As this is the first post in this blog, I would like (with your permission) to start with a personal note. I have been with Business Intelligence since year 2000. I worked on a plethora of tools, but never met a fascinating and complex tool like SAP Business Intelligence (aka SAP BW). After almost two years of working with BW on a daily basis, I can surely admit that moving into SAP BW was the wisest professional decision I made to date.
Why you should consider moving into SAP BW ?
Good question. And here’s why:
- SAP BW is interesting. Business Intelligence in general and SAP BW in particular spans both the functional and technical domains. No matter if you are a business savvy kind of fellow who’s into processes or a geek who’s into programming, you’ll have plenty to interesting tasks in the SAP BW field.
- SAP BW is lucrative. With that said, it is worth noting, that BW is a relatively mature tool, so the big majority of SAP customers already implemented it. Nowadays, BW projects are focused on either upgrading the system to higher versions or implementing reporting solutions for new functional domains.
How do I get started with SAP BW ?
Many people ask questions in the SDN forums about the best way to get started with SAP BW. As someone that got started two years ago, I would like to provide my two cents on this:
- Read Data warehousing books written by Ralph Kimball or Bill Inmon in order to familiarize yourself with the basic concepts of data warehousing. This is the foundation of the entire thing.
- Follow the SAP training materials on BW Data Warehousing, BW Reporting and BW Modeling. In case your company doesn’t fund training, propose them to fund SAP books instead. There are several books that can help you a lot when getting started. I have prepared an Amazon List that lists the most useful books I used in my BW learning process.
- After you have a solid BW knowledge, start to review the help.sap.com site.
- If you don’t have an SDN account, create one ASAP. SDN is an excellent one stop shop for all your SAP BW needs. Start to review SDN white papers (start with the BI Modeling white paper ), Webcasts, read the forums.
- Download the Netweaver 2004S SP11 ABAP Sneak preview. Setup is fairly easy (but make sure that your computer meets the hardware requirements). I recommend that you follow Manfred Lutz’s blog series on setting up NW 2004S ABAP Sneak preview. I wrote a quick how to guide that will help you to get started with your first BI data model. You can find it at:How to guide. More to come on that end
- Get familiar with the basics of ABAP programming. I recommend on two books that are indispensable here: one is Horst Keller’s ABAP Objects and the second is Dirk Herzog’s book on ABAP for BW (the best 85 bucks you will ever spend for a BI book).
- Last but definitely not least is the certification question. Although I value certifications, I believe that practical experience and ability to think out-of-the-box, are more important. Bottom line: aim for an assignment, don’t waste your hard earned dollars in getting certified, as it rarely helps in finding your first gig.
That’s it, I believe you are ready to go. Good luck!