The biggest SAP tables may not be generating business value – here’s what to do about it

Many SAP tables contain temporary data that loses value quickly after its creation. Often those tables grow rapidly because data after serving its purpose is not handled properly and on a regular basis. A proper SAP housekeeping must be in place to keep data growth under control

Even 6 out of 10 biggest SAP tables may not be generating business value. The below Early Watch output shows the top 10 tables based on their size. This means that up to six tables (highlighted) could be significantly reduces if housekeeping was performed regularly.

top sap biggest tables data management housekeeping datavard



Why are SAP systems polluted with low value data?

It is common knowledge that SAP housekeeping is essential, but according to our research done in over 300 SAP BW systems, only a low percentage of organizations are actually housekeeping their SAP systems to the full extent.

In the blog “7 housekeeping hurdles” we have identified the main reasons why these activities are not performed end-to-end. The most important factors that come to play here are:

  • Lack of awarenees
  • Reluctance to delete data

These create a vicious circle of SAP temporary data impact:

  1. Business complains about the slow performance of the SAP system
  2. The problem is caused by big SAP tables storing temporary, aged data
  3. SAP basis wants to improve the system performance and save storage by deleting aged, temporary data
  4. Business is reluctant to delete any data (risk, security, audit, etc.)
  5. …. Business complains about SAP system performing slow….

How to get out of the vicious circle?

Start with safe, small steps and make sure to measure the benefits before the next iteration. Implement lean methodology with iterations:

  1. Quick-wins – Start with quick-wins. Analyze temporary data to find low-hanging fruit. Typically aged temporary data that do not bring any risk.
  2. Measure – Quantify benefits in storage saving and improved performance after initial implementation of quick-wins.
  3. Ensure no impact – Ensure that there is no impact of deletion / archiving of temporary data, before the adjustments of retention periods.
  4. Adjust – Identify additional potential based on the learning from the previous cycle and implement additional housekeeping.


The long term best practice of SAP housekeeping is to implement central rules, automation and regular scheduling and review. Central rules are essential – it makes sense to implement central housekeeping retention rules for objects in the complete SAP landscape. For example, deletion of Application logs (BALDAT, BALHDR) should be done centrally and with using same (or transparent) retention in complete SAP landscape (SAP BW, ERP, CRM, SRM…). Imagine your complete landscape (Production, Test, Development and Sandbox) is cleaned up automatically. This you can achieve with existing software that is dedicated to run SAP housekeeping centrally, automatically, completely and most importantly safely.

How do I find out if my system has this problem?

Symptoms of high amount of temporary data are slow navigation in the system and significant data growth in largest SAP tables that do not contain transactional business data. Typically running SAP Early Watch, export and analyze biggest SAP tables via DB02 transaction or benchmarking your system against 300 other SAP systems using Gartner-awarded Datavard FitnessTest will help you to find out where you are standing. Be aware, whether you are running SAP ERP, SAP BW, S4/HANA, BW4/HANA system are naturally generating data that lose the value quickly after its creation.

sap bw data usage datavard



Housekeeping SAP systems is an important task that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It is important to clean up the data automatically, which not only reduces the overall effort, but also improves system performance and lowers storage costs.

It is best to start with analyzing your systems data volumeProper analysis helps with identifying quick wins as well as building a solid platform for kick starting system housekeeping practices. You may save yourself future trouble, when there comes a time that there is so much trash in your system that it can only be cleaned through major effort.

Find out more about OutBoard Housekeeping the holistic solution to clean up no-value data from SAP landscapes.

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