NEW ORLEANS — At its annual user conference here this week, Hyperion continued to tout its all-in-one solutions as its key differentiator in the still-evolving but growing business performance management (BPM) space.

Singling out

Cognos as the company’s main competitor, Rich Clayton, vice president of product market for Hyperion, said that while other business intelligence software providers are able to provide pieces of a BPM solution via point solutions, he says Hyperion has both the analytics and financial reporting pieces to offer customers in a more comprehensive BPM package. “There’s always been a duality about this market,” he said of the BPM space, a duality that he feels that Hyperion can better address than either finance- or BI-only providers. The company has achieved this through both its own legacy as a financial reporting provider, along with acquisitions, such as its much-touted $140 million acquisition of Brio almost two years ago that gave the company an improved query tool. “Cognos is following our strategy,” he said.

At least one analyst agrees that point solutions are no longer cutting it for most organizations. “People need to realize that mixing and matching different software technologies could be a costly exercise requiring extensive integration,” said Lee Geishecker, a research vice president at Gartner Group.

To that end, Hyperion did announce the release of Hyperion Applications Suite 4, which packages together the various pieces of a BPM solution: financial management, strategic finance, planning and modeling and performance scorecards, and laid out a technology roadmap that it says will eventually result in greater ease of use of the now-complex BPM solutions. Called Project Avalanche and scheduled for release later this year, it’s touted as “the next phase in BPM,” according to Godfrey Sullivan, Hyperion’s president and CEO. “This will enable BPM to reach all layers of an organization.”

The other big message coming out of the conference was compliance – namely, how U.S. organizations will have to adhere to strict new financial reporting regulations under the new Sarbanes-Oxley legislation. The act, brought into law after the highly publicized failures of Enron and WorldCom, is already having an effect: the CFO Executive Board research firm reported that Sarbanes-Oxley is causing many companies to miss deadlines for filing financial reports, with nearly 300 companies indicating they cannot file their 10-Ks with the SEC on time.

Hyperion announced its new approach to compliance at the conference: it has designed a dashboard specifically designed for compliance. Clayton says it should be of interest to Canadian companies as the federal government announced it will make changes this year to its reporting rules in order for them to be in line with the U.S. “We’re only just scratching the surface,” says Clayton about compliance issues. “Solutions are going to be needed to make compliance less complex and less costly.”

The company also announced the preliminary results from its third quarter. It expects to have revenues between $173 million and $178 million.

According to IDC, the market for financial/business performance management analytics applications is expected to increase from $1.2 billion in 2003 to $2.1 billion by 2008.

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