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Value Propositions of SAP Datasphere, BW Bridge

Anju Kumari
30 Mar 2023

SAP BW Bridge is a tool (requiring a separate licence) of SAP Datasphere that enables SAP BW and BW/4HANA customers to transition to SAP Datasphere. This blog provides a technical overview of SAP BW Bridge along with SAP’s positioning and key value propositions for SAP BW and BW/4HANA customers.

As of March 8, 2023, all Data Warehouse Cloud tenants are being moved to SAP Datasphere. SAP terms it as the next generation of Data Warehouse Cloud that comes with the enhanced capabilities of data integration, data cataloging and semantic modeling while retaining and safeguarding the powerful capabilities of the Data Warehouse Cloud.

With SAP Datasphere as a way forward, SAP has introduced a roadmap for SAP BW and BW/4HANA customers to transition from their legacy on-premises systems to the cloud in a manner that could keep their past investments still valued and useful. The launch of SAP BW Bridge in November 2021 can be seen as an extension of SAP Datasphere that offers a functionality to migrate SAP BW data models, data sources, transformations, and DTPs to SAP BW Bridge environment and integrate (as remote tables) with SAP Datasphere artifacts to provide a self-service data and analytics platform for the business users.

Figure 1: SAP Datasphere, BW Bridge – Overall Architecture
Figure 2: Acquiring, Managing, Sharing and Consuming data

What makes SAP BW Bridge attractive is the user interface with which its BW/4HANA customers are already familiar. The access is provisioned within Eclipse via BW Modeling Tools and ABAP Development Tools meaning no new skills required to implement this. The SAP GUI is not required for this. For process chains monitoring and other administrative activities SAP BW Bridge Cockpit is used as the central entry point. It is a web-based interface in SAP UI5 environment that contains a number of Fiori apps to carry out such tasks.

SAP Positioning of SAP BW Bridge

The SAP BW Bridge, a tool within SAP Datasphere is available for purchase via an add-on licence. SAP BW Bridge enables SAP source system-based data extraction including SAP ECC and S/4 HANA, and extensively allows staging capabilities within SAP Datasphere where BW Bridge artifacts can be accessed as remote tables. It is worth noting that connections to the SAP BW Bridge environment are supported for ODP (Operational Data Provisioning) enabled SAP source systems only. Other source system types can be directly connected to SAP Datasphere through inbuilt connectors.

For BW customers, SAP positions SAP Datasphere as a strategic target solution within public cloud. For BW/4HANA, it offers Private Cloud Edition as an option to start the transition. SAP BW Bridge offers its BW 7.3+ and BW/4HANA customers the option to convert and reuse their existing BW-based functionality on Datasphere. The path to conversion, for both BW 7.3 onwards and BW/4HANA is available from 2022 via shell and remote (see Figure 3). For lower SAP BW releases, an upgrade of the system will be needed before a conversion to SAP DWC, BW Bridge can be considered.

Figure 3: SAP BW Bridge Conversion Overview – Shell vs Remote

Below blogs could be a good starting point for SAP Datasphere, BW Bridge conversion.


B) Conversion to SAP Data Warehouse Cloud: Conversion Paths and Cloud Transformation Steps

When a customer wants to implement SAP BW Bridge, SAP triggers a provisioning process that creates a dedicated BW Bridge Space in SAP Datasphere Tenant. Further, for a single SAP Datasphere tenant it is not possible to have multiple SAP BW Bridge spaces.

Business value of SAP BW Bridge

Figure 4: SAP BW Bridge Value Proposition

Business Continuity through Reusability

The value that SAP Datasphere, BW Bridge brings forth to its new age users is reflected in its capability to bring the most valued BW artifacts and Business content to be re-used within SAP Datasphere. This ensures that the decades of hard work and investment that went into developing SAP BW and BW/4HANA solutions are not lost following the introduction of SAP Datasphere. Moreover, this enables existing SAP customers to make the most of their existing BW landscape setup, affording a rapid time-to-value.

Connect with Confidence

Reaping the benefits of BW Bridge and familiar connectivity options, customers can integrate their on-premises solutions with SAP Datasphere with definitive trust and confidence that enables them to instantly apply semantic richness to their analytic solutions. Additionally, customers can use pre-built business content with ready to use dataflows and models delivered by SAP and its partners to implement a variety of business scenarios with faster times to realise.

Data Governance via Spaces

SAP Datasphere with its BW Bridge functionality is an overarching solution empowering both IT and business users, and at its heart lies the concept of spaces. IT users can use spaces to allocate resources such as compute and storage to different projects and teams whereas business users can use spaces to model and analyse data. Each space is separate from another in terms of compute and storage, metadata objects, connections, and users, thus creating a zone of trust, flexibility, and security.

Innovate with Cloud Agility

Customers can begin to innovate with cloud technologies with agility by easily enriching their data across both on-premises and in cloud data sources. Moreover, customers have the flexibility to manage their spaces based on their computing needs via space management.

Limitations of SAP Datasphere, BW bridge

Within the current offering of SAP BW bridge, customers can perform data extraction and staging up to the Composite Provider level only, which means it is not possible to create new queries within the SAP BW bridge environment. Although in future, a tool-based transfer of the existing SAP BW and BW/4HANA staging scenarios will be possible, as of now, SAP BW Bridge solution has a few limitations that its existing customers need to be aware of. A detailed list of limitations could be found here.

Ever since its release, SAP has been investing in and innovating additional features in BW Bridge to facilitate seamless conversion and integration of BW artifacts and features. A detailed roadmap of future releases and enhancements can be viewed in the Roadmap Explorer.

Sincere thanks to my colleagues Kevin, Ian, Sumi, and Soumya for their support.


Anju Kumari

SAP BW/HANA Consultant at Capgemini UK
Anju is a certified SAP BW Consultant with 10+ years of experience in the IT industry. Having worked on various implementation, upgrade, and migration projects she brings with her an understanding of cross technology platforms with knowledge of multitude of business domains and functions. Some of her recent engagements have been in Manufacturing, Retail, Healthcare and Aerospace sectors. What makes Anju unique is her agility and openness to change and her readiness to acquire new skills on the go. Anju enjoys travelling and reading books on philosophy, literature and science when not working.