Well a new star has been born, BusinessObjects Polestar. Although not a new product, its my opinion that this year will be the year of Polestar and will most likely be the hottest product at SAP BusinessObjects for the next couple years and maybe the hottest product at SAP. Polestar is an intuitive search and data discovery tool. Describing Polestar doesn’t do it justice, which is probably its biggest problem. You really have to see Polestar in action to really understand the power it brings as a data discovery and search tool. But unlike Xcelsius, Polestar is a server product which isn’t always available to the average user to install and get access to, until now.
The SAP BusinessObjects Innovation Center released a Beta version of Polestar in the cloud. Polestar in the Cloud lets you upload your own data sets to allow you to analyize and search through the data. If you go to http://polestar.ondemand.com/ you can go and try it out for yourself.
*** This is cloud version is currently in BETA so may not have been scaled for large numbers of users. Stay tuned to my blog as updates become available. ***
On the site they have a video tutorial as well as a couple sample data sets you can go ahead and play with. I would definitely make sure that you go beyond just viewing the demo. It wasn’t until I started playing with the tool that I saw the true power of the tool.
The datasets that they provided: NHL statistics and a retail store sales numbers weren’t too exciting to me because I’m more of a basketball fan than a hockey fan, and retail sales numbers are a little bit too boring for a Thursday afternoon. So I went out and found a NBA player statistics database that provided me with cumulative stats for all the players from both the NBA and the old ABA.
Being a Steve Nash fan (Personal claim to fame, played against him in high school) I thought I would start by drilling down into the career assist numbers to see if Steve Nash was getting anywhere near catching the all time NBA assist leader in total assists.
The chart which was automatically generated for me showed me what I thought was “Magic Johnson” as the all time assist leader. Since I knew that was wrong I started to think the data I had downloaded was bogus. Since the tool allows you to really explore the data I started to take a closer look.
You can see from the graphic above John Stockton didn’t even show up in the top ten. Before I gave up I clicked on the ‘Johnson’ column which I supposed was representative of Magic Johnson. I soon discovered that the Johnson column was representative of everyone ever named Johnson, who ever played basketball in either the NBA. As you can see Johnson, Williams, Smith and Jones are pretty popular last names in the NBA, and guys with these last names have been pretty successful at racking up the assists.
From drilling down on the data I was able to discover more about the data set. The tool showed me that my data set had ‘last name’ and ‘first name’ in different columns. I quickly switched the measure to the unique identifier which represented the players. On the chart below you can see that John Stockton is clearly the all time assist leader, while Steve Nash who appears to be 20th in all time assist has a long way to go before catching the leader.
So given a little time and curiosity I was able to use the tool to explore and search through the data to find the results I was looking for. This is just a simple example, but you can imagine how you could use a tool like this to explore and learn from your own dataset, whether you are planning for next years Fantasy Football draft or while exploring your companies expenses to find nuggets of data that might prevent layoffs in this crazy economy.
I would definitely advise you to try out the sample data sets or upload your own and see the power that Polestar in the cloud provides.
Over the next few weeks I will start to talk more about Polestar in the cloud and will begin to talk about how developers might be able to start to leverage some of these features in their web applications.
** You can download the Basketball dataset that used in Polestar here: