Hyperion Intros Business Intelligence Platform, Debuts Linux Support

Available now, Essbase version 7 addresses greater volumes of data, with improved access to data warehouses, solution providers said. The rebadged and upgraded Hyperion Performance Suite 8.2 offers tighter integration between financial products and the query and reporting tools it acquired this past October.

The combination delivers half of Hyperion's overarching vision of business performance management (BPM). Not to be confused with the other BPM known as business process management, this brand of BPM describes an emerging market that melds business intelligence tools, transactional data and financial management capabilities so that businesses can continually adjust their operations to meet corporate and financial goals.

"Hyperion has done a good job integrating its multidimensional database with Brio's true relational data sources," said Tom Phelps, president of ThinkFast Consulting, a Chicago-based systems consultant focused on business performance management. "The Essbase upgrade is especially big. It's tremendously scalable and has addressed the architectural issues that had made it a challenge to go into data warehouses, which by their nature are relational."

Besides improved scalability, Essbase now features predictive analytics--enabling the ability to model potential scenarios and predict business outcomes--as well as realtime alerts and triggers that can flag such metrics as low supply levels, changing costs for parts or demand spikes. In addition, the database now supports XMLA--a derivative of XML geared specifically for analysis --and the MDX query language, enabling power users to conduct more sophisticated analyses.

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With Hyperion Performance Suite 8.2, Hyperion has made it easier to build a range of dashboards for use by executives, broad-line employees and suppliers outside the enterprise. Dashboards can be personalized using the new drag-and-drop data modeling capabilities, for example. Improved Web services integration allows users to access the information they need over corporate portals. And a new view manager features allows supervisors to update dashboards with specific data, such as new metrics that track performance, and then publish that new dashboard view throughout a workgroup.

When used together the Essbase/Performance Suite combo enables users to query and analyze relational, transactional data, such as "show all stores whose sales increased this month," as well as analyze more complex data cubes. The latter capability enables users to analyze each variety of permutations, such as sales by SKU, region or season.

"There are two different types of queries that people run with different technologies, and the trick is having an interface that could pull them together well," said Phelps. "This release has done a good job of marrying those two and extending the Brio technology to other areas."

Hyperion also said that both application suites now run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. "The Essbase server has supported Linux for three years. Now customers can deploy the whole platform, from integration to server to front ends, on Linux," said Rob Berry, director of product marketing at the Sunnyvale, Calif., company. According to Berry, this marks the first business intelligence platform to run on Linux. For now, at least, Hyperion is exclusively limiting its Linux efforts to Red Hat.