BI vendors beef up analytics

BI (business intelligence) companies are maneuvering to boost their analytic solutions so users spanning the enterprise can leverage data for corporate performance goals.

Hyperion Solutions Corp., Ascential Software Corp., and OneChannel all launched new products this week designed to propel BI data throughout the enterprise.

Hyperion rolled out a new intelligence platform while unveiling a new business performance management suite designed to help companies measure performance and drive profitability across the enterprise.

Hyperion CEO Jeff Rodek characterizes this emerging “business performance management” category – which marries BI with process-oriented applications – to the ERP product market.

“This is a solution set very similar to ERP,” Rodek said in an interview Wednesday. “In addition to ERP, you need a solution set of business performance management solutions. [Customers] have a desire to contain their ERP vendor to transactional processes and process automation data collection. On the financial side, they want their ERP vendors to be contained to ledgers, accounts receivable, and payroll. They don’t want them to do management reporting, scorecarding, and profitability analysis.”

The performance management suite will feature five packaged applications, with financial performance management and organizational performance management the first to become available. Future products will include CRM, supply-chain management, and channel management performance applications.

For the latter three applications, Hyperion will partner with other vendors — such as Siebel Systems Inc.for customer performance management — who will build off of Hyperion’s BI platform, Rodek said.

In related news this week, Hyperion unveiled its new BI platform, Hyperion Essbase XTD, which now offers query and reporting from multidimensional and relational data sources for increased access to multiple data sources for reporting, modeling, and planning.

Through corporate mergers and acquisitions and decentralization many organizations have collected multiple and overlapping BI environments, said analyst Frank Buytendijk, research director at Gartner Inc. Before organizations can move BI to the “enterprise level” and be ready for the next step, they need to consolidate and reduce the number of tools to form a BI platform, he added.

Ascential Software announced Wednesday that it has enhanced its data integration platform with new MetaBrokers designed to give companies a complete picture of what their data means across their diverse IT systems.

Ascential added new MetaBrokers to its DataStage XE enterprise data integration platform for popular business solutions and tools, including Computer Associates COOL:Biz, Hyperion Essbase, Microstrategy 7i, and Magna Solutions Silverrun.

The MetaBrokers are designed to automatically ensure consistency of metadata between Ascential’s DataStage data integration platform and third-party business intelligence, analytics, and data modeling tools.

Ascential’s approach to metadata integration provides a much more comprehensive, automated mapping capability than other approaches, said Jeff Boehm, Ascential’s executive director of product marketing. This not only ensures enterprise-wide metadata consistency, but also provides the ability to understand both where data came from and the potential downstream impact of making changes, he added.

Finally, OneChannel on Wednesday announced Enterprise ChannelMetrics 4.0 designed to enhance demand visibility by integrating sales and distribution information into a complete set of common metrics while leveraging domain expertise for demand analytics.

Metrics and reports quickly illuminate true demand, inventory buildup, product performance, channel performance, profitability and margin, returns and warranty, and much more, according to company officials. With instant access to that common pool of information, employees can optimize the product mix, identify revenue opportunities, reduce channel inventory buffers, and enhance partner performance, among other benefits.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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