be a game changer for the world of business enterprise
applications and data warehouses. Not something we will be delving int o here however for an update
insight of HANA and the other exciting SAP developments go to the Services area where we have made
it easier to follow some of these developments. Unfortunately one of SAP's strong points is not ease of
use and as far as their website is concerned the same is true. So for a not so in depth analysis however
high level understanding Services area has been created. Think of it as a way to get yourself acquainted
with current and future SAP developments.
For in depth product analysis, is SAP resources. To get access to their
private sections you will need an id referred to as an OSS id. This you can get by becoming associated
with a partner of SAP or working for an SAP customer. However these ids will only be needed in the case
of very specific knowledge such as solutions to known issues by SAP. Other forums and blogs are also
there online however before being bogged down by that here is an approach which you can take which
will make it easier.
Business news
To understand what SAP is doing at a high level in terms of alliances, technological strategies, buyouts,
conferences and also importantly what is going on with SAP’s competitors go to and
entering in the stock symbol “SAP” you will note a list of news items appears. At first this exercise may
appear trivial however as you get to know the SAP products you will realize you need to stay aligned with
SAP business news also. You may say well that’s an obvious one, well sure it is, however as I write this in
2011 SAP has purchased company, this time it’s a Cloud Computing company by the name of Success
We predict this move to be major player in the direction and strategy of the SAP tool set in the coming
years. How do we know this, well experience is all that can account for that. Of course you can keep
abreast of all of this news and information and what we believe the impact will be and based on this you
can keep yourself educated. Indeed partnerships, alliances, collaborations have similar impacts. It is true
though that not all news will have the same type of impact and that’s where experience comes into play to
determine what news causes what impacts and what news is not so relevant. Checking the business
news can be a 1 or 2 times a month activity. The best way is to go to financ enter SAP into
the quotes field and see all relevant business news for SAP. Note this information is not a replacement for
product knowledge however just an outsiders view of SAP.
Product information/Support
These resources provide information on general SAP related areas. SAP website (for general information) SAP technology news: (anyone can register) browse and watch sap and sap customer presentations all relevant SAP sponsored events List of user groups (this is a non-SAP site) excellent resource for official SAP literature (payment per transaction)
Product functionality
These are resources which will provide help in learning about a certain product and information on
specific procedures to carry out specific tasks in SAP BO BI SAP development support, the official SAP website for official SAP fixes, enhancements
and other information.
(You will need an OSS id for this which usually starts with “S”. This can only be accessed if you are given
this by the SAP customer / Cons ulting Company / Partner Company. Usually this is only relevant if you
are looking for support questions regarding a specific technical question). will provide OSS ids if you need (for a price). SAP help documentation: takes you to the official SAP documentation for all its products.
You will need to s pecify which product you are interested in SAP BO B I is under the Netweaver stack,
and then you have to know which version of the NW stack i.e. EHP1, EHP2 or the base version e.g. 7.0
NOTE: If you need to know how something specific regarding SAP BO BI this is the de-facto place to go
first. Remember this is SAP’s website so their material shoul d be referenced 1 and then if you still do not
get what you need go to the others
HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR SAP DATAWAREHOUSE CAREER (excellent technical resource – requires payment) if you have a question about any aspect of SAP BO BI, thes e are great areas to post
questions to, as well as any other area of SAP ERP products. Bear in mind to post the relevant questions
to the right forums another forum we have used Good site with great resources
Business Objects Versions
As the world of SAP BO BI continues to evolve SAP has just launched its first properly integrated version
of SAP BO BI to be known as SAP BO BI 4.0. At the time of the acquisition of Business Objects in 2007
the version available was Business Objects XI 3.1. SAP developed an integration kit which when installed
provided integration between the SAP BI and BO. This was further enhanced to improve the int egration
between the products however there were still some limitations (outside the scope of this material).
With SAP BO BI 4.0 the integration between the 2 products is far tighter and there are considerable
improvements in this area. It is wise for consultants to appreciate these changes. Also it is wise to
understand that SAP BO BI must be running under a minimum version of Netweaver stack (7.01 to be
precise) for Business Objects Integration kit to work.
It is further useful to know t hat SAP sells the Business Objects solution under a sepa rate license than the
one SAP BW runs under, which means additional cost for companies. Given these parameters we will
find SAP customers with various scenarios e.g. SAP BW only, SAP BO BI (BO XI 3.1), SAP BO BI with
BO XI 3. 1 and 4. 0 in ramp up, going forward at the time of writing this article SAP BO B I 4.0 should be in
General A vailability (GA) meaning ready for use by all customers. There will be few customers that only
have SAP BO as these would be customers that bought the BO solution prior to SAP's purchase of BO.
These customers are probably ones that do not own/ use SAP as their main ERP engine. Which brings us
to another point?
Business Objects Road map
Since the BO product has been around independently of SAP prior to their acquisition then it would make
sense that there are companies with Business Objects that have no other SAP products. They would not
want to mak e a huge investment in another ERP product (unless they thought it was worth it) if they
already are running one. For this reason SAP intends to keep both SAP BO and BW data warehouse
environments to be developed in parallel. There will and has been integration of certain products
especially on the front end however the back end is likely to remain unchanged from sometime apart from
upgrades/enhancements which are normal for any product.
Business Objects Tools – What do we need to know first?
SAP has done a great job in documenting and providing resources and materials to understand the
Business Objects tool set with all of the resources as mentioned in S TEP 1 you can find plenty of
examples, tutorials and best practices documents to tak e you to the next level in SAP BO B I reporting.
The main tools to learn are Excelcius (used to provide dashboards), Crystal Reports (used to provide
highly formatted reporting) and Web Intelligence (for Ad -Hoc reporting). Other t ools such as Infoview,
Publishing are additional administrative tools however the first 3 are the reason Business Objects stands
out from the SAP BI tools such as Business Explorer (BE X) and Web Application Designer (WAD). Also a
note Web Application Designer (WAD) will be phased out and replaced by Excelcius.
Business Objects – What do I need to know?
At the minimum it makes sense to understan d the integration bet ween SAP BW and BO including some
of the tool sets mentioned and what these tools are to be used for. For instance Excel cius will be the
flagship product for delivery of B I dashboards. Crystal Reports for highly formatted reporting and Web
Intelligence for Ad-hoc reporting. These are the main tools used for BO although there are others these
are probably the most popular. Each of these is a product in its own right with its own independent
versioning. Understand which versions go with which release of BO BI. Another tool which is provided in
the Business Objects toolset is Dat a Services. This is a tool which allows extraction of data from different
types of source systems and to allow to schedule those jobs as well include trans formations. It also
transfers the data to appropriate target systems e.g. HANA, BO database, another database.
What about SAP BW?
With that complexity of Business Objects here is some of the other side of the fence SAP BW. Remember
prior to the purchase of Business Objects SAP's data warehouse consisted of SAP BW only. SAP BW
has all the ETL capabilities as well as a reasonable front end in Business Explorer (BE X) and Web
Application Designer (WAD). So when we speak of SAP BW then we are referring to the toolset which
comprises of that version of the product. Of course by the time Business Objects was purchased many
customers had already implem ented the SAP BW in their organizations. Even the non-SAP data was
loaded into the SAP BW product. Once the BO tool set came along and SAP provided a met hod to import
the data being output via the queries then it gave the SAP community a new way to project the same
data. Das hboards which could not be creat ed previously, highly formatted reports which were not
possible could now be delivered. As we move from BO 3.1 to BO 4.0 the major advantage is that the
integration work is far tighter and it is far easier to deliver SAP BW data to the BO world. Either way no
one was going to completely scrap their investments in SAP BW to move everything to BO; indeed this
was not a requirement or necessarily a best practice to adapt. The requirement was to continue to
maintain the existing SAP BW data warehouse and deliver the reports onto BO. Bottom line more to know
and understand for the SAP Consultant. In order to remain marketable the SAP BO BI consultant will
need to remain educated on both SAP BW and BO.
SAP BW Functional Analyst
Very few individuals know the SAP BW product any where near 100%. This number becomes signific antly
less if we start taking into account functional areas. Often there will be a requirement to know certain
functional areas such as Sales, Finance (more specifically Treasury, COPA, Asset Management ),
Production Planning and so on. This does not mean you need to understand how to configure those
applications though it would be ideal if you had that background but if you have worked with SAP E RP
product then an understanding of the data is important. What data is stored and what that data repres ents
to the business. The business will interface wit h the functional analyst so the functional analyst can then
translate their requirements into a functional specific ation. If they can understand what standard
extractors are relevant to their functional areas then that is even better. This knowledge is very useful
when creating data models for the reporting solutions needed.
A word on extractors - the magic of SAP BI product is in the extractors. Because companies use SAP to
automat e their business processes then it became very attractive for SAP customers to buy into the SAP
BI product since the data being extracted was within the SAP framework. In other words SAP could
provide these extractors by default when the SAP BI product is installed, the extractors link to the SAP
tables for every functional area and once turned on, the extractors deliver the master data and
transactional data to the BI tool. All this has to be built manually if anot her data warehouse product was
being used e.g. Cognos, Informatica etc. So with the popularity of the SAP enterprise solution came the
popularity of the SAP BI solution.
Indeed as mentioned every area is being consistently developed by SAP and every area is wort h knowing
in its own right. However the newbie or even the experienced person can be overwhelmed with the
amount of information needed to digest for all of these areas. Let’s take a quick look at the number of
areas of expertise. SD (aka as Logistics), MM & WM (Materials management and Warehouse
Management), PP (P roduction Planning), HR (Human Resources aka HCM for Human Capital
Management), Finance (with sub modules of GL, AR, AP, Treasury, FM), CO ( Cost Ce nters, Profit
Centers, COPA (or Profitability Analysis) and PS (Project Systems) and many more.
This list by no means is complete however it does show t he majority of t he mainstream areas that are
implemented across a typical corporation. Each area has its own set of functional proc esses which the BI
developer should have an understanding of if possible. Now typically there will be a functional person
responsible for knowing the processes and they should be the interface bet ween the B I developer and the
business. The BW functional analyst should understand at least one or more SAP process areas or
functional areas such as Sales. Sales includes Order, Deliveries, Invoic es, Pricing, ATP, Shipping
Notifications etc. it is the functional analyst who can confer with the business to translate their
requirements into a functional specification. The key out put of the functional specification should be the
business background, the desired reports, layouts of the reports and the format, field mapping of the
report including any logic which is involved. Once the functional specification id completed a Technical
Specification is developed.
BW Developers
One of the key outputs of the technical specifications is the data model diagram. This shows what
datasources are needed and how to build the data model with SAP BW to achieve the desired data to be
reported on. The last part is to either develop a separat e technical specification for the queries to be
developed or incorporate int o the same technical specification. As an SAP BW developer you will need to
familiarize yourself with concepts such as use of DSO's, Cubes, Multiproviders, Master Dat a, Hierarc hies,
Aggregat es, Process Chains, BWA , Delta Concepts, DTP's, Transformations and more. A note about
query development. Often there are requirements from customers to find query developers, however we
believe SAP BW developers should understand query development also. The queries are dependent on
the underlying data models.
This is just a very high level summary as you dig in you will find more and more to learn. So it is
wort hwhile to learn these concepts as well as practice them. The best BI developers/Architects will keep
up with the latest information. Very often a customer will want some way of doing something and y ou may
be able to suggest a better way to achieve the same thing. This is what makes you more valuable. So the
golden rule as mentioned in Step 1 is to stay informed. Look into the latest concepts, find out what service
packs are coming out or what is in the next service pack to the one the customer has. Be pro -active – this
is spelled out in Steps 4 & 5. As you begin to learn more you will be keen to communicate this and the
more you communicate the more you will be appreciated. What counts as an expert is your reputation. If
people start recognizing you for your talent then the word will get around. SAP is a small world and SAP
BW even smaller. So if you’re in consulting your good reference will pay off at the next client. This keeps
you employed, your customers happy !
Again I will repeat as I have done throughout we are not here to learn about each of these areas in this
particular report, but to know - what to know and where to go to find out. This is like a guide of how to
learn about SAP BO B I and how to apply that into a successful career. To learn t hese concepts there are
several reliable resources on the internet as mentioned above.
Basis Administrators
A discipline not to be overlooked. Very often the success of a project can depend highly on the quality of
the Basis resources available. Unfortunately good Basis resources are hard to come by and there will
always be a demand for a great Basis skillset. One fact that is sometimes forgotten is that there is a
differenc e between SAP ERP basis and SAP BW basis. Even though the underlying plat form (Web
Application Server or WAS) is the same and the majority of the administration activities are the same,
when it comes to performance and load balancing then we get into BW specific areas of expertise. For
sure the security side is very different to ECC. Very oft en it is when we run into performance issues that
Basis is called upon and unless they have dealt with some of the BW specific issues like activation, single
threading versus multi-threading, BW specific tablespaces then the ECC basis guy will be at a loss. One
word of warning however this skillset will take a little more time to acquire and it is for the m ore technically
biased person. This skillset requires an understanding of hardware, dat abases, operating systems,
networks, though not in the greatest detail but they must be comfortable with dealing in those domains.
They are also central to performing installation of SAP BO BI software as well to upgrading the software.
Where do you fit into this?
Bottom-line, you will need to understand where you fit in best. If you’re not really into getting into the
technicalities then a functional role may be right for you. Also it is worth here to mention that the ratio of
jobs for technic al expertise is higher than for functional resources. However functional roles are useful if a
data warehouse is implemented correctly. Many full time positions are typically functional also t his means
you need to understand the subject matter. That could be in the Finance module, Controlling, Logistics,
Sales etc.
A great resource for ex pertise and skillsets is, he provides some excellent advice for
SAP professionals. Though there is a lot to digest (which is why we created this report) some of the
sections do provide some great insight. Specifically take a look at the “Hot SAP skills section”, though this
does not speak of SAP BW product, it is useful to know what else is going on.
If you can devote the number of hours and even I will tell you that practice makes perfect , there is really
no substitute for practice. This is why I rec ommend you get access to a remote SAP BW server to give
you this practice. In all give yourself plenty of time to get up to speed. Because from what I have seen the
content and nature of the t raining courses will not give you the edge needed t o become a prized
commodity in this competitive market. Again purchase a session on A SAP BW server and keep plugging
away. In the Services area we list out some import ant areas of expertise to develop so you can start
improving your SAP BO BI skills. Remember the longer you stay disconnected from the system the less
you will remember. So this cannot be stressed, PRA CTICE P RACTICE PRA CTICE !!! BW servers can be
accessed by various suppliers at a cost. or
One of the best
we have tried is
Again there are plenty of places on the internet which provide excellent training. Some of the ones we
recommend are and
We are not attempting to provide you with training but to guide you and recommend reliable services.
One recommendation about training is to use one of these recognized vendors online. As part of any of
this training you will need to install the SAPGUI on your desktop or laptop.
Before you gain access to an E CC or B I server, you will need to download the SAPGUI, the most current
version is 7.2 as of writing this report. I would recommend you use the official SAP website to download
this (bear in mind the faster your internet connection speed at this point the better, the SAPGUI download
is over 600MB). The address for this is:
Method 1 (Recommended)
Go to the downloads section near the bottom of the page (as of July 2011, location may change however
that’s where it is at this point) and click on 7.20 under Installations. You will need to register to access
Method 2
If you do not have an OSS id one you can search the internet for various sites that provide this. Be
mindful that it is not recommended however here is one site which we have tried as follows.
Click on the download button next to 7.20, this will launch the download prompt on windows.
BW 1on1 Training
Softxsystems (the aut hors ) are offering BW 1 on 1 Training, because we understand the time and cost of
the training yourself we want to make sure you have altern atives as the single most common reason
given for losing practice is that there are no resources for short term practice. We have developed a
program to allow individuals to brush up on their BW skills. BW 1 on1 Training allows anyone to capitalize
on this service. A dedicated S oftxsystems consultant will provide you with additional hours of suppor t and
answer any questions or issues. Most importantly a remote BW server is available to practice any skills
which the student feels he is lacking. This is a unique service that is not available anywhere else. The
consultants we provide are some of the best and have many years of experience. Rest assured you will
be in good hands.
Our aim here is to give you the insight int o becoming a well-rounded consultant. Very oft en consult ants
will get to know the product and practice and do all of the right things and still be overlooked for the best
opportunities. This will get you most of the way there. However there are c ertain soft skills that
consultants should have to be able to present themselves in the best possible way. From building your
resume, communication as well as attitude can make the difference between 2 consultants who have
similar skill sets. In today's competitive environment these are the additional skills that will help you to get
the opportunities you want. Indeed in Functional or Team Lead roles these skills are sometime more
valued than the technical skills.
Build your re sume: Your res ume is your passport to your success. Whatever le vel you’re at, a nicely
formatted res ume with all the necessary skill sets and prior experience listed is essential to presenting
yourself. This is the first impression the customer will have of you, so make it count. Some people say do
not make your resum e too long, however we are not concerned with length only quality. Obviously if you
have only 1 year’s experience then we do not expect a resume to be 10 pages long. So use your
common sense here. We have seen resumes of experienced consultants with over 1 0 years of
experience and over 10 pages. However the history does give a complete picture of the background so it
is useful to have that information. One thing is to try to compress your non-SAP background into may be a
single page or less if possible. Most SAP customers will not be too interested in reading about this
Communication: Oft en you will find many opportunities that you could do however the most important
part of getting that job is being able to communicate. Many trainees will have accents either American or
non-American that is difficult to understand. There is a huge advantage to be gained just by speaking
English with good pronunciation. This is a huge plus and this is why many people are turned down
primarily because of lack of comprehension by others. We have interviewed several candidates who did
not communicate well largely because of their accents. The feedback is literally that the interview panel
could not comprehend what they were saying. Again this is not essential however if you want to increase
the odds of being selected then it is worth doing whatever you can to improve y our language and
pronunciation skills. As well as improving your English, it is important to know when not to talk. You can
practice at home, some people have taken classes to have these skills enhanced because they know
they are valuable skills to have. Local colleges will often provide these kinds of course. This might not
seem relevant here; however we are looking at every aspect, and trying to give you a guide to be the
most successful in this area – to do that you have to improve yourself mentally and physically. Ultimately
the most senior positions require the best communications. So if y ou want to aim for the highest positions
improving your communications skills cannot be over emphasized.
Attitude: This is an obvious one, however in my experience needs to be stressed. There are several
resources available on this, however what makes an outstanding consultant from a good consultant is
your attitude. Keep the mind set to help the customer and take the initiative to setup meetings with your
lead, offer recommendations, alternatives and ideas. E ven if these do not work out then at least the
customer sees you are concerned and are looking for ways to help. When it comes to renewing your
contracts you will standout because of your attitude. I myself have been a victim of losing out in my early
career because of this lack of attitude and since then I have worked with some of the industry's most
respected people – who have been excellent examples. The thing to note is that there are very few on a
project that are like that, and they are usually the ones who are the furthest ahead in their careers. It is
certainly easy to sit back and let other people do the w ork or criticize with others about the problems in
the company and the management and the politics. Well sooner or later you realize every company has
some obstacles and you cannot let these things or people become an excuse for you to be positive and
create a positive environment. Who knows someone maybe looking for t hat example in your team? It is a
great feeling to see others taking you as an example. It can take some time to get to this point, however if
you start taking small steps to day, in 2 to 3 ye ars you will surprise yourself at how far you will have got. It
all begins with awareness and this is what this report is trying to give you. Awareness about the
importance of a good attitude in your workplace.
Some examples of activities:
Keep a daily log of what happened on every day. We're not talking about writing down all the details but if
there is a dependency on you completing a task to another task then it is good to have that written down.
I have found out it very useful to keep an A4 notebook in front of me. Jot down small incidents / events –
for every day. Start a new day draw line under the last day and write down the dat e of the new day. Then
do the same for that. When you are a consultant it can be difficult to remember what h appened when and
why? If a question ever comes up say 2 months down the road about something then you can look back
at these notes.
Keep a high profile in your project team. Work as a team. Be helpful if and when asked for assistance.
This is all common knowledge however it appears not to be too many people I have worked with. Most of
all make sure your project lead or Manager knows you’re not wasting time. If you have free time contact
them and let them know. Sometimes they may not realize this and so it can be a good reminder to them.
Think of areas of work you would like to be working on and that you are confident about. Try to position
yourself into those areas. When you talk to your lead maybe mention this that you have knowledge of
certain area and whether you could be utilized there. Or learn about an area that you know is being
implemented. Keep a healthy and cheerful attitude towards others and work. Remember everyone is
there to do a job but everyone also is a person. So when approaching people for help make sure you
choose to do it when they are not stressed out for any reason. Before you speak have a clear
understanding of what you need to ask for. Speak clearly and assertively. We do not want you to sound
like a robot either, so make sure you are relaxed, there is no need to be nervous. We are all human and
the more successful people understand this more than others.
The internet is a great resource.,,, also check the portals For international jobs look into At the training stage you s hould look
at junior level roles. We have access to global organizations which provide online opportunities
worldwide. We have representatives throughout USA, Europe, Middle East and Asia. By plugging you into
the system we are able to network for requirements from junior to senior level.
Cautionary word
We are not going to dwell on this too much however there are certain things to look out for. Like in every
business there are the good guys and then there are the bad guys. Well this industry is no different.
Beware of resume collectors. Sometimes jobs are posted on job boards that do not have much meat in
them. Thos e jobs/contracts are baits to collect resumes. Ask for a job specification for any job posted out
there. Another trick used by consulting companies is to ask for 2 to 3 references prior to even getti ng an
interview by a customer. In this case some companies will use these referenc es to dig for more business.
Only give your references once the interview has been completed. You must treat your references like
gold, if they start getting hit by cold calls they may not be good references for too long after that.
Job Sites (for international opportunities)
Further Information
New developments - Services area
As we progress through the SAP BO BI report we would like to inform you of the Services area. This will
provide a high level in t erms of news of interest, product developments, and product insight. Again this
area is not intended to repeat what is already known however throw fresh light on existing
products/techniques and business developments. This will develop into an area which will provide many
tools in the future to help you get up that SAP BO BI ladder.
The thing to note here is that the Services area intends to throw light on areas of SAP BO BI that will help
you to further your career. A high level idea of the subject matter, enough to give you the information to
dig further for yourself.
Job Descriptions:
Here are s ome typical jobs skills req uired for the different types of SAP BO B I development. Generally
there are the 4 broad categories of jobs. They can be stated in other ways however in terms of job
description they are primarily the same.
SAP BW/BO Architect (sometimes also referred to as Solution Architect) - Everything an SAP BO/BI
developer needs plus Will typically know the front end and back end as well a good understanding of at
least a couple of functional areas. Excellent understanding of the BW administration processes. He will
also be skilled in Data modeling and preferably with ABAP development. Have over 5 years of BW
experience preferably with a few years of SAP. Have completed at least 3-5 BW rollouts. He will also
need to understand BW performance strategies and methods as well as troubleshooting. Solid
Understanding of BW architecture from version 7.0 and version 3.5 BW Developer - Skilled in Front End
and Back-end Typically should be skilled at BW administration functions, BW development of cubes,
DSO's, infoobjects, Datasources, Understanding of at least a single functional area egg Finance, Sales,
CRM, Supply Chain, Manufacturing or HR (these are just examples there are more). In certain cases front
end skills will be required, so skilled with BW Business Explorer, Web Application Designer possibly
JavaScript, HTML, experience with Dashboards other products of SAP egg Visual Composer. ABAP
development may also be a requirement however not essential. Note: Sometimes the lines between
architect and Developer can be thin. In many cases a highly skilled BW Developer will be at the same
level as an Architect from a knowledge perspective. What distinguishes an Architect from a good
developer in my mind are the softer skills, better communication skills and some drive to take initiative to
provide innovation using existing tools and technology. Remember the SAP is constantly adding new
functionality every year there is a new release so the Architect needs to be aware of these and not be
afraid to implement these new features.
Bottom-line-This role is ultimately where you should try to aim for; however as you can see it requires a
deeper understanding of SAP BO/BI whic h can only be attained via experience. So something to shoot
for is always good to know ahead of time.
BW/BO Front End Developer - This role is not as common however with the SAP purc hase of Business
Objects it has become more popular over the last 12 months or so. Business Objects is a huge
undertaking for now however suffice to say it is no to be ignored as a lot of the front end strategy SAP will
employ will be dictated by this purchase. Outside of BO (B usiness Objects) this role requires an
understanding of query development, experience with Web Application Designer (for web related
queries). Query performance, Workbooks, Query views, Structures, Variables, Cell definitions, Calculated
Key Figures, Restricted Key Figures, Roles Note: Sometimes it is expected that the other roles will
include the BW front end skill set therefore it is beneficial to know this area either way. From a Business
Objects perspective familiarity and experience with Web Intelligenc e, Crystal Reports & Excelcius is
important. Experience with Universe designer the SAP Business Objects integration kit and other tools
within SAP Business Objects such as Infoview will be helpful.
Bottom-line – This role will give you a good insight into the primary front end development concepts.
E very architect needs to understand the best practices for skillset. It is also an excellent lead in t o the BO
tool sets as mentioned. Get some experience in those and you will be ahead of a lot of people. If you
already have up to 5 years or more of SAP BW developer experience then you would be ready to make
the jump to this level. With this role you may be expected to meet management / project management to
give feedback and analysis, so make sure your communic ation skills are up to par. Beware however the
integration between SAP BW and BO has just been revised with the introduction of SAP BO BI version
4.0. There is not much experience in this area yet. Again going to the recommended resources for
training as mentioned earlier provides some great ways to practice these skillsets.
SAP BW developer - Will be experienced with a functional area e.g. Deliveries in the functional area of
Supply Chain. The Deliveries sub functional area has extractors for the Header and Item level. So this
role would need to be familiar with that particular extractor if this is the functional area they needed
expertise in. In the case of Deliveries this extractor has a technical name and this would need to be
spelled out in the resume of the person applying for this position. Also it is possible to enhanc e the
extractor, with custom fields. This proc edure should be understood. To write logic in the back end i .e.
SAP ECC system via ABAP programming. A back end developer would typically know some ABAP to be
able to populate the enhanced fields. User exits are available in the back end which allows you to do this
and this technique needs to be understood. This role is typically quite challenging and very technical. So
if you are comfortable getting your hands dirty on the technical side then this will work.
Note: Other tools of SAP and BW which need familiarity are the Data Dictionary, which holds information
about the tables and fields in bot h SAP ERP and BW. Remember SAP E CC c ontains all the functional
data or tables and BW does not. However the Data Dictionary tool exists in both. Also the equivalents of
fields on the SAP side are referred to as infoobjects on the BW side. When you map a certain extractor
from the ECC side to the BW side then the field names will be different. For example document number
may be named VBELN in SAP ERP and 0DOC_NO on the BW side. Sales Organization VKORG on the
SAP ECC side but 0SALES _ORG on the BW side. The Data Dictionary allows you to see how long these
fields are whether they are numeric or character. On the BW side however we have an additional
transaction which s hows the business structure of the infoobjects which contains other info objects and
how they are grouped together. Also to become familiar wit h Background Job Scheduler (SM37), Delta
Queue (RSA7), Application Component Hierarchy (RSA 6), BW Customizing (SB IW), and Extractor
Checker (RSA3) Of course this is just a primary list there are many others...
Bottom-line – this is really the bread and butter role for SAP BW. This is where you will learn the most
from extraction, modeling, administration and optimization. Many key concepts are utilized in this job role
so it should be the primary goal for any one having got some experience in t he area of SAP BW or even if
you have got some training.
SAP BW Functional Lead/Analyst Functional Leads are often responsible for the delivery of the BW
solution for a particular BW functional area e. g. Finance, Materials Management, CRM or HR. They will
have functional knowledge from BW perspective knowledge of the extractors for that area as well as
preferably a relatively good skill set of the BW developer also. However the foc us can be sometimes more
on delivery in which case s ome management and project management skills are necessary or the
emphasis can be more on the technical in which case more of the Developer skills are needed.
Bottom-line – Functional roles are usually peripheral roles to the main development work. In most cases
a BI Architect would have knowledge of some functional areas e.g. Sales, Logistics. However if you are
not so comfortable with the technicalities of the BW product then this may suit you. However you do need
to have knowledge about the ECC functional areas and be able to interface with business people who
have functional knowledge. It will be your responsibility to help to define the BW solution from a functional
or requirements perspective. This job will typically require a person with good communication skills.
The million $ question - How much can you make?
As far as permanent or consulting, this we will leave up to you as there are many online resources which
go into the pros and cons of each. Here we are only interested in giving you insight knowledge that others
in your position do not have about the SAP BO/BI industry.
Junior developer (less than 1 year’s experience)
Mid-level Developer (2-5 years)
Senior Developer (5 years plus)
Architect/Manager (5-10 years)
Earning Potential
$50k plus
$100k plus
Independent Contract:
Junior developer (less than 2 years’ experience) up to $60/hour (translates to $120k per annum)
Mid-level Developer
$60-$90 / hour (up to $180k per annum)
Senior Developer
$75-$100 / hour (up to $200k per annum)
$100-$150 / hour (up to $240k per annum)
As you can see the breakdown of the different job functions has been detailed above for both permanent
and contract type of opport unities. Remember however this is just a guide and these numbers can vary
quite significantly depending on various factors including loc ation and economy. Also bear in mind t hat in
the last 10 years offshore companies have taken over a lot of the contracts with large multi nationals,
thereby providing lower cost consulting. It is an open question as to how good the skill sets are however
this seems to be the trend for now. For instance it will be a rare occurrence where an A rchitect is actually
earning as much as $120 / hour in today's economic climate. As mentioned there is a fine line between
the archit ect and the senior developer and sometimes the rates can be very similar or just a little more for
the Architect. There can be a bigger delta between the Mid-level guys to the senior guys also.
Hidden Costs of Contracting
If you are contracting also remember the other variables whic h you need to consider and which can add
to your cost such as additional corporation taxes, no benefits, supplies, business insurance, no paid
vacations and a big one being down time. So even though contracting rates can look like they pay higher
you can deduct at least 20% for all of these costs. The numbers above are based on 2000 hours of work
which does not include additional time for vacations. Additionally it assumes you will be able to secure
contracts continuously, in reality this is not the case. If there is down time then you have to consider
income lost from that. Finally you may end up being slightly higher compared to a salary, but then this is
the there is the constant worry of having to find your next contract, as well as additional time and effort
used to find that cont ract. If you are really good then there should not be much to worry about. E ven then
you have to consider location. If your next contract requires you to move then there is expenses incurred
for moving. So contracting is also affects your lifestyle and if you are ok with t hat then providing you have
the skillset there is no reason why you cannot begin to do this.
Thank you for taking the time t o read this report and we hope this is just the beginning of a successful
career in SAP BO BI. Most importantly remember to practice and allow us to help with the BW 1on1
Training at
Softxsystems specializes in implementation and services related to SAP Business Objects & Business
Intelligence (SAP BI/BW) formerly known as SAP BW data warehouse (or SAP BW or SAP BI). Having
completed worldwide SAP BI implementations with Fortune 500 companies including Apple Computer,
Nike, EBay Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Saudi Aramco, Softxsystems is a
recognized authority in the area of SAP Business Intelligence solutions.