Business Intelligence Goes Enterprisewide

By Dennis Callaghan  |  Posted 2001-09-24

Hyperion Solutions Corp. is planning a push to make its data warehousing and business intelligence applications enterprisewide in scope, making it easier for departments and business units to share information and giving executives a broader view of a companys business.

The new road map for the Sunnyvale, Calif., companys software, which will be rolled out over the next few weeks, comes in response to a demand for enterprisewide BI, as opposed to departmentalized silos of information, Hyperion officials said.

Just such a trend is already prevalent in the enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management software worlds.

Hyperion, developer of the market-leading Essbase OLAP (online analytical processing) server, later this year plans to announce products that help meet this business need. Officials, though, would not give specifics of what those products will entail but said they will be delivered sometime next year.

"If theyre going to provide a tool that could tie the silos together, that would be a good thing," said Jay Nish, senior consultant at Clarity Systems Ltd., in Toronto, and a Hyperion user. "Silos are useful for some things, but everybody wants their data to work together."

One issue that customers often encounter is that data in different silos is in different dimensions, such as time, and hard to bring together, Nish said.

Mark Smith, who watches the BI space closely, said Hyperion is somewhat late to the party. Enterprise software vendors, such as PeopleSoft Inc., Oracle Corp. and SAP AG, have already built enterprise data warehouses for their applications, he said.

"Its OK to have your information in specific silos—theres still a use for that—but theres a trend toward more enterprise-level analytics," said Smith, president of Full Circle Strategies, in Truckee, Calif. "Upper management of companies is trying to get a better understanding of the overall performance of the organization. Its not an either/or; you have to do both."

Smith said Essbase has a "certain level of limitations" in providing enterprise analytics, so he applauded Hyperions direction.

Henry Morris, an analyst at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass., cautioned that Hyperions move to standardize its applications on a common framework wont happen overnight. Even Hyperion officials concede that they wont be able to provide a "critical mass" of enterprisewide analytical technology until 2004.

"People bought applications for particular functions because it was easier to get the purchase approved that way," Morris said. "But that leads to inconsistent information. Even organizations that had standardized on Essbase have different instances of the same product."

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