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Updated Hyperion Database Now Dines On Full Course Of Data

Hyperion's new Essbase database focuses on helping customers gain insight into large volumes of operational data -- and quickly.
Long known for its focus on financial analytics, Hyperion on Monday released a new version of its Essbase database that focuses on helping customers gain insight into large volumes of operational data -- and quickly.

Launched at the Solutions 2004 Hyperion International Conference, in Paris, Essbase 7X now includes a Visual Explorer visualization tool for viewing data on 9 dimensions, a new Aggregate Storage algorithm that speeds processing times, and a new Hyperion Data Integration Connector for SAP. The latter feature enables the Hyperion database to hook directly into SAP BW, found in Netweaver - removing the need to extract and reformat data before it can be analyzed.

In addition to Essbase 7X, Hyperion also unveiled its Profitability Management application, aimed at providing finely detailed analysis on high- and low-profit customers and products. With it, companies can explore, for example, a product's margin contribution to profit, specific customer buying behavior, and the long-term profitability that can be gleaned from a prospect.

Solution providers were particularly enthusiastic about the dramatically shortened query execution time.

"We have one client that's gone from a seven hour calculation, down to 35 seconds," said Robin Ranzal Knowles, president of Ranzal & Associates, a White Plains, N.Y.-based systems integrator. "This allows us to go after data that in the past people didn't want to put into Hyperion." Such data could include detailed patient records or 70,000 SKUs, for example. "We work with a lot of health care, consumer products, manufacturing, investment banking and insurance customers," said Knowles. "That's where 7X will be a huge benefit for us."

Hyperion's biggest challenge might be in explaining the new nomenclature for its OLAP database, given the release last Fall of version 7.0. "We brought so many things from our Brio acquisition that this is so much bigger a .1 version," said John Kopcke, chief technology officer of the Sunnyvale, Calif., company.

With 7X Hyperion is now able to play in a much bigger field than just the corporate performance management arena it had staked out. That market - which aims to help customers continually adjust business operations based on financial performance - is filled chiefly by Hyperion and top rival Cognos. With its new capabilities, Hyperion can now say it competes against broader business intelligence players such as Business Objects and MicroStrategy.

"Before 7X we would have ceded supply chain, customer analysis and product analysis to a competitor," said Kopcke. "Now customers can use the same platform across all departments."