One of the most optimized capabilities of the SAP Extractor or the “BW Extractor” as it was previously known is to extract SAP data. The Extractor, an in-built data management feature of SAP is used to extract data from the source databases or systems and store it in downstream data warehouses or business intelligence systems. The reason why the Extractor was launched by SAP was to extract SAP data for moving into the SAP BW application. A high point of the Extractor is that it can be used for data integration even if a customer is not using the SAP Business Warehouse.
SAP Data Services
Before moving forward, it is necessary to understand what SAP Data Service is all about. It is a software application that integrates and transforms data for developing and executing workflows that prepares the groundwork for data extraction from a range of sources like web services, applications, data stores, and databases. This extracted data is typically integrated, transformed, and processed by businesses to take important operational decisions and real-time data analytics.
SAP data allows applications to query Data Services, thereby leading to faster response to batch processing, typically known as data transformation, based on a pre-determined workflow. Since the Extractor is a program in SAP ERP, it can be set off to extract SAP data for transferring to BW. This extracted data can either be in the form of a customized Data Source with details of full load delta processes or a standard Data Source. SAP BW actively and remotely controls the data transfer part of the program.
However, there is more to SAP Data Services than simply data extraction. It also has various functions apart from traditional transformations like aggregations, calculations, and filters such as text analysis, geocoding, data profiling, auditing, and addressing standardization. Additionally, the Change Data Capture of the SAP Data Service inputs data for stream-processing systems and data warehouses.
The Functioning of the SAP Data Extractor
The SAP Data Extractor has a critical role to play in populating the delta queue with delta-type new and modified records. This data can then be moved through a simple data transfer remote call to SAP BW.
Before the process to extract SAP data can be initiated, the load process with an InfoPackage in the scheduler needs to be defined. Only then can the extracted data be transferred to the input layer of the SAP Business Warehouse, also known as the Persistent Staging Area (PSA). Process chains have to be used for executing the data load process that is triggered by a request IDoc to the source system for implementing the InfoPackage.
To extract SAP data, Extractors should be hard-coded for the Data Source. Only then can the application-specific Extractors be able to deliver BI Content of the Business Warehouse. However, it has to be ensured that the structure of the Extractors is in tune with the architecture of the data source. Further, various types of Extractors can be used to extract SAP data to be moved to BW. SAP Extractors, being fully automated, can recognize the data that has to be extracted and the tables where the data is in a read-only format after the Data Source names the generic extractor.
An Extractor that comprises master data attributes or texts, SAP query functional areas, transaction data from all transparent tables, and related database views can be used to extract SAP data regardless of the application. The SAP Extractor stands out among other Enterprise Resource Planning products in this niche feature for feature, even when leaders Oracle, Salesforce, and Microsoft are considered.
Ways to Extract SAP Data
SAP data can be extracted in three ways with the SAP BW Extractor
The first is with Content Extractors that are specific to applications. These are used to extract BW content, FI, HR, CO, SAP CRM, and LO cockpit.
The second is with Custom-Generated Extractors that are also specific to applications. These are used for LIS, FI-SL, and CO-PA.
Finally, there are Generic Extractors that can be used across a wide range of applications. These work on View, Infoset, and Function Modules.
Using the ETL Tool to Extract SAP Data
After going through the various ways to extract SAP data with the SAP Extractor, let’s see how SAP data can also be extracted with the SAP ETL tool. ETL is an acronym for Extract, Transform, Load, and the tool is highly optimized to extract SAP data. In this process, the tool first extracts the data from the source, transforms the data structure to one that matches the data structure of the intended target, and finally loads the formatted and processed data into the target central storage repository or a data warehouse.
The main benefit of using the ETL tool to extract SAP data is that it can work with data regardless of its form – unstructured, semi-structured, or structured. Further, the SAP ETL tool is optimized to move data not only within the SAP environment but also outside the application
Besides the basic function of the SAP ETL tool to extract, transform, and load data, there are several cutting-edge advantages provided by it. By connecting the tool to CDS views and SAP Extractors, it is also possible to extract SAP data as well as incremental and change data or deltas via the OData Services. This complex process can be seamlessly carried out as it is fully automated.
The SAP ETL tool is also used to migrate data from SAP or non-SAP sources to the SAP HANA database through SAP Data Services. Hence, if required, businesses can run their data analytics on the application layer only.
In conclusion, it is thus observed that the SAP Extractor fully caters to the exclusive requirements of the SAP Business Warehouse.