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BW in 15 Min. or Less

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

BW Archiving in !5 Minutes

SAP BW 101

  • General overview of the “flow” within BW

  • Key terminology- odds n ends

  • Key terminology- by sequence of events

  • Detailed overview of the “flow”

Key Terminologies


Generic term for characteristics and key figures. InfoObjects are used in InfoCubes and the three structures relevant for the data request (extract structure, transfer structure and communication structure).


An InfoObject that is used to select or describe data.

Examples: company code, product, material, or customer.

Key figure

Numeric values such as Order Quantity, Incoming Orders Also known as “Facts”

Source System

All systems that are available for data extraction.

These can be SAP R/3 systems external systems such as legacy system or another BW.


Controls a data transfer into the BW system. The data can be precisely selected using selection parameters. An InfoPackage can request transaction data or master data attributes or hierarchies. And can transfer to the Operational Data Store and/or IDocs or InfoCubes.

InfoCatalog/Assignment Group

This is a tree-like structure in the Administrator Workbench that displays queries. The various InfoCatalog trees contain workbooks that SAP delivers and workbooks that are locally created. The structure of the sub-trees can be freely defined by the administrator. A user accesses his or her queries of the InfoCatalog using the Business Explorer Browser.


Central data stores for reports and evaluations are called InfoCubes. Contain two types of data, namely key figures and characteristics.

Typically a self-contained dataset, such as a business-orientated area.

An InfoCube is a number of relational tables consisting of several InfoObjects, that are summarized according to the star schema: meaning there is a (large) fact table, that contains the key figures for the Cube as well as several (smaller) dimension tables on the periphery, in which the characteristics of the Cube are deposited.

InfoCubes are supplied with data from one or several InfoSources.

Update Rules

The update rules specify how the data (key figures, time characteristics, characteristics) are updated in the InfoCube from the communication structure of an InfoSource. Therefore, you are connecting an InfoSource with an InfoCube.


An InfoSource is a summarized quantity of information that logically belongs together for a unit. InfoSources can either encompass transaction data or master data (attributes, texts and hierarchies).

An InfoSource is always a collection of InfoObjects. An InfoSource always refers to one scenario from an application (e.g. Financial Accounting).

The term InfoSource is, also, a generic term for all structures and methods, that are involved in the process of bringing in data into BW. If fields, that logically belong together, exist in various source systems, then these can be brought together for an InfoSource in BW.

Communication Structure

It contains all of the InfoObjects belonging to the InfoSource of the SAP Business Information Warehouse. (only OLAP not OLTP)

Data is updated in the InfoCubes from this structure. (uses active saved version ). The communication structure is either filled from the transfer structure with fixed values or using a local conversion routine. The routine always refers to just one InfoObject of the transfer structure. Conversion rules are ABAP programs that you can create yourself. You are not forced to include all the InfoObjects of the template in the communication structure.The sum of the InfoObjects in the communication structure can differ from the sum of the InfoObjects in the transfer structure.

Transfer Rules

Transfer Rules indirectly provide a method of how data will be loaded into the InfoCube. (indirect in that the rules fill the Communication

Structure which in turn will fill the InfoCube)

Transfer Structure

The transfer structure is found in both the source system and in BW. It is the structure, in which data is transported from the source system into the BW and then into the communication structure via the transfer rules. A transfer structure always refers to one source system and one communication structure. It is the nexus between the extract structure and the BW. The data is transferred 1:1 from the Transfer Structure (Extract Structure) of the source system into the transfer structure for BW.

Extract Structure

A transfer structure found in the source system. (A SAP delivered InfoSource on the OLTP side, a custom ABAP, non SAP extractor producing a flat file)

Have a nice day!

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