Hyperion Solutions, which leads the OLAP-based financial analysis and budgeting markets, unveiled its customer relationship management analytic applications to its European user group conference in Madrid last week.
Its new product line will combine in-house development with the fruits of future acquisitions and partnerships. At the same time, Hyperion will de-emphasise the Essbase OLAP engine and attempt to make its products more open.
After several months of rumour and partial briefings, Hyperion has unveiled 12 applications aimed at filling the largely untapped analytic applications sector within the general CRM and e-business markets. The first product, due to be shipped "within months", provides call centre managers with packaged analysis tools to identify trends and aid resource planning.
Mike Nugent, chief executive of KPI Technology, a recent Hyperion acquisition with call centre expertise, explained that today, most call centre managers concentrate on measuring compliance against service delivery.
"That's only part of the picture. We are extending the analytics so call centre managers can do things like figure out what happens with dropped calls - that's virtually untouched today. It feeds directly back to ideas about managing the customer relationship," he said.
Other analytic applications due for release over the coming months and "within the next 12 months" will cover areas such as product quality, field service, customer profitability, campaign management and 'e-marketing'. Here, Hyperion is relying, for example, on a strategic partnership with UK-based Recognition Systems to provide closed loop CRM analytics for e-marketing. The company is expected to announce further partnerships as it extends the portfolio.
Explaining the rationale for entering a market that has seen new entrants Broadbase and E.piphany steal the limelight, Jeff Rodek, Hyperion's chief executive officer, said: "Analysts are telling us that less than a third of those investing in CRM have any investment in related analytics. We'll do it on a mixed build, buy and partner strategy."
Rodek added that Hyperion is moving towards an open environment where it will support both traditional relational databases, including IBM's DB2 and Oracle, alongside its OLAP-specific Essbase product. This marks a distinct shift in Hyperion thinking where the marketing effort had been firmly pinned to Essbase.
Even so, this may only be a short-term move. Ian MacDonald, Hyperion's product marketing director, admitted that for Internet-scale systems, Essbase is not appropriate, largely because it will not scale to support massive data volumes.
"Essbase 6 will give us about 99.9 per cent of what is needed for analysis in those situations," he added. Essbase 6 is slated for release in the first quarter of next year.
Analysts largely welcomed the move, the general perception being that following a period of uncertainty, Hyperion is now clear about providing packaged functionality but without necessarily imposing rigid analytical models on customers.
A recent AMR Research note said: "Hyperion has some catch-up work to do here. Because of its existing position in the analytic technology field, it should be able to attract and leverage partnerships quickly."
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