Once upon a time, Hyperion was a vendor that folks liked turning to for crunching their financial data. They were not so keen, however, on using the firm's technology to unlock the secrets in their operational data -- analysis of supply chains, customers, products and the like. Certainly Hyperion has customers who use its applications for operational analysis, but Hyperion's history is on the financial side and within the realm alternately called business performance management or corporate performance management.
If Essbase 7X lives up to its hype -- and early reports seem to suggest it might -- then Hyperion is about to step into more direct competition with "pure" business intelligence players like Business Objects, which currently holds the pole position in the analytics race.
This week Hyperion chief technology officer John Kopcke acknowledged that, before 7X, the vendor would have "ceded" most areas of operational analytics to other business intelligence firms. But in some cases, at least, Essbase 7X is flaunting calculation speeds so improved over the previous version of the software -- try 100 times faster – that it's almost surprising Hyperion didn't brand Essbase 7X as a new product with an entirely different name. With that kind of power under the hood, the technology can accelerate through much more detailed records than it could before.
Still, all of this is just commentary on how improved this version of Essbase is over the last. How it rates head-to-head with Business Objects, or MicroStrategy for that matter, is still to be seen. I suppose that, as usual, the market will decide. But one thing's for sure: The operational analytics racetrack just got a little more crowded.