The importance of analysing SAP BW Extractors before moving to SAP S/4HANA

Digital Maps Apr 24, 2023

Have you ever wondered as to what will happen to your SAP BW Extractors when you move to S/4HANA? Are all the BW Extractors compatible with S/4HANA? Will you lose all your data if any of your Extractors is not compatible with S/4HANA? How do you analyse your BW Extractors?

You can use the SAP ECC system only for operational and transactional purposes but not for analytical purposes. In order to perform the analysis of ECC data, you must extract the data from the SAP ECC system to a Business Warehouse (BW system) through an SAP BW extractor. Hence, a BW extractor is nothing but a connection from the ECC system to a BW system. You can, in turn, connect the BW system to a Business Intelligence (BI system) and perform analytical operations.

It is mandatory to analyse the status and compatibility of the SAP BW extractors and identify its data sources before moving to SAP S/4HANA. In this article, we’ll explain how to perform this BW extractor check using KTern. KTern performs the BW extractor check as part of the Discover phase of the Activate methodology and is part of the Impact Analysis module.

In addition, you can find out SAP S/4HANA Assessments using KTern in this article.

Table of Contents

What is SAP S/4HANA?

SAP S/4HANA is a next-generation business suite designed to help businesses run simple in the digital economy. It is built on the SAP HANA platform and provides a personalized user experience with the SAP Fiori user interface. SAP S/4HANA includes all the features of the traditional SAP Business Suite, plus new innovations that simplify business processes, improve user experience, and provide real-time insights.

What are SAP BW Extractors

You can use SAP BW extractors to fetch data from various sources to the Business Warehouse (BW). The data source can be an SAP ECC system, a CRM system, an SRM system or any other type of system. There are three different types of content extractors:

  • BW Content Extractors (application-specific)
  • Customer-Generated Extractors (application-specific)
  • Generic Extractors (cross-application)

BW Content Extractors:

These are standard SAP provided pre-defined extractors like FI, CO, LO cockpit etc. You just have to install Business content. Prior to the extraction of data, you must maintain the exact data structure and data sources. Then you can populate the extract structure with data.

Customer-Generated Extractors:

Some applications like LIS, CO-PA, FI-SL may vary with each organization because of its dependency on the organizational structure. SAP could not provide a standard data source for such applications. So, the customers generated their own SAP BW extractors. Hence, they are called customer-generated extractors.

Generic Extractors:

SAP’s standard extractors cannot achieve the complete requirements of your organization. In such cases, you will have to create your own data source. Such extractors are called as generic extractors. You can create data sources in three different ways, based on:

  • Tables and Views (for simple applications)
  • Infosets
  • Function Modules (for complex extractions)

KTern's SAP BW Extractor Check

KTern is an all-in-one product suite built for SAP Digital Transformations. With decades worth of SAP Tribal knowledge combined with automation, governance and collaboration capabilities, KTern is built to help the existing ECC customers migrate to S/4HANA. KTern covers the entire lifecycle and guides you before, during and after the conversion. Its inbuilt S/4HANAPEDIA rule engine combined with several modules eases the transition from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA.

With the SAP BW Extractor check feature, KTern automatically identifies and analyses all the data sources. It also classifies them based on the impact while moving to SAP S/4HANA. It is a pre-requisite to check the compatibility and impact of the SAP BW Extractors before moving to S/4HANA. Without completing this step, you cannot proceed further in the system conversion process.

Features of KTern's SAP BW Extractor Check

In the case of S/4HANA system conversion, you must  analyse the existing SAP BW extractors and the data sources  with respect to SAP S/4HANA readiness. KTern automates the process of SAP BW extractors check. It finds out the total number of BW data sources in a system and the number of impacted and non-impacted data sources in a system. As a result, this section gives you an analytical view of the BW data sources present in the connected system.

Features of KTern's SAP BW Extractor Check
Features of KTern's SAP BW Extractor Check

KTern then classifies the data sources into Whitelisted and Not Whitelisted data sources. Whitelisted data sources are SAP-Authorized data sources. The data from these authorized data sources are migrated safely to S/4HANA because the data structures in these data sources abide by the standard best practices. Not Whitelisted data sources are not authorized by SAP and it may cause some trouble during the system conversion process.

Furthermore, the data sources are classified into the following based on their statuses:

  • DS working ( no restrictions )

The data source works perfectly with SAP S/4HANA

  • DS working ( with restrictions )

The data source is available with SAP S/4HANA but has some evident restrictions like some fields might be unavailable

  • DS not working ( alternative planned )

The data sources in this category are not working under SAP S/4HANA but it has an alternative

  • DS not working (no alternative)

This is the most critical of all categories. These data sources do not work in S/4HANA and do not have an alternative in the immediate roadmap

  • Obsolete ( not relevant )

These extractors are no longer relevant in SAP S/4HANA

As shown in the above picture, KTern also provides a table view of all the BW data sources along with their respective application components, classification, status and the associated SAP Notes. You can sort and search this table to determine the most impacted data source/ extractor. You can also download this report and use it in the subsequent stages of the system conversion process.

KTern's table view of all the BW data sources
KTern's table view of all the BW data sources 

Inferences from the BW Extractor Check

This feature is essentially used by the SAP Analytics, BI/BW consultants. They use it to determine the amount of effort required from their end to convert to S/4HANA. For example, if a data source is not working or not whitelisted in S/4HANA, then they have to create a custom data source, migrate all the data to this new data source and then integrate it to the new system. Same is the case for non-relevant data sources. Some data sources may be deprecated in S/4HANA, but the data they contain might be crucial. In such cases also, an analytics consultant will have to do a custom data source.

Also, if you are planning a parallel BW4HANA implementation, then the data from this assessment becomes crucial.

How is KTern's BW Extractor check different from that of its competitors

Not many products in the market provide the SAP BW Extractor Check. However, SAP’s Readiness Check 2.0 provides this feature. But you will have to install several SAP OSS Notes to run this check. But, KTern does not require the installation of any notes.

KTern - The Best Product for SAP S/4HANA System Conversion

KTern also saves the results from BW extractor check and uses it in the actual system conversion itself. KTern provides a single platform where everyone can collaborate and have a clear view of the happenings of the project. You can post the results of the BW Extractor check in the forum, assign respective stakeholders and BI/BW consultants. They can also have discussions and perform sign-offs. This collaboration feature enables KTern to stand out in the market.

Next Steps

Now that you know  how to automate the SAP BW Extractor check in  KTern  and the deductions you can make out of it, you might want to get a first-hand feel of  KTern  and  its other features which help automate and govern SAP projects from start to finish.

Know more about how to analyze SAP Transport Requests by joining the webinar covering SAP DevOps on Feb 23, 2022, with our strategic Partner, UiPath. Follow the below link to reserve your seat :

Unleashing Change Impact Mining for SAP DevOps
Learn how you can Unleash Change Impact Mining for SAP DevOps

Webinar on Feb 23, 2022 4 PM CET

Alternatively, if you would like a guided demo of the product from one of our product engineers, kindly get in touch with us by submitting a message at Contact Us


Rahul Jacob

Helping organizations plan and govern their Digital Transformations better.