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Top 10 best practices for BW

Lauren K. Hoyt 10.14.2005 Rating: -3.81- (out of 5) Are you looking to leverage the full potential of SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW)? Silly question, you say -- who isn't? Here you'll find ten ways to maximize BW capability, based on the presentation, 10 best practices for top-notch SAP BW applications at SAP TechEd '05. The presentation was given by Janet Hutchinson, a data warehousing expert from Wyeth Pharmeceuticals, a research-based, global pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Madison, N.J. 1. Consider: Is BW the "right" platform for this application? When Wyeth's HR department requested a BW workbook to manage personnel information, the IT department created a book to meet its needs -- but it took a full eight minutes to run the workbook every time it was used. The problem: The last tab of the workbook included 50,000 employee names. BW is not good at lists, Hutchinson said. The list was taking nearly all of the time it took to run the workbook. With a workbook of this type, Hutchinson recommends running it once in the morning, and then posting the list to the Web so all users could access it without running the report over again. "You need to consider what the end-user experience will really be like [with these applications]," she said. 2. Get a business commitment to "one truth." This problem, a common business pain point, according to Hutchinson, struck a chord with Raj Salgam, an IT director at LeadingC Inc., a telecom company based in King of Prussia, Pa. The company has been using SAP BW 3.5 since 2003. "It's a challenge getting the business to buy in to one truth," Salgam said. "Often the two sides are not in sync." 3. Manage master data as a common resource critical to the success of your "one truth" approach. Master data in BW is a challenge, Hutchinson said. Wyeth was using a BW workflow system in master data management (MDM), which caused a tug-of-war between the business and the IT side of the company. Like many companies, Wyeth had difficulty determining who should make changes to the MDM system. While MDM is considered a business application, IT professionals made some decisions that affect MDM, which frustrated business users. Wyeth eventually managed to find success when the two sides were willing to meet halfway. "Our savvy IT folks know the business side, and that has added business value and helped widespread adoption," Hutchinson said. When those IT professionals who understand business needs bring BW ideas to the table, the ideas have real value for the entire company, she said.

4. Prioritize your BW applications. Determine which applications should get first access to limited resources. While BW users see their applications as a top priority, it is imperative to develop a system when to load data and when to run queries, Hutchinson said. Hurricane Katrina has recently raised awareness for preparing systems for disaster preparation and repair. It is also important to have a security strategy, she said. Readying your system ahead of time can save your company's data. But prioritizing applications is not easy, she said. "The hard part is, IT had to deal with it, but [prioritizing] is a business decision," she said. "[But] somebody has to say do it in this sequence, to relieve the stress on everyone." 5. Leverage "packaged" applications in the form of BW content. Activate and deploy for rapid implementation of industry best practices. "SAP's packaged applications are really one of [the company's] strengths," Hutchinson said. "If you need a data warehouse, I'd recommend BW content to anyone. It has robust features and functionality, and you can use it without any other [SAP] applications." 6. Minimize the features and third-party tools. Decide on one way to accomplish a specific goal and use it whenever possible. As part of the initial application design, Hutchinson recommends implementing data archiving. This has value for the business and will avoid costly problems with the BW system in the long run, she said. Reducing clutter will allow the applications in use to perform better, Hutchinson said. Overall, the system will see benefits from being "tidier" and more compact. 7. Provide formal and informal training, mentoring and support for all roles, both in the business and technical departments. Hutchinson said BW user groups within a company can help organize formal and informal training. Smaller companies should seek help and training through outside user groups, she said. The SAP Developer Network (SDN) is yet another avenue for BW support and information. 8. Develop "super users." Leverage their skills and experiences to proliferate the excitement for BW. Super users can serve as the go-to person for BW best practices or for help with troubleshooting, Hutchinson said. "It's important to have someone in your company who is staying one step ahead," she said. 9. Manage expectations particularly around performance, ease of look and feel. End-user interfaces, delivered by SAP, can be unattractive and confusing to some end users, making BW a challenge, Hutchinson said. To make the process as straightforward as possible, it is necessary to open the lines

of communication with end users. "Convince end users that while it's not pretty, it has what they need," she said. Web applications can be used to deploy BW applications, since these applications are typically more aesthetically pleasing and simplistically formatted, she said. 10. Be prepared for the results of your success -- BW will grow. Wyeth's BW success has been above and beyond the company's wildest dreams, Hutchinson said. While this has proven benefits for the business, it also brings new challenges. For example, the production system at the company has doubled every year since 2001, and the system had to be prepared to handle that capacity. My team and I intend to upgrade the SAP BW system from 3.0 to 3.5. Can you provide a checklist and any other resources for upgrading the BW system? >EXPERT RESPONSE The BW customizers and developers require a checklist entitled How to SAP BW3.5 - upgrade preparation and post-upgrade activities. This checklist can be located in the 'How-to Guides' section at http://service.sap.com/bi. It explains in detail all activities in checklist format needed to upgrade to SAP BW3.5. The Basis administrator should obtain the Component Upgrade Guide for BW3.5x. This is available for download at http://service.sap.com/instguides 1. Select the correct statements about the steps executed by a change run. a. The steps activate the new master data and hierarchy data changes. b. All aggregates are realigned and recalculated. c. Aggregates containing navigational attributes are realigned and recalculated for the master data changes. d. The steps delete the 'A' (active) records for which the 'M' (modified) records exist from master data tables, and makes all modified records active. e. All of the above. 2. Key figures that are set for exception aggregation MIN or MAX in an aggregate cause the aggregates to be completely rebuilt for each change run alignment. a. True b. False 3. If special characters are not defined in transaction RSKC in BW then: a. These characters cannot be loaded into BW at all. b. These characters can only be loaded into text fields. c. These characters can be loaded into attributes and texts. d. BW won't be able to generate the SIDs for these characters because all the fields where SIDs are generated

cannot be loaded. e. None of the above. 4. A change run updates the 'E' table of the aggregates while doing the alignment for changes in the master data. a. True b. False 5. Select the correct statements related to the control parameters for a data transfer in table ROIDOCPRMS in the BW source system. a. The field MAXSIZE is the maximum number of records which can be transferred to BW in a single packet. b. The field MAXSIZE is the size in KB which is used to calculate the number of records per data packet. c. MAXLINES is the maximum number of records which can be transferred to BW per data load. d. If the number of data records per packet exceeds MAXLINES value the extraction process fails. 6. Identify the differences between an Infoset and a Multiprovider. a. Both Multiproviders and Infosets can contain all the info providers in BW. b. Queries built on Multiproviders use 'union' and queries on Infosets use 'join' to retrieve data from different info providers. c. Both Multiproviders and Infosets do not have data, but data is accessed from the basic info providers used in these objects. d. None of the above. 7. Select the correct statements about the OLAP Cache Monitor in BW. a. The transaction for the OLAP Cache Monitor is RSRCACHE. b. If the persistent mode is inactive then the cache is inactive and query results will not be cached in memory. c. A 'read flag' is set in the Cache Monitor when data is read from the cache. d. When new data is loaded into the info provider which the query is built on, the cache for that query is invalidated. e. All of the above. 8. Select the correct statements about ODS settings. a. Performance of the ODS activation improves when the BEx reporting flag is switched to off. b. Overwriting a data record is not allowed if the 'unique' data record flag is set. c. Data targets are updated from the ODS regardless of the ODS activation status. d. All of the above. 9. It is not possible to activate an ODS which contains a request from a full load and a Delta Initialization load of the same data source. a. True b. False 10. Select the correct statements regarding data deletion settings in an InfoPackage.

a. It is possible to set an InfoPackage to delete all the data in an InfoCube during the loads. b. Only uncompressed data can be set to be deleted from the cube in an InfoPackage during the loads. c. Deletion settings can be done only for basic InfoCubes. d. Data deletion settings in an InfoPackage are possible only for full loads. e. All of the above. 11. Select the correct statements about parallel processing in Multiproviders. a. Multiprovider queries create one process per info provider involved and are processed parallel by default. b. It is not possible to make Multiprovider queries run sequential. c. Multiprovider queries create a parent process which provides a synchronization point to collect the overall result from other sub processes. d. Parallel processing is always faster than sequential processing in Multiproviders. e. All of the above. 12. Select the correct statements about the ALPHA conversion routine in BW. a. An ALPHA conversion routine is assigned to a characteristic info object automatically when it is created. b. An ALPHA conversion routine is used to convert characteristic values from 'external to internal' values only. c. Conversion is done on alphabets and numeric input values. d. An ALPHA conversion routine removes the spaces on the right side of numeric values and right aligns them. e. The left side of the numeric input values are filled with zeros. 13. Select the correct statements related to navigational attributes. a. It is better to avoid using navigational attributes from a query performance point of view. b.If a navigational attribute is used in an aggregate, the aggregate needs to be adjusted every time there is a change in the values of this attribute. c. An attribute included as a characteristic in the InfoCube has the same effect as being used as a navigational attribute in the cube. d. A navigational attribute can be made to display an attribute without removing data from the InfoCube. e. None of the above. 14. A 'Check for Referential Integrity' can only be possible for information sources with flexible updating. a. True b. False 15. Select the correct statements about physical partitioning in BW. a. New partitions on F table of an InfoCube are created during data loads to the InfoCube. b. An E fact table is created when activating an InfoCube with a number of partitions corresponding to the partition value range. c. If a cube is not partitioned before populating with data, it is not possible to partition the cube without removing all the data. d. PSA table partitions can contain more than one request. e. All of the above. Correct answers:

Question #1: A, C, D Why? Click here for detailed explanation! Question #2: A Why? Click here for detailed explanation! Question #3: B, D Why? Click here for detailed explanation! Question #4: B Why? Click here for detailed explanation! Question #5: B Why? Click here for detailed explanation! Question #6: B, C Why? Click here for detailed explanation! Question #7: A, C, D Why? Click here for detailed explanation! Question #8: A, B Why? Click here for detailed explanation! Question #9: B Why? Click here for detailed explanation! Question #10: A, C Why? Click here for detailed explanation! Question #11: A, C Why? Click here for detailed explanation! Question #12: A, D, E Why? Click here for detailed explanation! Question #13: A, B, D Why? Click here for detailed explanation! Question #14: A Why? Click here for detailed explanation! Question #15: E Why? Click here for detailed explanation!