Hyperion Solutions Corp hopes to break the commonly held perception that “broader” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “looser” after officially unveiling its next generation System 9 platform which delivers broad business intelligence and analytic functionality within a tightly integrated personalized “Workspace.”
Hyperion officials, presenting to an assembled crowd of customers, partners and media at a launch event held in Santa Clara Convention Center, said that System 9 is the first platform to integrate financial management applications with a BI platform in a modular system, and is the result of a three year development initiative.
System 9 comprises three layers: a new service oriented architecture (SOA) Foundation Services layer the serves as the glue of the system, providing shared management, administration and integration; a BI layer that consolidates Hyperion’s OLAP, ad hoc query, reporting, and metrics-driven dashboarding tools; and a Financial Applications layer that pulls together its business performance management (BPM) suite comprising of financial planning, modeling, consolidation, scorecarding and strategic management applications.
Hyperion’s chief technology officer, John Kopcke highlighted two important features of the release – platform integration and ease of use.
Underpinning System 9 is a Foundational Services layer which provides a common shared services infrastructure for security, user administration, systems management, metadata sharing, and data and application integration (via Hyperion’s Application Link module) that applies across all Hyperion’s BI tools and BPM applications. The layer also includes Hyperion’s Master Data Management (MDM) Services technology for synchronizing disparate master data (like dimensions, attributes, hierarchies and rules).
Kopcke said the integration will drive greater interoperability for IT but also people and processes around it, adding that the benefits of having a single foundational layer translate into streamlined deployment, easier administration and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).
Adaptability is also key; the modular services-based architecture of System 9 also lets companies evolve the platform’s functionality to include new tools and applications.
Kopcke said the other major theme of System 9 was to make BI easy by introducing a new Workspace metaphor crafted around role/function-based interfaces. The Workspace provides an integration point for Hyperion’s BI and BPM tools, unifying financial, analytical and operational reporting in a single interface.
The Workspace can be implemented as a thin DHTML client for Web access. Workspaces can also integrate tightly into Microsoft Office desktops as well through its Smart View for Office which uses smart tags to include analytic data into documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
We’re the first vendor to create personalized BPM workspaces that unify data and applications in a single place, Kopcke said.
He distinguished a Workspace from a BI portals, likening them instead to Microsoft’s Outlook application, which consolidates email, calendaring and task management into one system.
Kopcke said that Hyperion collaborated with design consultant Frog Design Inc to develop the Workspace interfaces which were tested on 70 customers.
System 9 has also been warmly received by Hyperion’s 35 partners including IBM Corp and NCR Teradata Corp.
The platform is fully enabled for 64-bit Intel Itanium 2-based HP Integrity server platforms running on HP-UX 11i and Microsoft Windows Server 2003.
Arguably Hyperion was forced to develop System 9 after assembling a broad portfolio of acquired and home grown tools and applications over the past several years. Founded principally as a financial applications firm (as Hyperion Software) the company started to address the BI market more aggressively following the acquisitions of Arbor Software (the developer of the Essbase OLAP engine) in 1998 and more recently Brio Software Inc in 2003 which developed a suite of query and reporting tools.
One of the challenges Hyperion faced internally was to present a single product face to its customers. Like other BI vendors rolling out new architectures Hyperion must also find a way to migrate older customers onto the newer platform.
Hyperion remains coy about putting specific pricing details into the public domain. However it did say that a 125-user deployment of Hyperion 6 will start at $100,000 and will include a broad range of BPM functionality.
The company added that significant discounts would apply when customers buy the entire BI platform or the entire Hyperion System 9 bundle that includes both BI and Financial Applications layers.
Hyperion also said that System 9 will include attractive pricing for customers that want to seed BPM through small-scale deployments.