Looking to get a leg up on the anticipated boom in analyticd. applications, Hyperion is buttressing its stable of data analysis software with a host of new packaged applications.
The company plans to increase the number of analytic applications for its Essbase OLAP (online analytical processing) engine from 50 today to hundreds in the next few years. Such applications from third parties such as Lawson, Comshare and Walker have roughly doubled in the past year.
Hyperion aims to corral more Essbase-ready analytic applications through partnering, internal development and acquisitions. Those packaged applications, which provide templates for specialised data analysis, are growing increasingly specific to such areas as customer relationship management, enterprise performance management, demand management, human resources, manufacturing and electronic commerce.
In addition to increasing the number of analytic applications for Essbase, Hyperion is planning to port Essbase to the Linux operating system.
The company hopes the moves will start bringing in online merchants that need OLAP to make sense of the Web traffic and customer data generated by e-commerce.
Hyperion believes that a port for Linux will appeal to customers looking for a single operating system for their e-commerce sites.
An Essbase-on-Linux beta is due in the second half of the year.
Hyperion is not alone in angling for the nascent e-commerce analytics ground. Broadbase Information, which ships an e-commerce analytic application in its Enterprise Performance Management suite, plans to break that software into three discrete modules and add new functions this summer.
Rather than cover all aspects of e-commerce in one application, the three modules will focus on content, such as advertising and page design effectiveness; marketing, for cross-selling and promotional effectiveness; and e-commerce, for transactions and sales, said Broadbase.
Hyperion's and Broadbase's moves come during what market researcher Dataquest sees as a boom time for packaged analytic applications. The market grew 42% last year, to £380 million worldwide. Dataquest predicts that the market will be worth £2 billion by 2003.
"The availability of packaged business intelligence applications has been growing substantially as data warehouses have been maturing, and management focus is shifting to real-time decision-support applications," said Jose Santa Ana, an analyst at Dataquest.
A high-growth area will be e-commerce analytics, he added. Companies have hurried to construct Web sites but have not had the resources to build a sophisticated analytic framework around the data generated. But that may change as data volumes grow.
AutoNation, for instance, which sells cars via the 9-month-old autonationdirect.com, tracks data through fairly basic database and search functions, said Art DeLaurier, vice president of e-commerce technology at AutoNation.
"We haven't done anything more elaborate than a pivot table in Excel," DeLaurier said. "It's very much in its infancy, so the data searches needn't be very sophisticated to accomplish what we need. Maybe down the road they will."
Hyperion's bid comes as the company seeks stability. After a difficult merger last summer between Hyperion and Arbor, the company suffered a prolonged depression in earnings and stock price and in May fired CEO John Dillon. It continues to seek a replacement.
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