What is the semantic layer in SAP Data Warehouse Cloud?

Natasha PiraniNatasha Pirani Online Community ManagerVancouver, BC Canada admin
edited August 2019 in Data Modeling

The semantic layer of SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is a business understandable language for you to bring in add descriptions and information, written in natural language, to your data technical fields. Sometimes the data organizations accumulate is so complex that it starts to get written in a certain structure or even code. This makes it difficult for people who are not working with this data daily to quickly grasp which information is stored in which column of a table without a data set.  

The semantic layer helps prevent this problem. We published a post going into detail about the semantic layer.  

How have you used the semantic layer? Please let us know.

Best Answer

  • San TranSan Tran mod
    edited December 2019 Accepted Answer

    Hi @svenhe,

    yes, the Semantic Layer is definately built in the spirit of the SAP BO Universe ;)

    However they are technically implemented differently and have slightly different behaviours.

    In DWC the semantic layer / Business Layer has the following main function:

    • Abstraction from Data Layer, to empower Business Users to create their entities using business language and business terms
    • Hide data complexity and implementation details, e.g. a Business Entity "Sales" is implemented as a View with a Join between Sales Header and Sales Item
    • Establish a well-documented, standardized and governed Business Catalog, so that Business User can explore, search and find the required models to create his analysis.
    • To allow business user to configure a "consumption entity" for a target client (in SAP BO you rather create a Query Object), e.g SAC, SQL Client, ODATA Client, etc. Having the semantic layer information we can provide a much more friendlier way to cater the Business User and provide more simpler tools

    Please note, all of this are still under development, and still might be changing.

    Best regards,



  • Hi Natasha,

    It is my understanding that the semantic layer in SAP DWC is comparable with the universe in SAP BO. Which tools can access/use this semantic layer? Is that only going to be SAC or for example also Web Intelligence and other non SAP tools like Qlik or Power BI?

    Thanks in advance for the answer.


  • Hi Sven,

    the semantic layer is definitely built in the spirit of the SAP BO Universe with similar principles and concepts. However technically, they are not exactly implemented the same way and have different behaviors.

    From the idea of DWC semantic layer (aka DWC Business Layer), it has following functions:

    • Abstraction from Data Layer to empower Business Users to model their Business Entities using business language and term
    • Hide data complexity and implementation detail of business entities, e.g. Business Entity Sales is implemented by a View with a join between Sales Header and Items
    • Building up a Business Catalog with standardized, well-documented and governed Business Entities. This is helping eventually the Business User to find and access his data in faster manner
    • The semantic can be used to support Business Users to configure "consumption entities" in an easy manner for any client, e.g. AnalyticModel for SAC, SQL View for SQL based Client, or ODATA end points. (Though not exactly the same, in SAP BO you would rather create a query object...)

    Please note that these are the current concepts. There are still under development and things still might change!

    Best regards,


  • Hi @svenhe

    SAP DWC semantic layer is native with SAC however it will allow to connect with SAP BO Cloud services as well, regarding 3rd party tool I dont believe that people may required DWC to be connected with Qlik or PowerBI, although SAP Analytics Cloud is more powerful and complete analytical solution.



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