While Oracle doesn't officially break out its EPM/Hyperion revenue, everyone in the industry agrees: EPM is booming. Ask analysts, vendors, and customers, and you'll get the same answer. Let me give you a personal example. My EPM/Hyperion consulting company, interRel, made the Inc. Magazine as being one of the fastest growing companies in America, and we're in our 12th year of business. We've seen ebbs and flows before. 2002-2003, for example, was particularly miserable for EPM/BI. In all those 12 years of business, though, 2008 was the biggest growth year in our company's history.
Why? Quite simply, it's because EPM software sales are through the roof. Everyone and their brother (and their dog and their grandmother) either wants to start EPM projects at their company (or quit their jobs to go into EPM consulting). While many of our clients are slowing down in other tech areas (tons of data warehousing and ERP implementations are being delayed in our client base), EPM seems to be maybe the only area (beyond iPhone integration) that is expanding.
While this is great for the Oracle EPM sales people, there is an interesting problem occurring in the Oracle EPM consulting space. There are some companies that now have a 3-4 month backlog of work, because they're at 100% utilization for that long. This is leading to some frightful run-ups in hourly consulting rates as the supply and demand curves equalize (as we all remember from Economics 101). The billable rates we're seeing in the HFM world are particularly high right now.
Is this double-digit EPM software growth going to continue into 2009? God only knows (and just maybe, Obama), but let me hesitate a guess. I expect it will, because the reason that led to EPM's spectacular growth in 2008 still holds true in 2009: companies have spent billions of dollars collecting data in databases, data stores, data warehouses, ERPS, and the rest... and they're finally trying to get their data back out again. Relational databases have hit their stride, making EPM the new "killer app."
One job security tip for those who are worried about layoffs at their companies: get a job in the EPM area of your company as soon as is humanly possible. Even if your company lays you off (and yes, some silly companies are trying to cut staff even in their EPM departments), you can get a new job in a matter of hours. EPM is the only job port in the middle of the perfect economic storm.
Oh, and maybe writing iPhone applications.