Hyperion unveils first fruits of Brio merger

BI Platform makes it easier to create customized dashboards

Leveraging its recent acquisition of Brio, Hyperion announced this week a new BI Platform that combines its Essbase Version 7, OLAP platform, and Hyperion Performance Suite Version 8.2, formerly the Brio Performance Suite for ad hoc querying and reporting.

The new platform appears to be focused on giving IT additional development hooks on the back end so they can create easier to use dashboards and analytical tools on the front end.

New personalization capabilities will give non-technical business users the ability to create customized dashboards that pull data from multiple sources without having to resort to IT intervention.

"We have created agents similar to EAI so that users can drag and drop data from, say, a PeopleSoft application.  IT builds the [agent] capability before it is turned out to the business user," said Paul Turner, director of product strategy at Hyperion.

After beating the drum for the past year on tools for planning and financial management, Hyperion now appears to be broadening its reach, according to John Hagerty, vice president at AMR Research.

 IT will also be given the tools to provide underlying data mining functionality to the suite to support predictive analytics for all areas of the enterprise, including finance, human resources, marketing, and manufacturing.

 Hagerty also said that with the Brio acquisition last year, Hyperion is taking a more aggressive stand to reassert its position on the IT side of the house.

"By beefing up performance, scalability, platform support [Linux], and functional capabilities of Essbase, they are moving back toward a balanced message of BI/Analytic platform and pre-built applications," said Hagerty.

But while Hagerty said the company will have to deal competitively with Microsoft and its OLAP Analysis services, Hyperion also appears to be tightening its relationship with the Redmond giant.

The BI vendor announced "out of the box support" for XMLA (XML Analysis) for access to data through the Web that was co-authored by Microsoft, Hyperion, and SAS. 

"We developed XMLA with other BI vendors to give standards-based access to multidimensional information," said Turner.

Hyperion also announced support for MDX, a multidimensional query language[also worked on with Microsoft. Turner said that MDX is "more expressive" and will give business analysts an easier way to conduct in-depth structure queries, for example, into buyer’s shopping habits.

Other new features in the BI platform include active performance monitoring, created to flag such issues as low inventory, increased supplier prices, and demand spikes.

Despite the repackaging of Essbase and Performance Suite from Brio as a single entity, the integration effort is not complete.

It is partially integrated into the overall product line, but further integration is planned into 2005 to bring all the Brio reporting and Hyperion products together into one integrated product line, according to Hagerty.

The Hyperion BI Platform is shipping now.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.