The SAP BI (previously called SAP BW) is an end-to-end solution for data warehousing by SAP. SAP BI using pre-existing SAP technology and is programmed in ABAP language. SAP BI makes used for Application Link Enabling (ALE) and Business Application Programming Interface (BAPI) to connect with existing SAP and non-SAP systems (Mehrwal and Morlock 2009). SAP BI is built using Basis 3-tier architecture.
The top layer of SAP BI is the reporting environment which is made up of a SAP Business Explorer or a third party reporting tools. The second layer of SAP BI is called BW Server and performs tasks such as administration of the BW systems, storage of data as well as retrieval of data according to the requests of the users. The BW Serve layer also contains a number of other components to facilitate its functionality. For example and Administrator Workbench components is used to schedule load data jobs as well to monitor their status. A Meta data repository contains information about the data stored in the system while a staging engine is used to map and convert data from one form to another. Other components and tools that are part of the BW Server layer include InfoCubes, Data Manager, OLAP Processor and User Roles. The third and last layer of SAP BI consists of source systems. These source systems can be R/3 system, flat files or another business warehousing system. If a SAP system is used as a source system, than a Plug-in component must by installed in this layer. This plug-in is set of applications which are used to extract data from the SAP systems. If a non-SAP system is used, the connection is built with the help of BAPI (InformIT 2002).
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