February 13, 2024

Why Move SAP ERP Data to Snowflake?

By Justin Delisi

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is critical for most large businesses, going as far as being called the “central nervous system” of an enterprise.

SAP is the most widely used ERP provider for enterprise companies worldwide, creating vast amounts of data on various business units and functions.

However, using that data for predictive models and analytics while the data resides in SAP can be complex, time-consuming, and costly.

That’s why we here at phData, with support from our partners at Snowflake Data Cloud and SNP, have created a solution to allow businesses to perform SAP analytics within Snowflake.

In this blog, we’ll explain SAP, why you should offload your SAP data to Snowflake, and how our SAP to Snowflake solution works.

What is SAP?

SAP ERP is a comprehensive suite designed to integrate and streamline various organizational business processes.

Employing a modular structure, SAP ERP encompasses modules such as finance, human resources, supply chain, and more, facilitating real-time collaboration and data sharing across different departments through a centralized database. 

This highly customizable and scalable solution enables businesses to tailor the software to their specific needs, providing tools for business intelligence, reporting, and seamless integration with other systems.

As a result, SAP ERP enhances organizational efficiency, supports better decision-making, and contributes to a more cohesive and agile operation.

What Are the Benefits of Offloading SAP ERP Data to Snowflake?

There are many benefits to moving your SAP data into Snowflake. We aren’t recommending a migration from SAP Operational Reporting (i.e., SAP Business Warehouse) to Snowflake but are offloading some of the most important datasets from SAP for your analytical workloads. 

Here are some of the highlights of what you can do with your SAP data once it’s in Snowflake:

AI and Machine Learning

First and foremost, once your SAP data is in Snowflake, you’ll be able to integrate it with data from other sources also loaded into Snowflake, creating a single source of truth for all critical business data. 

This will allow for more comprehensive analysis, better modeling, and enhanced insights that couldn’t be made with SAP data alone. Now that the data is in Snowflake, your organization will also have access to the myriad of AI tools, such as Snowpark, that work within Snowflake.


Snowflake’s native integration with popular BI and analytics tools allows data analysts and data scientists to easily access and analyze SAP ERP data using familiar interfaces and workflows.

By centralizing SAP ERP data in Snowflake, organizations can gain deeper insights into key business metrics, trends, and performance indicators, enabling more informed decision-making, strategic planning, and operational optimization.

Using a modern data stack will also reduce the time to insight, as analysts won’t need to understand SAP’s complicated data modeling or use specialized tools, leading to more self-service analytics.

Reduced Costs

With the ease and customization of Snowflake’s compute and storage scaling, users are able to control better costs over using SAP.

Also, since you’d be able to reduce the number of Analytics licenses in SAP, the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the data would be greatly reduced by performing the analytics within Snowflake.

Data Democratization

By centralizing SAP ERP data in Snowflake’s cloud-based data platform, organizations can break down silos and make critical business data more accessible to a wider range of users across departments and roles. 

Without requiring special licenses for each user for BW and Analytics Engineering functions as SAP does, Snowflake allows more users to be able to explore the data freely to gain insights.

What Are the Difficulties of Working in SAP?

One of the largest benefits of having SAP ERP data in Snowflake is simply not having to work within SAP. SAP is relatively easy to work with. 

Here are some of the biggest challenges:

SAP Infrastructure

With over 10,000 tables, all with difficult to understand table and column names, SAP’s data model is extremely hard to work with. On top of this, SAP uses proprietary data formats such as clustered tables and calculated views that make it difficult to understand. 

With its numerous interconnected components and modules, understanding the system as a whole, implementing changes, and troubleshooting issues can be onerous.


The way SAP handles licensing can make it very difficult to work with. User-based licenses may restrict the number of users who can access the system concurrently or limit the roles and permissions available to each user.

Functionality-based licenses may impose constraints on the modules, features, or transactions that can be accessed or utilized within the SAP environment. 

System-based restrictions may include limitations on the number of installations, servers, or databases where the SAP software can be deployed. These restrictions are designed to ensure compliance with licensing agreements and prevent misuse or overuse of SAP resources.

Violations of license restrictions can result in penalties, additional fees, or even legal consequences.


SAP Business Warehouse (BW) requires using its proprietary Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) language for data modeling. There is a limited number of resources in the job market that know this language, leading to a significant amount of upskilling for current and new staff to be able to empower development and analytics by data teams. 

SAP also has limited support for known programming languages such as Java, Python, and Scala, making creating data applications with advanced analytics difficult. Without these popular languages, Data Scientists and Machine Learning developers lack the tooling and support to build and deploy models.

phData’s SAP Solution

Knowing all the benefits of getting SAP data into Snowflake, phData, along with support from our partners at Snowflake and SNP, have created an SAP Analytics on Snowflake Solution.

What is SNP Glue?

SNP Glue is an SAP-certified connector that seamlessly bridges the gap between your SAP systems and various cloud platforms like Azure, AWS, and Snowflake. 

It effortlessly migrates data in both batch and real-time, empowering you to break down data silos, unlock valuable insights, and fuel data-driven decisions, all while ensuring security and compliance.

Example Solution

Here is a high-level overview of how the solution works. Though we recommend certain products like dbt for orchestration, Alation for data cataloging, and Tableau for visualization, ultimately, these tools can be substituted for products a customer might already have deployed. However, two main critical aspects exist for this infrastructure’s success: SNP and Snowflake. 

SNP integrates the data into a Snowflake raw or staging layer. Then, using a Native Application SNP, we are able to merge incremental data into the Snowflake table. From there, data is curated and matured through a medallion data maturity model (bronze, silver, gold). 

Once data is fit for purpose and delivered in the gold layer, consumers and end-users can integrate their given tooling directly with Snowflake.


With your SAP data in Snowflake, the possibilities to marry the data with other external datasets and derive worthwhile insights are endless. This can be achieved relatively easily with SNP and some help from the experts at phData.

You can start using all that valuable data to your benefit while avoiding the pitfalls of using data directly within SAP.

Snowflake Help

If your organization is interested in moving your SAP data to Snowflake, the Snowflake experts at phData can help! Contact us today for advice, best practices, actionable strategies, and more!

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