A Closer Look At Performance

Hyperion's suite for financial planning, forecasting, and analysis gets new workforce-planning app and better financial modeling
Hyperion Solutions Corp. last week debuted a release of its business-performance-management software with a new workforce-planning application and improved financial-modeling capabilities.

Business-performance management combines financial planning, forecasting, and analysis to help businesses set strategic goals, develop plans to meet those goals, and monitor and analyze the effectiveness of the plans. Market researcher IDC expects sales of business-performance-management software to grow from $1.2 billion in 2003 to $2.1 billion in 2008.

Fifth Third Bank is a longtime user of Hyperion software and financial systems. The new Hyperion Applications Suite 4.0 will better support the bank's practice of distributing more financial decision-making authority to the managers of its 1,200 bank branches while maintaining centralized IT administration, VP Bret Furtwengler says. The bank believes that giving local managers such authority provides a competitive advantage.

"Fifth Third is a big believer in distributed decision making, so that philosophy needs to extend to our financial planning and reporting," Furtwengler says. The bank uses version 3.5 of the applications suite, and he expects to upgrade to the new release shortly.

Hyperion Applications Suite is made up of five apps: Hyperion Performance Scorecard, Business Modeling, Strategic Finance, Planning, and Financial Management. Hyperion Planning includes a workforce-planning module to help align a company's workforce and strategic plans. Hyperion unveiled the 4.0 release at its Solutions 2005 user conference in New Orleans last week.

Release 4.0 offers an improved task-oriented user interface and a common Microsoft Office interface for all the applications. Other additions include a debt-scheduling tool and other financial-modeling capabilities, enhanced balanced-scorecard strategy-map features, and improved audit-trail functions and document links. A compliance-management dashboard, released earlier this year to help managers monitor efforts to comply with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, also is part of the applications suite.

The software starts at about $400,000 for all five applications.

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