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Business Intelligence 101

The WSJ reports that Oracle is purchasing Santa Clara-based Hyperion Solutions, a Business Intelligence company, for $3.3B.  BI software, as it's called, fills in the gap between the data contained in a company's GL, or "transaction" system (which Oracle dominates), and a company's internal analysts, allowing them to make sense of the accounting data.  Yes, to non-financial/accounting people, finance and accounting all looks the same, but it's really not.  The accountants need to follow the rules and book the entries properly, while the financial analysts whiz around in Excel looking at variances, charts, growth rates, b.u performance, etc.  Hyperion is GREAT at this (I know, because I've made it my business to be an expert in Hyperion products), and Oracle has been the 800-pound gorilla lurking around the corner - a role it's all-too familiar with!  The eternal battle has been between company I.T. departments, typically in Oracle's back pocket and pushing to be end-to-end Oracle shops for ease of administration, and end-users, pushing for Hyperion products (particularly what's called Essbase, an Excel add-in) because they allow them to do what they do best, which is live in Excel and access multi-relational databases (as opposed to 2-d datatbases, with the 2 dimensions being Fields and Records, or Columns and Rows) on an Oracle-sized scale without having to figure out Microsoft Access and it's table-linking hell and limited specs.  I for one am thrilled with this news, because 1) it makes me look smart to my colleagues since I've been calling for this for the past year and a half or so when Hyperion leaped even further ahead with their latest offering, and 2) because now that I.T./Finance-Accounting depertmental battle can be laid to rest.  Today is a good day.


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