SAP adds Polestar search tool to midmarket BI suite

The addition is meant to help rank-and-file workers use business intelligence

SAP on Tuesday announced Business Objects Edge BI 3.1, an upgrade to its midmarket BI suite that includes Polestar, a tool that makes it easier for nontechnical workers to tap BI.

Polestar allows users to enter keyword searches against data stores and get results back in the form of reports, dashboards and visualizations.

They can subsequently dig into subsets of information, such as the type of products that sold the most in a particular month.

Some 70 percent of SAP's customer base falls into the small to medium-size business category, and the addition of Polestar will greatly expand the potential audience within companies for BI, according to Jeff Stiles, senior vice president of SME marketing.

Current Business Edge customers will get Polestar as part of their upgrade. But SAP is also clearly hoping to gain revenue from installed-base customers who add licenses in order to give more workers Polestar access.

Overall, however, Business Objects Edge is not for every segment of the SME space, said Forrester Research analyst Boris Evelson.

It is packaged for the upper end of the midmarket, not small businesses, and is "a relatively fully functioning suite that still requires integration with data sources."

In addition to the Polestar tool, Edge BI 3.1 includes integration kits for a range of software made by SAP's rival Oracle, including E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and Siebel.

SAP has also added support for Windows Server 2008 and SharePoint Server 2008.

Pricing for Business Objects 3.1 starts at US$19,000 for five concurrent users, which provides reporting, query and analysis functionality, according to a spokesman for SAP.

Upgrades are available for data integration and data management. SAP also sells the software via an engine/named user scheme that starts at $12,000 for 10 named users.

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