Author: Grzegorz Goli
Business Objects vs Hyperion
The first difference between Hyperion and Business Objects comes out while checking the sale ranks. As BO has managed to dominate almost the whole market, Hyperion is thought to be a leader only on financial perspective. Detailed ranks (by IDC, Gartner and Forrester) consider Business Objects as a straight leader, placing Hyperion on fifth position (just a place better than Oracle - 6th), and - believing analysts' prognosis - keeping such a high place is for Hyperion a matter of days. Even more, it's being predicted that Hyperion has no future - Oracle Corporation invests much stronger in Oracle BI Enterprise Edition advancement and improvement, therefore Hyperion has been almost left itself. That questions how long more is Hyperion going to be sold and - as a consequence - how long its customers are going to be supported. Independently on that, every new day makes Hyperion technology more outdated and reduces upgrades possibility.
On the other hand, SAP Business Objects platform lives its bests, being delivered as a full spectrum tool for enterprise management support. BO is thought to be widely open (to different operating systems, applications, databases, but also middleware), broad (meeting all the needs of modern business intelligence), and, finally, integrated (with all the tools included in a single platform - Business Objects XI).
Oracle specialists make extremely different forecasts. They state that the time of independent business intelligence and performance management is counted, therefore its largest vendors - including Business Objects - are going to be out or acquired.
In fact, quick end of Business Objects shouldn't be expected as long as BO is one of the vendors that reach fastest growths. Then, business intelligence, as well as performance management, demands quick information spread across the whole enterprise to support efficient and timely decisions making. Thereupon, the system of information management must be consolidated to let every user see the same data at the same time.
The only one supplier - Oracle - saves from a lot of troubles.
Yes, indeed. Exclusive supplier saves not only from troubles, but also from a few quite interesting possibilities. Along that come losses of negotiating power - "If they're alone, they do not have anyone to compete with so who cares about the user who's got no alternatives?". During a two-year time (2005-2007) Oracle acquired about thirty companies and, after that, all of them have been left themselves.
Oracle advertises Hyperion as a leader in enterprise performance management (EPM) and business performance management (BPM). The things aren't as obvious, though. Hyperion really is a market leader, but only while focusing on the office of finance.
Strengths and weaknesses
How does Business Objects answer Hyperion's weaknesses? First, that should be mentioned, is the market leadership belonging to Business Objects - BO's market share is about 40% more than SAS' - second largest vendor (and, off-handedly, about 180% more than 5th Hyperion).
Unlikely Hyperion, Business Objects is fully focused on business intelligence. Oracle's product is rather concentrated about planning, budgeting, and consolidating, not the BI itself, treating it rather as a tool supporting reaching further goals.
Finally, Business Objects seems to be a tool closest to meet completely different needs - a single business intelligence platform ensures trouble-free cooperation of different styles users, basing on a constant access to the best quality data.
Business Objects is still not fully satisfied with its position, therefore sales strategy has been slightly modified:
- positioning the BO "end to end" technology - emphasizing the benefits of single, integrated platform
- positioning user oriented solution - less IT engaging accelerates data finding, and - as a consequence - decision making
- steering customers to relational data warehousing instead of OLAP - relational DW facilitates openness and flexibility
- expanding EIM and EPM functionality
- emphasizing lower costs
Business Objects holds a first place in business intelligence market. Not accidentally.
- BO praises for user friendly interface and breadth of functionality. Unlikely Hyperion, which interface lacks functionality, basing on obsolete metatopics concept that provides limited capabilities
- BO is known for its usability and ease of use that effectively support answering even the most complex business questions. Unlike Hyperion, BO doesn't demand diving into complicated structures and diversified data locations
- BO provides a single platform. That has a significant influence on data timeliness and trustworthiness
- BO is focused straight on BI, unlike Hyperion, which focuses mainly on financial applications
Some solutions offered by Hyperion seem a bit out-dated or impractical, but maybe they're somehow motivated, too:
- Data Storage solution provided by Hyperion surprises not only its users - while deploying simultaneously Hyperion Planning and Hyperion Financial Management, the most difficult task is to make them cooperate. But that's still not the end. Both Hyperion Planning and Hyperion Financial Management for storing metadata use the same relational database management system, so their cooperation should be easy. But it is not. The thing is that HP and HFM store metadata in different formats. Why is that? Hard to tell, whether that was a matter of internal politics, or rather a technology requirement.
- Hyperion's planning functionality is also significantly limited, due to its Essbase dependency. Although HP obtains a lot of Essbase's profits, Essbase cannot function as a core database, so that working on different dimensionality is strongly complicated. Furthermore, some capabilities - such as calculation logic - are applied at server, what neutralizes their offline usability.
- Also the Hyperion product strategies are hard to understand. Hyperion Planning was a most preferably chosen product (due to planning market growth much faster than consolidation market), but it resulted in less Essbase sale - an example of internal competition.
- Hyperion solutions lack for management reporting consistency - multiplied tools are used simultaneously. Production Reporting, Interactive Reporting, and Financial Reporting use different architectures. Efforts put into making them work together result in increased total costs of ownership.
- Hyperion users complain also about data management - without original data strategy, Hyperion relies on different partners what almost disables consolidation.
- Finally, driver based modeling is possible via separate product - Profitability Management.
All in all, both Business Objects and Hyperion have their followers that probably cannot be convinced by any comparison. After all, it should be remembered, that every judgement depends on the judge.