What you should know about workspace in SAP BW

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BW Workspace integration with Lumira, Design Studio and Analysis for Office

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In my last blog, I introduced you to BW Workspace and how to utilize it to your advantage. In this blog I will share my experiences working with BW Workspace and discuss its power and disadvantages.

No data manipulation – so adjusting data on the fly in Workspace itself, instead of having to adjust the csv file

When uploading data to the local provider, I came across different errors. For example, the dates of the local provider did not align with the prescribed format of BW Workspace. You can identify the errors fairly simply by simulating the upload before uploading the local data to the provider. However, when you do get these errors, you cannot simply adjust the data in BW Workspace. You should adjust the csv file and go through the whole process again. This leaves room for improvement.

Make sure you have the right version of Java, this will prevent having to work with two different browsers.

Ensure that the IT department is aligned in installing the correct version of Java. When it comes to the right version of java this can hamper the ease of use of BW Workspace. And had me working with Chrome to upload local data and IE to create the composite providers. It appears that version 1.80 is not supported, and downgrading to 1.70 fixes all the issues.

No Deltas

I’ve come across this limitation many times while working with Workspace. Over time I appended data to my local providers as new data was coming in. However, when historical data had to be adjusted, there was no other option than to reload the data and append the new data all over again. A delta option would be a big plus in working with Workspace and leaving some room for errors when uploading local data. In the meanwhile I would suggest to either maintain a local history of your data in excel or download a dump of the local provider that needs to be adjusted and reload the complete file.

Another downside is the inability to add new columns to the existing structure of the Workspace. For this to work you need to reload all the data as well, with the new columns added to the local file.

Hierarchies are a challenge

As part of a project I had to enrich an existing hierarchy with additional custom levels. However, this proved to be a bit challenging. The local file contained level four of the customer hierarchy and two additional levels that were custom build. Linking these with the centrally kept hierarchy required the format of the fourth level to be the same. Additionally, several attributes had to be included in the local file as well, such as division, sales organization and levels 1 – 3 of the customer hierarchy. It makes sense that Workspace requires these additional objects to build the new hierarchy, but it did require some additional work.

To ensure the completeness of the master data table, I would suggest to create a report in A4O or Webi to display the fields (of the central provider) which are still missing the custom hierarchy. This saves a lot of time in completing the master data.

 Local Master Data

A nice example of data enrichment with the help of Workspace is another project I had at a customer. As part of the local requirements we had to visualize the distributions costs per region in Poland. However, Lumira’s database of Cities all over the world is limited (for obvious reasons) to the ones with a population of 100.000 and more.

By uploading the longitudes and latitudes of each city the customer provided in their local file. I was able to create a local provider, which served as a master data table, with all the locations of the cities. Now I was able to create my geographical hierarchy and meet the customers’ requirements.

Note that to use the coordinates for the geographical hierarchy you need to convert the dimension to numeric values in Lumira, or it will not recognize them.


Although SAP does not mention a lot about Workspace, I did manage to find a short mentioning of it on the roadmap for BW 7.5. With more added features in Eclipse such as a Workspace Query.  And for the future, SAP is planning to integrate Workspace in its frontend tools offering such as Design Studio and Analysis for Office.

Despite some shortcomings and limitations of BW Workspace, it provides a good alternative to local maintenance of data when you want to combine it with BW data. As it omits the lengthy waiting times that are normal for BW data loading projects, it serves as an ideal intermediate solution.

Arjen Koot
Author: Arjen Koot

SAP BI Consultant

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