Hyperion Solutions, the budgeting applications specialist, has launched Enterprise version 5, boasting it can consolidate budgets up to three times faster than previous versions and handle new international reporting standards.
New features, targeted at multinational companies with complex reporting requirements, include support for financial accounting standard 131 – the US ‘segment’ guidelines that require public companies to group businesses along product lines – as well as the UK equivalent, international accounting standard 14.
The software also has enhanced euro functionality, allowing companies to report in the euro while running a parallel set of accounts in sterling.
Tony Speakman, director of marketing at Hyperion, said the company was keen to extend analytical reporting software to marketing and sales managers, away from the finance department. ‘Large organisations need to wake up to the fact that there should be more analytical skills,’ he said. ‘Finance people should be driving this rather than being threatened by it.’
Speakman said the budgeting market had shown no signs of the economic slowdown that has plagued the enterprise resource planning market and triggered a rash of profit warnings from giants like SAP and Baan. ‘We are two to three years behind the ERP market and every one of their users is a potential customer for us,’ he said. ‘ERP systems capture a lot of information but they don’t make sense of it.’
In response to speculation that the merger with Arbor had gone less than smoothly, particularly in the US, Speakman said ‘merger pain’ was over, adding that Hyperion had taken on more UK staff.
John Message, principal associate for performance management at PricewaterhouseCoopers, however, had reservations about the latest release. He said Enterprise would struggle to handle intricate financial information because its database was still too inflexible. ‘A lot of Hyperion’s multinational clients use Enterprise for simple statutory consolidation. That’s not as complex as customer by-product reporting,’ he said.
Unlike its budgeting and ERP rivals, Hyperion has yet to say whether its software will integrate with Microsoft’s SQL Server 7. But Message warned SQL Server 7 would transform the financial reporting landscape over the next few years, forcing Hyperion to add new functions to its Essbase database to maintain sales.
‘People will start to ship industrial strength reporting products on SQL 7 because it’s very cheap,’ he said.
Last year, Hyperion merged with Arbor Software, whose best-known product, the Essbase multidimensional database, links to data warehouse systems and sits on top of financial systems.
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