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It isn't enough for companies to keep data, says Rich Clayton, Hyperion's vice president of product marketing. They need to learn how to put that data to use if they want to turn a profit. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Hyperion's Essbase OLAP Server gives companies a tool to analyze important business data.

"Essbase is enabling technology," Clayton says. "It is the central place where multiple sources are integrated and leveraged."

More than 2,500 companies today use Hyperion's Essbase, and International Data Corporation named Hyperion the market leader for OLAP software based on 1998 worldwide revenues.

The server is used for enterprise management reporting, analysis and planning applications. More than 200 analytical functions, including trend analysis, variances, ratios and allocations, are available on the server to help organizations optimize their data.

According to Clayton, only about one-third of the companies who've invested in transaction technology have also implemented analytic systems. He also sees an opportunity in the fact that customer information is completely scattered across organizations. "One of our core competencies is to provide the technology to integrate data from all over the company," he says.

The system's open architecture comes ready to integrate with more than 50 tools and applications modules. "We don't require our customers to go out and buy different query tools," Clayton says.

To build on this platform, Hyperion will soon release Hyperion CRM, an integrated suite of Web-based packaged analytic applications that will help businesses improve customer relations in both traditional and e-marketing channels.

Over the past year as markets have matured and Hyperion technology is used for more and more common applications, the company has recognized it has to provide products that integrate with various operating systems. "We realized that we can't require our customers to build from scratch," Clayton says. With Hyperion CRM, the company is providing analytics to sit on top of operations systems already in place, Clayton says, so that an organization can analyze data it receives, then modify its business practices accordingly.

"Many times these operational systems are capturing very critical business information," he says, "such as how many calls are being taken, how many calls are coming in and how many people are hanging up. But unless you're analyzing who's calling and who's asking for product information, you're never able to adapt your service model to eke out more profit."

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Although the CRM analytic suite is not on the market yet, one longtime Essbase customer has already expressed an interest in the new product. Indus International, a software provider for enterprise companies, has used Essbase for the past three years and is pleased with the level of analytics the server provides, says Teresa Smith, senior director of worldwide services for Indus.

Atlanta-based Indus uses its Essbase server to perform a variety of tasks, including gauging how the company is performing on a customer-by-customer basis, as well as on a regional and international basis. Indus officials can also use Essbase to see the performance of individual products and to analyze what the business trends are.

Hyperion essbase olap server Architecture

  • Runs on a wide range of platforms, including Windows 9X, Windows NT/2000, HP/UX, IBM AIX, Sun Solaris and AS/400.
  • Applications can be distributed across dissimilar platforms.
  • Can reach data residing in legacy systems, transaction-processing applications, enterprise resource planning systems, customer relationship management applications and data warehouses. But the biggest benefit of the server, Smith says, is it allows Indus the ability "to work more closely and partner more closely with our customers."

The organization uses what it calls the Customer Report Card to analyze and track customer information. The report card details information for a specific customer, site or region, Smith says, and can include such information as how much product support Indus has offered and how many times a particular company called for support and in what areas.

"Obviously, it is important to us to have the customer be able to understand the value of the dollars they're paying us," Smith says. "We use the internal and external report card for flagging something before it becomes a problem. It allows us to manage our business much more effectively."

Smith says the flexibility and stability of Essbase are some of its strongest points.

"You don't have to have a specific product from the vendor to be able to view the info and slice the info," she says. "You can use Excel or a number of different tools to get the information out of Essbase."

And the analytic component of Essbase and of the upcoming Hyperion CRM are both attractive to Indus, Smith says.

"Frankly, I'm not sure how you could run an organization or how you could improve it if you don't have the knowledge of how you're performing," she says. "There are a lot of tools out there to give you the ability to see on a one-on-one case how you did, but when dealing with a lot of data, if you don't have something similar to this, you can't make informed decisions about changes to make in running the business."

Product: Hyperion Essbase OLAP Server
Vendor: Hyperion, Sunnyvale, Calif.
Problem: Analytic applications can improve the effectiveness of customer service, sales and marketing applications and even e-business operations.
Solution: Hyperion's Essbase server allows organizations to analyze and summarize customer and business information in a variety of ways.
Price: Pricing starts at $25,000 per server and $1,500 per user.
Contact info: (800) 286-8000;

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