March 9, 2010

Top 10 Hyperion Events of the Decade is Over

Frankly, I find it hard to believe I started this series 2-and-a-half months... and then managed to stick with it. Part of it is that I've been watching the readership of this blog and it's been growing week-over-week all year. Either this means you like what you've been reading, or you've invited your friends to join you in mocking my blog (including my frequent use of parenthetical expressions, my extreme overuse of the phrase "That said" whenever I want to argue with myself, and my annoyingly self-referential & self-deprecating prose).

That said, I’m sure every single person who read this series disagreed with at least part of it. I’m suspecting that with the exception of the #1 event being the Hyperion/Oracle merger (I reject your reality and substitute my own!), you probably don’t like the order, you can’t believe I included some of these items, and you’re shocked I forgot a few events. Feel free to eviscerate me in the comment section of this blog. Not to say I enjoy that sort of thing, but at least it shows you care enough to flame.

Hopefully, the next ten years will bring even more innovation while providing far less upheaval. Unless Oracle wants to buy up SAP and sell them off for parts...

March 8, 2010

#1. Oracle Acquires Hyperion

Was there any doubt about number one? By far the most significant event of the last ten years if not the entire history of Hyperion was announced in March of 2007: Oracle was buying Hyperion for $3.3 billion US dollars. It led to a wave of consolidation activity within the next few months: SAP bought Outlooksoft (and then Business Objects when the world was underwhelmed with the Outlooksoft purchase) and IBM bought Cognos. In 2007, the three largest BI/EPM vendors were gone.

The Hyperion acquisition was one of the smoothest I’ve ever seen thanks to a couple of factors. Oracle extended offers to 92% of the Hyperion workforce so all the key personnel made it into Oracle. Oracle also put some great Hyperion people in charge of BI and EPM at Oracle including John Kopcke and Robert Gersten. While the old Oracle BI/OLAP guard was not amused, I’m sure, Hyperion provided new life to the BI group at Oracle when they were put over the top of the existing leadership (rolling up to Thomas Kurian in Fusion Middleware).

Oracle has made some great decisions since the acquisition: Essbase got its name back (may “Hyperion System 9 BI+ Analytic Services” burn in the 7th circle of hell for eternity) as simply Oracle Essbase, Smart View became the Office standard for BI products, Hyperion Planning became the standard for budgeting at Oracle, Financial Management became the strategic direction for financial consolidation, and more. The only negative things I can really say about the acquisition are the loss of the annual Solutions conference and the disappearance of the Hyperion User Groups, and by this point, I’m almost nitpicking.

Like it or not, Oracle’s acquisition was by far the most significant event in Hyperion’s decade. While I never thought I'd say this, I thank God that Larry Ellison decided to forgo buying a bigger yacht in favor of a $3.3BB EPM software firm.

March 1, 2010

#2. Hyperion Creates BPM Out of Thin Air

In 2002, Hyperion realized that though they had the best budgeting, scorecarding, and financial consolidation products in the industry, their competitors were still lumping them in the BI (Business Intelligence) category. So Hyperion simply decided they would create their own category: BPM (Business Performance Management). BPM was created to include BI but also add in applications that sat on top of BI. Gartner picked up the ball and ran with it creating their CPM (Corporate Performance Management) magic quadrant and placing Hyperion firmly in the leadership quadrant.

Cognos, Business Objects, Oracle, IBM, SAP, and the rest were left playing catch up as they stuck with BI a little too long giving Hyperion a 2-year head start. When Oracle acquired Hyperion, they renamed CPM to EPM (Enterprise Performance Management) but the entire xPM acronym can be traced back to the excellent work of Hyperion’s product marketing group.